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May 1, 2022

6 Essentials to Raise The Level of Performance!

6 Essentials to Raise The Level of Performance!

Have you ever felt like you were banging your head against a brick wall trying to get certain team members to perform?  Their highest aspirations of performance was to just get by or be just good enough!  Well, if you have felt this frustration you are not alone.  Substandard performance has become more of an epidemic than a scarcity.  I have the privilege of facilitating in office Rise & Shine Culture Camps nationwide for dental teams.   I have found six essentials that will raise the level of performance by creating better relationships and consistent results!

We Team – United Leadership 

United Leadership is the most important strategy.  Without it, performance expectations will be ambiguous, and the team will conform to whatever are the lowest standards or expectations.  United Leadership starts with getting the leadership team; what I refer to as the We Team aligned.  The We Team is made up of all owner/partner doctor(s) as well as the practice administrator.

W.O.W. Decision Making

Second is a decision-making strategy.  I coach We Teams to use what I refer to as W.O.W. Decision Making.  W.O.W. is an acronym for weed out weeds.  A weed is anything that destroys a relationship, or makes others feel unwelcome, uncomfortable, or unsafe.  W.O.W. Decision Making gives the We Team a positive, practical, and proven decision-making strategy.  The results are decisions that are consistent, fair and support the team, the patients, and the practice (and referring doctors for specialists).

W.O.W. Decision Making is based on the following four fundamentals:

  • Patients, Practice & Team!  What is in the best interests of the patients, practice, and team and not any individual (including doctors)?  Specialists you would include Referring Doctors as well.
  • Practical!  What makes common sense based on time, money, and people?
  • Precedence!  What precedence is being set?  If it is done once it becomes the expectation.
  • Passion!  Is the We Team passionate enough about the decision to support?  Rate 8 or above on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being high.

 

R.I.S.E. Implementation Process

I teach teams the R.I.S.E. Implementation Process to help the team work together to co-create well-structured agreements that raise the level of performance.  The agreements define how the team will do things and work together in the future.  They include both the hard and soft skills.  Co-creating clear agreements as a team gets everyone on the same page.  R.I.S.E. is an acronym for Review, Implement, Sustain and Evaluate.

  • Review
    • What is working and what is not
  • Implement change by defining the following:
    • What are we going to change
    • Who is going to do it
    • Who are we going to do it for
    • When are we going to do it – including time, sequence and flow
    • Where are we going do it – very specific location
    • Why are we going to do it – benefit statements
    • How are we going do it
      • Practice verbal skills
      • Practice role playing
      • Practice the entire physical walk through
    • Create standard operating procedures or what I refer to as Culture Agreements
    • Schedule the roll out date
  • Sustain – It is vital for the new change to become a habit
    • It takes a range of anywhere between 17 to 257 days to form a habit depending on the difficulty with the average being 66 days
      • Give any new change at least 60 days to get comfortable before considering any changes
    • Be precise and consistent to form a habit much sooner
      • Same sequence and steps for every team member every time – there is only our way not my way.
    • Support the change positively in words, actions, and attitude
  • Evaluate
    • Is the process still working effectively
    • If not, what is the value and benefits in a change

Accountability

The complaint I often hear at my Culture Camps is that other people aren’t accountable.  The problem with accountability is we expect others to be accountable often before we are accountable.  Accountability starts with us.

It is vital that everyone is held equally accountable, no exclusions or exceptions or you divide the team.  That includes doctors and managers as well.  No double standards.  Together make agreements on how you hold each other accountable.  Give each other permission to do so before there is an issue.  This will enable everyone to feel confident and comfortable.  Monitor daily at your daily huddle by discussing the previous day’s successes and growth opportunities.  Maintain as a team and update as a team when changes are necessary.  No individual opt outs.  Meet as a team if something isn’t working to discuss, resolve, and maintain.

Appreciation 

Appreciation is a fundamental human need yet is often considered an unnecessary nicety. Niceties like please, thank you, and I appreciate you. Why should we have to interrupt our busy day to tell someone else we appreciate them?  They should know that they are appreciated without having to have a pat on the back. Wrong! That little pat on the back is so powerful that 64% of Americans leave their job because of lack of it.

So, what is so powerful about appreciation? Appreciation gives us purpose! Appreciation changes perceptions! Appreciation emits positivity! We all want and need to feel valued for who we are and recognized for our contributions and accomplishments.  It’s important for us to know that we truly make a difference.

Look for reasons to show appreciation daily and BE the following:

  • Be timely
  • Be specific
  • BE GENUINE

Celebration

Celebrate even the little things. We take things so seriously and are often in such a hurry that we don’t allow time to celebrate. If we don’t make time to celebrate, we will lose our joy for life.  If our focus is always on the next patient or task we will get lost in the muck and mundane.  We will miss the positive in the present moment and eventually we will lose our joy for our work.

Celebrate by:

  • Looking for what is positive in the present moment.
  • Being grateful for what is instead of complaining about what isn’t
  • Focus on the strengths of your co-workers not their weaknesses
  • Stop and take a moment to celebrate together with a positive body pattern – for example, a big smile, thumbs up, high five or even a Ta-Dah!

Implementing these six essentials will empower your team to WORK together better and raise their level of performance.

April 1, 2022

Toxic Performers!

The current staffing shortage has created greater opportunities for toxic performers.  Maybe you even have a few!  The toxic performer is the team member who is extremely skilled at their job.  They excel in front of the doctor(s), patients, and anyone else they feel is necessary to keep their status.  They are super performers when they want to be.  That’s the performer part.  However, the toxic side is their other side.  This is the side they save for their unfortunate co-workers or anyone they deem irrelevant.

Some signs of toxic behaviors are:

  • Air of superiority
  • Cynical
  • Closed to feedback
  • Unwilling to train
  • Gossip
  • Excuses
  • Deflection
  • Sarcasm
  • Blame
  • Drama

Evaluate your current team.  Are there any team members that fit the description of a toxic performer?  Here comes the difficult part.  This person is often the right hand of the doctor or manager.  They are highly skilled and high performers.  Therefore, it is extremely difficult to even consider letting them go.  Especially with the fear of finding skilled new team members.  Instead, the toxic behavior is allowed to continue in exchange for the performer side.

I receive the following response when I ask doctors and or managers this question.

“Why do you allow the toxic performer team member to continue to be a part of the team and practice when they are unwilling to support the practice values and our toxic to their co-workers?”

“Judy Kay, you don’t understand.  They are really, really good at what they do.  I don’t have anyone else that can perform at their level.  And it is difficult to find skilled new team members.  But I would let them go if they EVER behaved that way towards the patient.”

Regardless of how good of a performer they are, keeping a toxic performer is disastrous and will sabotage your practice culture.

It only takes one toxic performer to create a culture of chaos and negativity. Toxic performers make it feel unsafe and stressful for their co-workers. The rest of the team is on alert waiting for the toxic performers next sarcastic remark, outburst, or retaliation.  Toxic performers harm the productivity and morale of everyone around them.

  • They purposely hoard information and don’t train others to their level, in fear if they did it might sacrifice their stability.
  • They play the team against each other to divide and conquer.
  • Their unsupportive actions undermine the practice values.
  • The team loses trust and respect for their doctor, manager, and co-workers.
  • The culture has become filled with favoritism and double standards.

A double standard is a rule or principle which is unfairly applied in different ways to different people.  Double standards never work.  The team is just as important as the patients.  Treat your team as well as you treat your patients.  Take care of your team and they will take care of the patients.

Three powerful assessment questions regarding behaviors:

  • Does this behavior support the practice culture values?
  • Would I accept this behavior from another team member?
  • Would I allow this behavior towards a patient?

If you answered no to all three questions…it is time to address the toxic performer’s behavior towards their co-workers.  Ask the toxic performer if they are willing to step up and be supportive of the team and culture values.  Don’t be surprised if the toxic performer makes excuses for their behavior and take it as a personal attack against them.  They will often hold grudges, blame, and complain how they are the victim.  They need to verbally agree, and their behavior change needs to immediate and consistent.  If they don’t agree or if the toxic behavior happens again, invite them to step out and no longer be a part of the team.

Never sacrifice the entire practice culture for one toxic performer regardless of their talent and productivity.  Nor allow a team member to continue to treat their co-workers poorly.  A benchmark I suggest is would you allow that same behavior towards a patient.  You will lose good team members and destroy the practice culture if you allow the toxic performer to continue their toxic behavior.  It may feel very daunting.  However, other dental offices have been in this situation and not only survived but thrived.   They found that once they let the toxic performer go other team members were able to step up.  They were no longer held back by the toxic performer.  Create a culture where the team (including doctors) treats each other as well as they treat their patients and become tremendous performers!

March 1, 2022

TeamWORK!  Takes work! 

TeamWORK!  Takes work!

Teamwork!  A phrase so often used loosely with so many different assumptions of its meaning!

According to BusinessDictionary.com, teamwork is “The process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal. … Teamwork means that people will try to cooperate, using their individual skills and providing constructive feedback, despite any personal conflict between individuals.”

The team part happens pretty easy.  Once we belong to a group or organization we automatically become a part of the team.  The WORK part of team work is not so easy!  It takes work to build happy, healthy and high performing team relationships.

This article is dedicated to the WORK part of teamwork.  BTW…this message works for your personal relationships as well.

I have spent years helping teams create a happier, healthier, and higher performing relationships.  Successful team relationships don’t just happen by accident.  They take work just like every relationship.  Yet the assumption is that we should all just naturally get along.

 

 

Communication is the first core fundamental in teamwork. It would be very difficult to work together as a team for a common purpose without it! The right hand would never know what the left hand was doing nor what was needed or expected. The team’s success would be limited to only what each person could accomplish individually.

It is important for the team to create standards on how the team would like to communicate with each other and patients to build successful relationships. The work part is the ongoing focus and commitment to support the standards even when we may not feel like it.

Successful team communication includes:

  • Communicate Clearly – Clarify expectations by defining who, what, when, where, why and how.
  • Communicate Positively – Smile at each other and speak in a warm and friendly tone.
  • Avoid negative sarcasm and gossip.  Go directly to the source.
  • Communicate Respectfully – Always consider how your words may impact the other person. Ask yourself; how can I say what I need to say and be respectful of how they may feel
  • Communicate Professionally – Use words such as yes, no, please and thank you.
  • Be mindful of your energy and filter your response.
  • Communication is 7% words, 55% body language and 38% tone of voice. Never approach another team member with anger or frustration on you will shut down communication.
  • Communicate and resolve conflict within 24 hours if possible to lessen frustration and assumptions from building.

Collaboration is the second core fundamental needed to enable the team to successfully work together. It is important to remember that there is more than one way (our way) to do things.  It is our responsibility as a team member to work well with our coworkers. We can make it easy for others to work with us.  Collaboration means:

  • Sharing thoughts and ideas about what works and what does not.
  • Being open (think outside the box creativity) and willing to listen to new and different ideas from others.
  • Agreeing on a solution that serves the best interests of the patients, practice, and team instead of any individual.
  • Continue to be flexible and to adjust until you succeed
  • Don’t take things personal.
  • Support your team members. Ask and offer help.

Celebration is the third core fundamental to successful teamwork. It is important to celebrate daily. Even the little things. If our focus is always on the next patient or task we will miss the good in the present moment and eventually we will lose our joy for our work.

Celebrate by:

  • Looking for and becoming aware of what is positive in the present moment. Right here right now what is good?
  • Being grateful for what is instead of complaining about what isn’t.
  • Showing appreciation to your coworkers and your patients.
  • Celebrating in the moment with a physical gesture for example a big smile, thumbs up, high five or even a Ta-Dah!

Implementing these three core fundamentals will empower your team to WORK together to build happy, healthy and high performing team relationships.

February 1, 2022

Control, Alt, Delete! Reset, Reset, Reset!!!

Control, Alt, Delete! Reset, Reset, Reset!!! 10 Creator Thoughts to Help You Reset!

2022 isn’t starting out quite like I imagined or planned!  Reset time!  So many things are up in the air.  Literally like flying for example.  I fly almost every week for work.  I can tell you that it has been a challenging task.  Lack of plane and or crew or nasty weather often leads to a delayed or canceled flight.  Once I arrive there is the potential of attendance concerns due to the pandemic.  It often feels like playing Russian Roulette.

 

 

Many of my clients are struggling as well with staffing shortages and last-minute patient cancels or fails due to illness.  Everyday is a new challenge.  Maybe you find yourself in the same boat.

We have two choices. We can reset by taking on the current situation and making the best of it.  Or we can get angry, worry, and judge what should or shoudn’t have happened.  Some of us live in a state of fear and judgement of “what if” waiting for the next shoe to drop.

We become the creator of our world when we take on the challenges.  We become the victim of our world when we stew and worry.  Creators are constantly resetting!  Something unplanned or uncertain will happen.  Stop the spinning out of control thoughts of this should or shouldn’t have happened.  Instead change your internal dialogue with a reset transition thought.  So, this happened…now what is the next step I want to take?

  • Triage the situation with your team or if alone by yourself.
  • Identify what needs to get done, what can be let go.
  • Who else can assist?
  • What resources can I utilize?
  • Then do your best.

Life will continue to be filled with unplanned stuff! Here are 10 creator thoughts to help you reset.

  1. Start your day on a positive note. Plan how you want to feel today and not what has to happen today to make it a good day.
  2. People will come and go in our life. Some relationships are only meant to last a certain amount of time.
  3. People’s actions and reactions are often heightened with all the uncertainty. Don’t take things personally.
  4. Challenges force us to grow. Look for the learning opportunity in every obstacle.
  5. Sit, stop, and become still. Breathe deep and become calm.  How we feel inside will change how we feel about what’s happening on the outside.
  6. Our energy is contagious. Be mindful of the energy we radiate.
  7. Be proactive instead of reactive. Take the necessary steps to set up to succeed.
  8. Treat people based on the person you want to be. Don’t let negative behavior of others drive your actions.
  9. Have hope for the future. This too shall pass.
  10. End your day in gratitude. Celebrate the positives by giving thanks       and praise.

 

Life will be filled with unplanned challenges.  The ability to reset will define our level of success.

December 30, 2021

Conversation Versus Confrontation!

CONVERSATION VERSUS CONFRONTATION!

I have the privilege of facilitating R.I.S.E. & Shine Culture Camps for dental teams nationwide!  Click this link https://www.practicesolutionsinc.net/culture-camp.html to learn more about R.I.S.E. & Shine Culture Camps!

The first day of Culture Camp is spent speaking to each team member as well as observing the practice flow.  I ask the same question to everyone.  The question I ask is, “If I could wave a magic wand and make things easier or better what would I change?”  The question opens the dialogue.  Most responses include concerns with doctor or team relationship(s).  I ask if they have tried to discuss it with the person whom they have the concerns.  The response is almost universal.  “No, I don’t like confrontation!”

 

 

There is a big difference between a conversation and a confrontation.  We can ask anyone anything if we are coming from a place of curiosity, care, and concern instead of judgment, criticism, or blame.  It is a confrontation when you are approaching someone with the intent to judge, compare, criticize, or blame.  The difference between a conversation versus a confrontation is based on your approach and your intent.  Be mindful of your energy and intent.  What are the results you are desiring?

The purpose of a conversation is to have a fact finding or fact sharing discussion.  The Approacher (the person initiating the conversation) must be mindful of energy, words, tone, and body language.  Never approach someone to address a concern when you are angry or unable to control your emotions or it will end up being a confrontation.  Approach with a question(s) to simply understand the “why” and not necessarily to resolve.  You may or may not be able to come to a resolution during the conversation.  It may take time for one or both parties to process through reflection and consideration of the other person.  Allowing time to process will remove the stress of having to immediately come to an agreement.  We also don’t want to sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist while we silently stew over the situation.  The goal is to resolve within 24 to 48 hours if possible.  If you feel the need to complain to someone else (venting – which is a nice word for gossip) than it is important to approach the source and have a conversation.

The conversation is always in private and starts with positive clear communication.

Be specific instead of generalizing. Focus more on objective points than subjective opinions.  Just saying “I don’t like it or you’re doing this wrong” is not helpful. On the other hand, stating the specific strengths or skills you would like to see developed is helpful.

Don’t make it personal. Talk about issue not the person. Avoid saying, “you need to”.   Start the conversation with the word I instead of saying you. For example, “I noticed,” “I have seen,” “I observed,” “I am not quite sure what happened,” “Help me understand,” or when sharing feedback from others, “I have had reported to me.” “I” conversations are issue-focused instead of person-focused. Always consider how your words may impact the other person. Ask yourself; how can I say what I need to say and be respectful of how they may feel.

Break your feedback down into key points. Don’t give your feedback as one big lump. Break it down into various key points, then give your feedback point by point.  Give examples of each point. What are the exact issues, situations, or examples where the person exhibits the behaviors you highlighted? There is no need to highlight every single one.  Just disclosing a couple of examples per point will be sufficient. The purpose is to bring the person’s awareness to things which he/she may not be aware of and clearly illustrate what you mean.

Ask the other person what they need from you (communication, support, training, practice) to be able to achieve the desired results. Together discuss and agree on a resolution.

Life will be filled with concerns of situations and other people.  The confidence and skill to have timely conversations will help resolve whatever arises.

December 1, 2021

Keeping Your Team Engaged!

Keeping your team engaged starts with understanding and identifying the different levels of engagement.  There are three levels of engagement: Rowers, Riders, and Resisters!

Rowers – Engaged Employees – are passionate about their work and feel very connected and loyal to the practice.  They are always looking for ways to improve performance and patient care.  They are focused on the big picture of helping the practice succeed.  They base their success on the practice’s success!

Riders – Not Engaged Employees – are essentially checked out.  They can be difficult to spot.  They are just coasting through their day by putting in time without energy or passion.  They are thinking about lunch, who just called on their cell phone, or what they are going to do when they get off work.

Resisters – Actively Disengaged Employees – are unhappy at work and demonstrate it in their words and actions.  They monopolize the doctor/manager’s time (always having to issues that need addressing), have more on-the-job accidents, create more quality concerns, are sicker and miss more days.  They undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish and sabotage the practice.

 

 

Clear and Consistent Expectations

We start with an open and candid conversation clarifying expectations and the results desired.  Go deep enough to explain what, who, when, where, why and how.  So often time’s when delegating things are left unsaid.  Assumptions are made resulting in frustration for the doctor, the manager, and the employee!  If the employee is not clear on expectations, they cannot possibly deliver.   If you are thinking, they should just know that, or I already told them once…I don’t need to tell them again…your results will be limited!

“If you don’t ask for what you want don’t be angry when you don’t get it.” ~ Judy Kay Mausolf

 

Appropriate Equipment and Supplies

Next is making sure the team has the appropriate equipment and supplies to maximize efficiency and get better results.  It demonstrates to the employee that their work is valued because you were willing to give them the support needed to do their job.  For example, a specific instrument to aid your hygienist in safely cleaning around dental implants.  It is important to ask employees if they have what they need to be able to do their job efficiently and effectively.  The initial cost is outweighed by the ROI of increased performance, service, and productivity.

I have found men are usually much better at getting the right equipment and supplies whereas women will try to make do.  This summer my husband Steve and I went a little crazy with filling our deck with pots of flowers, succulents, and evergreens!  It became huge watering chore for me because we did not have a hose up on the deck.  I have been traveling a lot more for business…which means Steve has become the water boy!  Surprise!  I came home to find a faucet and short hose up on the deck.  Watering is now so easy it is fun!  What used to take me 1/2 hour or more now takes under 10 minutes!  We have just tripled my productivity and increased job satisfaction by having the appropriate equipment and supplies!  

  

Focusing on Strengths 

We focus on identifying and building on each team member’s strengths. This one step alone can change productivity by as much as 12.5%.  The best opportunity for people to grow and develop is to help them discover their innate talents.  It just naturally creates a feeling of wellbeing when we can do something well.  We enjoy our work more.  Focusing on a team member’s strengths is a far more effective and positive approach than constantly focusing on their weaknesses.    When employees know and use their strengths, they are more engaged, have higher performance, and are less likely to leave the practice.

Research shows that the management style of focusing on the positive strengths reduces active disengagement to 1%.  Whereas a negative focus management style produces 22% disengagement.  Surprisingly, being ignored causes the most damage at 40% disengagement!  The old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!” is not a successful management style.  It delivers to the most negative outcome of all.

 

Which response would your employees say best reflects the management style in your practice?

  • My manager/doctor focuses on my strengths or positive characteristics.
  • My manager/doctor focuses on my weaknesses or negative characteristics.
  • My manager/doctor does not say anything at all, and I feel ignored and invisible.

Leadership teams can help engage the team by creating clear and consistent expectations, providing appropriate supplies/equipment, and focusing on strengths!

Contact Judy Kay today if you would like to learn more about how she can help you get your team ENGAGED and WORKING together to build a happier, healthier, and higher performing culture! 

November 1, 2021

How to Encourage Accountability! Part 2

Training is often a culprit of lack of accountability.  It is difficult to complete a task if we are uncertain how it is to be done.  Uncertainty lessens accountability!  Set standards for the practice by defining one way instead of multiple ways.  Standards create consistency and consistency escalates excellence.  The more consistent we are the more accountable we become resulting in a higher performing team and practice.  Provide personal training and cross training as well as entire team training to get everyone aligned on the same page.

 

 

Asking for help is being accountable.  Give your team permission to ask for help when needed.  Asking for help can often feel like a weakness when in essence it is being accountable to make sure the job gets done.  There are some team members who have OCD – Over Committers Dysfunction.  You will often here them say; “I got this!”  when they have so many plates already spinning, they can’t possibly get them all done.  Saying yes can sometimes be less accountable then delegating or asking another person for help.

Prioritize tasks as there will be days even the entire team can’t get everything done!  If we communicate and get the rocks done, we will be okay.  I utilize the rocks, pebbles, and sand analogy to help teams prioritize their responsibilities.  A rock is anything that is important and urgent (needs to be done that day) or there will be negative consequences for the practice.  The biggest rock is always the patient right in front of us.  Everyone helps everyone with their rocks (as long as it is legal, ethical and within their licensure) before going on to their own pebbles and sand.  Once all rocks are completed, the team member may move on to their pebbles.

Pebbles are also very important but not urgent.  Pebbles are never delegated because they can be done another day without affecting the practice negatively.  Everyone is responsible for their own pebbles.  A pebble can eventually become a rock if left undone based on change in urgency.  For example, ordering supplies might become a rock if you must order that day, or you will run out of necessary supplies before they arrive.  Even washing uniforms may become a rock if there are none available for the next day and it is close to closing.

Sand is the filler to fill in open time with cleaning and organizing.  Sand is also never delegated.  Everyone is responsible for their own sand.  This helps to prevent delegating the things that are less desirable.

Confirming by checking in when a task is completed is part of accountability.  It keeps everyone in the loop and ends the night wondering/worry of whether a certain task was completed.

Clearly defined consequences are necessary.  An accountable high performing team is dependent on supporting the patients, the team, and the practice standards.  Our job is whatever is legal, ethical, and within our licensure to help the team and practice thrive!   We must choose to support our patients, team, and practice if we want to be a part of the team!