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August 30, 2018

Achieving Authentic Success! Part 1

Achieving Authentic Success! Part 1


It seems as if the Universe has been nudging me to write this message. I have been witnessing and extraordinary amount of people being fake by pretending to be who they are not. Just turn on the T.V. and listen to the news. It’s becoming the norm in every industry. So many people talking the talk but not walking the walk. It is not our words but our actions that speak our truth. Thankfully there are still those who choose to live an authentic life.

I love the quote by Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

The intent may not be to deceive others. It can unintentionally happen when we have not taken the time to explore and know our true self. The fear of what others may think and the desire to fit in also pushes many to be less than authentic.

While sadly to say there are others who intentionally mask who they are and become a chameleon to get what they want. These behaviors are dangerous whether they are intentional or not. They don’t merely hide but transform who we are. We become who we impersonate.

This message is focused on showing up our best authentic us in an often times artificial world. “Today is a great day to show your shine!” ~ Judy Kay Mausolf. This quote reflects the core of my belief system and is the compass of my life. It is my mantra for serving others in this day, not waiting until the opportunity which may never come again.

Do you have a quote or statement that reflects your core belief system, your compass in life, your mantra for serving others? If not, what would you like it to be? As important as it is to have a business vision statement, it is even more important to define personal core values. It is key to limit it to a few core words or it dilutes clarity. What four core words in order of priority would you choose? Having core value words will help guide us in our decision and actions. They will help us show up to shine every day. For example my four core words in order of priority; lifter, authentic, happy and committed.

  • Lifter – lift others up to shine
  • Authentic – be true to who I am
  • Happy – be present, grateful and celebrate life’s gifts
  • Committed – perseverance to continue to succeed in when difficult

In life things don’t always go our way and people can be interesting. Interesting is a great way to describe difficult personalities and behaviors. Having four core words helps us to be who we want to be even when our emotions would lead us astray. I heard a powerful quote from Fred Joyal during a recent interview webinar discussing culture.   “The gap between reaction and response is wisdom!” Our response will support who we choose to be when we take time to think before we react.

Maybe some of you aren’t necessarily thrilled with the role you are playing in your life right now. It is never too late. You can change how you live your life starting today. In every breath we take we have the opportunity to continue to grow and become the person we choose to be. Day dream for a moment. Imagine, what would your life look like if you were your best you? What core values would you add or change? What would you start doing and what would you stop doing? What daily action steps would you need to take to support those values?

It takes confidence, perseverance and commitment to show up and be our best us. Confidence, perseverance and commitment are what separate the people who talk-the-talk from those who walk-the-walk. All three are vital to achieving authentic success!

Let’s start with confidence. The more confidence we have in our self, the less likely we are to sway in our beliefs and give in to the noise from others.   Real confidence comes from knowing who we want to be and accepting our self…our strengths and overcoming our limitations…in contrast to depending on affirmation of others.

I remember when I was starting my business, Practice Solutions Inc. in 2006. I had advice on what the best, proper, or the only way to do things. I realized quickly I had to decide what the core values of my coaching/speaking business would be to avoid having my business philosophy change daily on the whims and beliefs of others. Much of the advice I received focused on monitoring numbers and the bottom line. What rang true to me was to not focus on the bottom line. Instead I chose to focus on happy and healthy doctor, team, and patient relationships built on trust and respect. A healthy sustainable bottom line would be the result not the focus. Yes, it would still be important to know, understand and monitor numbers, systems, and protocols to know the health of the practice.   However, the practice’s success would come from the change in mindsets, attitude, and communication resulting in happier, healthier, higher performing culture.

It’s time we stop worrying about what others think. The truth is we are so busy worrying about ourselves we don’t spend more than a few seconds worrying about others. Do you even remember what the headlines in the news were yesterday? If you are like most you don’t…and it was the headlines. We have been given the gift a life. What a shame it would be to waste our life being someone we are not.

People are drawn to people who are confident in being real. It’s time to be authentic and show our quirky and unique nuances to the world. Our sense of people’s authenticity has an enormous impact on how much we trust them, how comfortable we are with them, and how willing we are to follow them. Sharing our authentic self is a vital, essential piece to becoming true to our self and our core beliefs. When we share who we really are and what we are passionate about, our message comes across loud and clear and rings true!

Tune into Part 2 to read about the power of perseverance and commitment to achieve authentic success!

August 3, 2018

The Power of Appreciation!

The Power Appreciation!

Appreciation is a fundamental human need yet is often considered an unnecessary nicety. Niceties like please, thank you, that was awesome, and I appreciate you. After all why should we have to interrupt our busy day to tell someone else we appreciate them? Aren’t they just being needy? Doesn’t that show a lack of confidence on their part if they need constant reinforcement? 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.


Let’s start with Purpose.

Appreciation expressed through acknowledgement of our good work confirms our work is valued. When our work is valued, our satisfaction and performance rises and we feel purpose. Feeling genuinely appreciated makes us feel secure, which is what empowers us to do our best work. If a person takes the time to express their heart-felt appreciation for something we have done, it makes us feel good about what we do. It builds our self-confidence, self-esteem and our entire self-image. It gives us energy and motivation to work harder and do more.

Appreciation put simply is positive feedback. We all want to know whether our employers think we are doing well. Positive feedback is their confirmation. When we aren’t given positive feedback it seems as if they don’t notice, care or value our contribution. Instead we may only hear when we are doing something wrong. A healthy ratio is three positives to every one negative feedback conversation. Exceptional relationships are the result of five positives to every one negative.

When we don’t feel valued we wonder if we are doing a good job. We may even worry if we are at risk of losing our job. We lose our sense of purpose if we believe what we do isn’t important enough to be noticed and appreciated. Purpose is powerful!


Next is Perception!

Appreciation can change our perception by changing our focus. For example let’s say you’re not getting along with a coworker. It is our nature to focus on what we don’t like and take for granted the things we do like. We get so focused on what we don’t like about a person we stop seeing the good in them.

Here is an exercise for the next time you get really upset with someone…your spouse, significant other, close friend or co-worker. It may even be today. What are five things you appreciate about this person? How do they make a difference in your life? On a scale of 1 to 10 how big of deal is what you are upset about? Focus on what you appreciate about that person instead of what you don’t.

When we take time to think about what we appreciate about the other person it changes our focus. When we change our focus we see them in a new light and it changes our perception. When we show appreciation to another person it changes their perception of us as well. It also changes their willingness to help. People are much more willing to go the extra yard if they know they will be appreciated.

I have the privilege of working with dental teams nationwide in my Culture Camps to create a happier healthier and higher performing culture. I utilize appreciation because it has the power to mend and restore relationships. A major focus of my culture camp is to help teams work together better. I was working with a team that was extremely divided. We started the culture camp with an appreciation exercise. This is an exercise I use often when there is drama, hurt feelings or conflict between colleagues. I asked every team member to share with the entire team what they appreciate about each of their coworkers. They were to be very specific including how it was helpful to them. It was amazing to watch the energy shift in the room. Frustration, anger and hurt shifted to receptiveness, willingness and gratification. There are often times tears of relief and hugs of acceptance. Perception is powerful!


Last but not least Positivity!

Positivity is the practice of being positive or optimistic in attitude. Positivity is a side effect of appreciation. Whether we are the giver the receiver of appreciation we feel more positive.

When we feel appreciation we feel happy and at peace and no longer feel anger or frustration. We are not wired to entertain both appreciation and negative emotions at the same time. The more we look for opportunities to show appreciation the more we will find and the more positive everyone will feel. It is positive circulation in motion!

In positive psychology research, appreciation is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Appreciation helps people feel more positive emotions, enjoy good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build stronger relationships. Which is why I wrote my book TA-DAH! Get Happy in 5 Seconds or Less. Positivity is powerful!

Another great read for the entire office is “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” by Gary Chapman. He shares the five ways we feel appreciated. They are verbal, time, help, gifts and touch.

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

  • Be timely
  • Be specific
  • Be brief

Start practicing appreciation today! You will be amazed at how simply showing appreciation will cultivate purpose, perception and positivity in your life!





July 3, 2018

Avoiding Assumptions…How to Ask!

Avoiding Assumptions!

Assumptions create 90% of all dental team conflicts! We make assumptions every minute of every day. Something happens and we instantly assign meaning to it. That is an assumption. We start imagining what other people are doing, what they’re thinking, what they’re saying about us. We invent an entire story based on assumptions and we believe it. One assumption leads to another assumption; we jump to conclusions and we take it personally. Almost all team conflicts are based on assumptions. Assumptions are nothing more than false stories that we are telling ourselves. They create a big drama for no reason because they aren’t based on fact.

It may be correct or it may be incorrect. We won’t know unless we take the next step. ASK! Sounds easy but it’s not. We often fear that if we ask, we may open ourselves up to an emotional reaction such as judgment, criticism or retaliation.

It is vital that we don’t allow the fear of a negative response stop us from asking. We truly don’t know what someone intended by their actions or words. Our perception of what it means to us when we do a certain action may have a totally different meaning for someone else. Sometimes even what others say or the words they use can mean something different than what we believe them to mean. And just because someone felt a certain way in the past doesn’t mean they still feel the same. Stop making assumptions and start asking questions regardless of a potential negative response.

When you get that twinge in your gut and you think “Hmmm – I wonder what they meant by that, or I wonder why they haven’t…?” Or you find yourself saying “I think they meant this.” Stop wondering and ASK the person! Go directly to the person instead of asking others…what do you think they meant when they…? Other people’s responses will only be assumptions as well. It may seem like conflict to approach the person who gave you the twinge in the gut. It is actually very respectful. Because you are going to the source instead of gossiping to others. You are giving them an opportunity to be heard and allowing them to share their why. Be mindful of the energy you bring to the conversation. Always approach from a place (mindset) of care, concern and curiosity versus anger, judgment and criticism.

Some simple questions to ask are:

  • I am not quite sure what you meant, please tell me more?
  • I am not quite sure what happened. Can we talk about it?
  • Is everything okay?
  • Are you okay?

Continue to respectfully ask questions until you understand the other person’s intent. If you are still thinking “I think they meant…” you are assuming. It is important to continue to ask more questions to achieve a deeper understanding! Believe them when they explain their why otherwise, there is no reason to even have a conversation.

If you are the person being approached thank the other person for speaking with you. Remember they respect and trust you enough to come to you. “Thank you for sharing this with me. I appreciate that you came to me instead of not addressing it or going to someone else.” Take time if you need to reflect before responding. Always set a specific time to meet again to discuss. “I can see this is important to you. I would like to take today to think about it. Can we talk about it tomorrow at lunch?” The more questions we ask the less assumptions we will make the better we will work together!

June 1, 2018

Rise Above the Pain of Change! Part 2

Rise Above the Pain of Change! Part 2

In Part 1 we covered the first 2 essentials to rise above the pain of change and make it a positive process; trust in leadership and a clear and consistent direction!

The third essential is for leadership to work with the team to develop a well-structured plan. If you want the team to embrace a change ask for their suggestions and feedback on how to implement the change. If you want the team to have ownership give them authorship as well. A well-structured plan is well thought out and clearly defined. I teach teams the R.I.S.E. Implementation Process to help them work together to create a well-structured plan. R.I.S.E. is an acronym for Review, Implement, Sustain and Evaluate.

  • Review
    • What is it we are currently doing
    •  What is working and what is not
    • Keep what is let go of what is not
    • WIIFTT – What’s in it for the team if we make the chang
    • It is important for the value/benefits to rate an 8 or above on scale of 1 to 10 or it is difficult to sustain
  • Implement
    • 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
      • WIIFTT if we make the change – there must always be something in it for the team for the team to sustain the change
    • How are we going do it
      • Practice verbal skills
      • Practice role playing – yes I know it’s weird but it’s effective
      • Practice the entire physical walk through – never test it out for the first time on a patient
      • Create standard operating procedure
      • Schedule the roll out date
  • Sustain
    • In order to sustain it is important for the new change to become a habit
      • It takes a range of 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
    • 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
    • Any change takes ongoing tweaking

The fourth essential is to schedule appropriate and adequate training and practice time. I have found that the most positive and successful changes happen when the team has time to train and practice.

Team meetings are the perfect opportunity for training and practice time. Utilize your team meetings to:

  • Review and update systems and protocols
  • Implement new ideas
  • Monitor process of yearly goals
  • Practice, practice, practice
    • Verbal skills, role playing and physical walk through

Team meetings are most effective when you:

  • Schedule often enough
  • Schedule time enough
  • Schedule when most can attend
  • Get feedback from the entire team
    • Encourage solution focused suggestions on how to overcome potential obstacles

The fifth essential is to be realistic with the workload. It will be very difficult to get the team excited about embracing something new if they are already swamped and consistently running behind. It is important to evaluate whether there is enough time, money and people to successfully implement the change. Don’t firehose your employees with changes. Implement only one or two new things at a time. Even the most committed employees will become resistant to change if they are consistently overwhelmed.

Cultivating a culture with these 5 essentials will help you rise above the pain of change and make it a positive process!

May 1, 2018

Rise Above the Pain of Change! Part 1

Rise Above the Pain of Change! Part 1

You may have heard the quote; “The only thing that is constant is change!” It is true, change is inevitable but not always positive or successful! The reality is that some work cultures support positive change, while other cultures sabotage change. There are many factors involved, such as team workload, other current changes in progress, team beliefs about change, clear communication about the change, benefits of the change, appropriate training, coaching and support provided during the change, etc.

I have the privilege of helping dental teams nationwide create a happier, healthier and higher performing culture that they will enjoy coming to everyday. This always involves making changes. I often observe team members roll their eyes and let out deep sighs of frustration when they hear there is another change heading their way. They stress and worry about how it will affect them and how long it will last. This article is dedicated to learning how to rise above the pain of change and make it a positive process.

Change for many of us is often scary. The fear of change comes when we start the assumptions of “what if” thoughts! How many times have you been afraid to make a change because of saying to yourself, “But what if this happens”? You just “what if’d” yourself right out of action. Think about this. It’s a biggy! How many times has fear stopped you? The ironic part is that fear is really only a negative prediction of the future. In most cases, what we worry about doesn’t happen. What actually happened, we didn’t even think about or worry about, and yet we still survived. Its proof that worry is a total waste of energy and time. If we can learn to evaluate the real danger, as opposed to the perception of danger (what if), we will get a more realistic viewpoint and we will be less afraid to make the change. Imagine how much happier you would be right this second if the fear of “what if” had no impact on your decisions. What would you do or change? What would your life look like right now?

Change requires us to have courage to face our fear of “what if” in unpredictable and unknown! Regardless of how dysfunctional, unhappy, unproductive or toxic the current culture may be it often feels safer to keep the status quo. The known almost always feels safer than the unknown. That is why it is imperative that the value of the change be clear to those asked to make the change. It is essential that the value and benefits of change rate an 8 or above on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being high. Otherwise, the chance for the change to be positive and sustainable is limited.

I have found 5 essentials to help dental teams rise above their fears and embrace change as a positive process.

  • Trust in leadership
  • Clear and consistent direction
  • Structured plan
  • Adequate training and practice time
  • Realistic workload

The number one essential necessary to embrace change is trust in the leadership. If the team members trust their leader(s) they will be more willing to step into the unpredictable and unknown. Leaders can build trust by embodying the following traits:

  1. Model the waddle is the number one leadership principle – in other words lead by example
  2. Have a clear and consistent direction
  3. Be transparent by communicating to keep the team in the loop as much as possible
  4. Be open to suggestions and feedback
  5. Address any obstacles, fears or concerns the team may have about the change

The second essential is to communicate a clear and consistent direction. It is important to use a decision strategy to avoid fly-bys and emotion driven decisions in the heat of the moment. I teach the following four strategic steps:

  • What’s in the best interests of the patients, practice and the team – not any individual and long term
    • Think about 10 months and 10 years instead of next 10 minutes or 10 days
  • What is practical and realistic based on time, people and money currently available
  • What is the precedent being set
    • Is it fair, if we can’t do it across the board for everyone on the team it will feel like favoritism and divide the team
  • What is the level of passion we are willing to support the decision
    • Will we support it when push comes to shove even if it may result in losing an employee or a patient

Set your team up to succeed by communicating the change clearly and concisely. I suggest the following communication process:

  • Clarify expectations
  • Ask questions to make sure everyone understands
  • Write objective down in bullet points if more than a couple of things
  • Identify equipment and supplies necessary
  • Schedule adequate training and practice time
  • Set realistic expectations for completion time and date
  • For more involved longer tasks schedule a check in

Read Part 2 to learn all 5 essentials to rise above the pain of change and make it a positive process!

April 1, 2018

How to Build a Culture of Trust

How to Build a Culture of Trust

Imagine a culture where:

*             Leadership was by example

*             Everyone worked together for the greater good

*             Co-worker’s didn’t question each other’s intent

*             Open respectful communication was the standard

*             Gossip ceased to exist

*             Accountability was self-maintained

*             Honesty was the only policy

It may sound like a fantasy, but TRUST me… its real!” These are the results of a culture built on trust.

The dictionary defines trust as instinctive unquestioning belief in and reliance upon something. The culture of trust I am suggesting is not one of blind faith but instead one of confidence! Confident trust is based on consistency!   Consistency of good reasons to trust based on significant past evidence and experiences.

Think of the people in your life that you confidently trust. Take a moment to reflect why you feel confident in trusting them. Confident trust does not just happen overnight. It takes time to nurture and grow. However, breaking one’s trust can happen in a heartbeat. The great news is that trust can be rebuilt. It takes a sincere daily commitment to be transparent, consistent and realistic. An actionable and measurable process is to assess your every action, attitude and conversation by checking off the following list.

*             Am I being transparent

*             Am I being consistent

*             Am I being realistic

Breaking trust is seldom intentional. Many people break trust because they are people pleaser yes people. Their intent is good. Their results are not. They have OCD…Over Committers Disorder! They commit and commit and commit because they are nice people. They want others to like them so they don’t say no. OCD’s believe that by saying no they are letting a person down. Perhaps you know someone like this…could it be you? Yet the reality is by over committing we are letting everyone down including ourselves. I suggest utilizing a caring response to say no to over committing. For example: “Our relationship is so important to me. I would never want to let you or any of my previous commitments down. So I am going to say no because I can’t commit 100% to yes.” It is not necessary to explain why to the other person. Some people will continue to push hard even after they have been told no. A simple no thank you I am going to pass and end the conversation.

A team meeting is a great format to discuss trust in the practice. Discuss the benefits of having a culture of trust pertaining to patients and team. It is important for the entire team to understand how a low trust level affects the patient experience, practice culture and the bottom line. As a team assess the current level of trust in the practice. Define what builds and what breaks trust in the practice. Use a large easel pad and write down all the answers being shared by the team. I like the self-stick pads with individual pages that can stick to the wall.

Some examples of a low trust culture are:

*             Not keeping in the loop with details that pertain to them and the practice

*             Adding rules or steps for everyone to compensate for the inadequacies of a few

*             Extra staff to cover for lack of a accountability with a specific team member

*             Redundant systems and processes

A predominant sign of low trust with the leadership team is difficulty getting the team on board and willing to follow their lead. Imagine how much more productive a practice would be if the team confidently trusted leadership and each other?

Gossip is another sign of low trust that results from lack of transparency. If the leadership team does not keep the team in the loop they will talk to each other. Gossip that is made up from assumptions will run rampant.

Your team will no longer feel trusted and become frustrated when you make rules that affect the entire team to compensate for the inadequacies of few specific team members. You may even end up losing your good team members.

The next step at the meeting is to ask the team to share what they feel they need from each other (including leadership) to build trust. Some examples might be:

*             Be transparent by keeping in the loop

*             Be consistent with daily tasks

*             If you have a concern talk to the person

*             Help when you see help is needed

*             Ask for help when help is needed

*             Ask don’t assume

*             Take ownership – do what you say you will do when you say you will

*             Focus on the greater good instead of WIIFM (What’s in it for me)

*            Don’t gossip

*             Tell the truth and be compassionate

*             Don’t be late or absent for trivial reasons

Together as a team create your list of Trust Standards. Next print it, frame it and put on display for future reference. It will be important to review whenever you hire someone new or…because old habits die hard; whenever someone’s behavior deems it necessary!

TA-DAH…you have just established Trust Standards to build the level of trust in your practice! The awesome part is that when people create it they own it!

The bottom line is that trust is not just a social virtue it greatly affects patient experience, practice culture and the bottom line!

Contact Judy Kay today if you would like to learn more about how she can help you cultivate a culture of trust!

March 2, 2018

Five Steps to Stop Gossip!

Five Steps to Stop Gossip!

This message is dedicated to learning how to stop gossip resulting in a happier, healthier and higher performing culture. Gossip is often perceived as just a normal part of life! I often hear the following statements regarding gossip: It’s a woman thing, women just have to gossip, it’s really not a big deal because everybody does it, and you can’t stop it even if you try. Gossip is either accepted, allowed or not addressed in most dental practice cultures. If we truly comprehended the negative impact gossip has on the practice culture, patient experience and bottom line it would no longer be tolerated.

It’s time to clear up a few myths regarding gossip. Gossip is not just a woman thing…men do it too they just call it venting. Gossip is toxic and is a big deal! You can stop it if you are serious about having a no gossip office culture.

I refer to gossip as The Poison Triangle of Mistrust because it often involves two people talking negatively about a third person behind their back. Once the person overhears or learns about the gossip a triangle of mistrust is formed. They no longer trust the gossiper (the giver) or gossip-ee (the receiver) of the gossip.

Gossip affects:

*           Trust

*           Communication

*           Team Performance

*          Morale

*           Patient Experience

*           Bottom Line

That’s just to name a few. Gossip is not fluff stuff. It is really big stuff! We can create a happier, healthier and higher performing culture when we choose to no longer accept or allow gossip.

I teach a five step process to stop gossip.

Step One – Start with a team meeting with the entire team including the doctors. Share with the team the impact gossip has on the team and the practice and that in the future it will no longer be tolerated. Ask everyone individually to verbally agree to support a No-Gossip Culture in the practice. For example, I agree to support a No-Gossip Culture. Once they verbally agree they can no longer say I didn’t agree. I just didn’t say anything.

Step Two – Define what gossip means in your practice. I define gossip as anything that is negative or private about another person that they do not want others to know. As a team agree on a word or phrase to use if someone starts to gossip about another team member to them. It could be something as simple as peace (as in keep the peace), please take it to the source, please stop, or remember we said we weren’t going to gossip anymore. It doesn’t really matter what word(s) you use. What is important is that everyone knows what it is and agrees to use that specific word or phrase.

Step Three – Establish consequences for gossip. I suggest the same consequences as any other behavior that sabotages instead of supports the standards of the practice. Establish consequences that you know you will be willing to carry out. It is very important that the entire team understand what the consequences will be for gossip. If you would like to receive a complimentary copy of my white pages on consequences please email me at

Step Four – It’s time to actually stop the gossip. This will take practicing many times before it becomes more comfortable. Stop talking to other people about others and instead go to the person you were going to gossip about and talk to them to resolve the concern. If you are on the receiving end of gossip you are just as responsible as the initiator. You play 50-50 role because if they have no one to tell the gossip stops. If a team member starts to gossip to you or you over hear two people gossiping about another team member say the word or phrase. Please be mindful of your tone of voice and attitude. Always speak from a place of care and concern not judgment and criticism. If they continue to gossip remind them once more by saying remember we agreed as a team we would not gossip about each other. Old habits die hard and we want to be supportive and help each other to stop the gossip. If they are gossiping to you and they refuse to stop physically remove yourself from the conversation. If they continue to gossip to another team member inform them that if they do not stop you will inform the doctor or manager (whoever handles conflict resolution in the practice).

Step Five – The doctor or manager holds the team member accountable by following through with the consequences. It is important the entire team understands the consequences for participating in gossiping. Yes you can terminate a team member for participating in gossiping. It is important to make it very clear what the consequences are for gossip and include as a part of your written communication standards. Following through with consequences is where the line is drawn in the sand. It will determine whether you succeed or fail at creating a No-Gossip Culture. Gossip is really big stuff! It affects trust, communication, team performance, morale, patient experience and your bottom line. Isn’t it time to stop gossip and end The Poison Triangle of Mistrust?

Contact Judy Kay today if you would like to learn more about how she can help you end The Poison Triangle of Mistrust in your practice!

February 1, 2018

Say Bye Bye to Fly-Bys!


Say Bye Bye to Fly-Bys!

This message is focused on developing a We Team decision strategy to avoid fly-bys! Let’s by start by illustrating a fly-by.

Foundation of a Fly-by!

It’s another busy day! Doctor you just stepped out of treatment op 1 and are hurrying to hygiene ops 3 and 4 to do checks that have been waiting for at least 10 minutes. The hygienists have buzzed, messaged and are now tapping their feet with impatience. You avoid eye contact with the three team members (office administrator, assistant and hygienist) lining the hallway as you know they are all waiting for you. A blur of questions assault you as you pass by them. “Doctor can I…, Doctor what do…, Doctor how would…!” All you want to do is get to the hygiene rooms before the hygienists get more upset. So without lifting your head you mutter responses on the fly…yes…no…do this starting now. You’re not even sure what you said or to who. All you know is that you cleared a path to get to the next room. You have just successfully completed another fly-by.

Fly-bys may seem like an effective and efficient resolution but can be very toxic to the team and practice culture.   There is no time to process benefits and consequences, get team feedback and input or discuss with the entire We Team (leadership team).   A new standard or process is put into place with a few sound bites of discussion with the one lucky or unlucky team member who happened to ask the question. Everyone else on the team including the other members of the We Team are unaware of the decision and new process. In a short time, the We Team will no longer be cohesive and the team will start to doubt what the standard is for the day. The team will no longer fill confident or empowered to take even the smallest action without asking questions. This will result in consistently fueling an even longer line in the hallway. If you hear your team say ask each other; “do you know if we are doing it this way today,” you know fly-bys are happening. Fly-bys fuel incompetence, uncertainty and divide the team. Doctors, fly-bys are neither effective nor efficient.

I would like to introduce my W.O.W. Decision Making Strategy.

W.O.W. is an acronym for weed out weeds. A weed is anything that does not benefit the patients, practice or the team. 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.

The W.O.W. Decision Making Strategy is based on the following concept questions:

  • Patients, Practice & Team
    • What’s in the best interests of Patients, Practice and Team – not any individual (including doctor)
  • Practical
    • Does it make common sense
    • Is it realistic with resources available regarding Time, Money, People, Or are you willing to invest
  • Precedent
    • What precedent is being set? If it is done once for one team member, it becomes the expectation for entire team. If it is not across the board, it will feel like favoritism or inconsistency and, therefore, it will be unfair. Only say “yes” to what you want to set as a precedent.
  • Passionate
    • Is the We Team passionate enough about the decision to defend it – even to the point of possibly losing a patient or a team member? I suggest not implementing anything that the We Team thinks it is just a “nice to do”! “Nice to do” won’t be worth defending if the practice could lose a patient or team member. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being high does it rate 8 or above. Don’t implement anything that does not rate at least an 8 or you will not be willing to sustain the change.

Team Behavior Decisions

When we don’t see the results we desire from a team member we get frustrated and tend believe it is a behavior issue that warrants consequences. However, before we take any action we need to identify whether their lack of performance was truly a behavior issue. Maybe it was an issue with training, expectations, or communication that caused the problem. It is critical to not just react to what you think it is because you really don’t know. This is why it is so essential to meet with the team member and ask questions. The reality is that we could clear the majority of our team problems if we just asked questions. Schedule a time to meet with the team member and ask them questions to verify if:

  • They have been trained to do the task
  • They were clear on what was expected
  • They were clear on what was communicated

In many cases you will find it is either a lack of training, expectations or communication and not behavior that causes the performance problem. If that is the case the ownership lies on the person delegating and not the receiver of the task.

Utilizing W.O.W. Decision Making Strategy will help you say good bye to fly-bys and cultivate a happier, healthier and more cohesive We Team, Team and Practice Culture!

January 1, 2018

The Buck Stops with Leadership

The Buck Stops with Leadership

Every office culture is unique based on its leadership. What leaders do and even what they don’t do affects the culture. Culture is always a direct result of leadership’s actions or inaction.   If leaders don’t cultivate a culture by design they will reap a culture by default. Leaders, the good news is if you have an awesome culture take a bow. The bad news is if you have a negative culture take a bow.

I often hear; “I just want to do the dentistry and let someone else run the practice.” News alert for practice owners! Even if you hand over the responsibility of running the practice so you can just focus on just doing dentistry you are still responsible for the culture. It’s what is accepted and allowed by the practice owner that determines the culture.

The practice owner is responsible for the organization and all decisions made within the organization. Whether they are the one making the decisions or not the buck stops with the practice owner. Which is why it is so important to develop cohesive leadership with your practice administrator and any other team members helping you to run your practice. Without cohesive leadership performance expectations will be ambiguous and the team will conform to whatever are the lowest standards or expectations. I refer to a cohesive leadership team as the We Team.  The We Team may consist of the owner doctor or doctors, practice administrator, manager, team lead and any other leadership roles in the practice.

The first step in developing a cohesive We Team is to clarify the vision and purpose of the practice. The practice owner needs to define the vision for their practice. In essence their WHY behind their practice. Otherwise, it’s very difficult to get others to follow their lead if they don’t even know who they are and what they stand for. I ask owners to come up with four core words that reflect the core values they want to have in their practice. I have found that four core words are much more powerful and effective than a rambling vision statement.

What four words in order of priority best describe your core values? Would other people be able to recognize those values in you? For example, my four core words in order of priority are: Lifter, Authentic, Happy, and Committed. If you don’t know what yours are stop reading and take some time to reflect. They are important to define and prioritize because they will help guide you and your leadership team in decision making. Defining and living by core values will also help to avoid the distractions of the daily mundane, shiny new things and the noise from other people’s shoulds. Core values give us a strategy and blue print on how to lead and live each day. We become more powerful when we examine every action or attitude before proceeding. Does the action or attitude support or sabotage the core values? We are all response-able. I use the suffix able because we are able to think and choose how we respond. Ask yourself how would the person I want to be respond or react based on the four core values instead of responding based on emotions. I fly almost every week to work with clients. Flying is well…let’s just say it can be very interesting. Asking myself, “How would a lifter respond?” has kept me many times from responding in anger or frustration when life is interesting.

Schedule weekly We Team Meetings to nurture and maintain cohesiveness. Pre-schedule a consistent day and time of the week for the year. They can range in time anywhere from a half hour up to two hours depending on the size of the We Team. We Team Meetings are very important and are not to be sacrificed to accommodate patients or other reasons. If for some reason it is absolutely necessary to reschedule find another time the same week even if it means cutting into patient schedule time. Yes practice owners it is imperative that you attend and participate. Otherwise, the practice culture will not be a culture you designed it will be a culture you accepted or allowed.

A weekly time frame allows the We Team to have real-time discussions, keep everyone in the loop and resolve issues before emotions soar. The practice administrator becomes the designated point of entry for the We Team. All questions, suggestions and concerns (unless immediate concern) are to be brought to the practice administrator. The benefit of having the team go to the practice administrator instead of the doctor will prevent many of the daily disruptions and on the fly decisions. The Practice Administrator will bring the information to the weekly We Team Meeting.   The We Team will discuss, give feedback and come to a decision or solution with final ruling determined by the practice owner. In some cases it may be beneficial to have a team meeting to discuss and get feedback from the entire team before making a final decision.

The practice administrator will schedule a Response Meeting (within 24 hours of the We Team Meeting when possible) with the team member or members. At the Response Meeting the Practice Administrator will share the We Team’s decision or solution with the team member.

Holding a weekly We Team Meeting will maintain a cohesive leadership team that is empowered to cultivate a culture by design versus a culture by default. Everything will begin and end with leadership. Leadership will be prepared for when the buck stops!

Tune is next month to learn the We Team’s discussion and decision process!

December 1, 2017

The Great Divide!

The Great Divide!

Culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one person to the next.

I am a Culture Cultivator. I use the description of cultivator to describe what I do because cultivators are designed to disturb the soil in careful patterns, sparing the crop plants but disrupting the weeds. I have the privilege of helping dental teams nationwide weed out their weeds to create a happier, healthier and higher performing culture.

One of the most common and most toxic weeds I observe is The Great Divide! The Great Divide is the division between the business team and the clinical team commonly referred to as the front and back office. The team sees themselves as adversaries on different sides and stops working together for the greater good of the patients, practice and team. The divide often starts with each side blaming the other side for what went wrong with the schedule and patient flow. They are quick to point the finger at the opposing side and should all over them. You hear; “They should just…! They shouldn’t have done that…! It’s their responsibility or fault!” The blame game runs rampant. Each side is quick to throw the other side under the bus.   The line has been drawn dividing the team into front and back sides!



The first day of my Rise & Shine Culture Camp is Obstacle and Opportunity Assessment Day. I observe the practice culture and speak with the team members. The teams that are most divided are often understaffed and over scheduled (lacking adequate time for procedures). The team is working as fast as they possibly can and still not able to keep up. Chaos, frustration and stress become the norm.

Each side thinks they are working harder than the other side. They are quick to judge and blame the other side when they fall behind and can’t get the help they need.

We can end The Great Divide between team members by resolving the following questions. It starts with awareness. Have a team meeting with the entire team and discuss:

  • The entire journey of a patient through the practice.
  • Who needs to do what and when? Do we have enough people?
  • Are we scheduling the appropriate time for each procedure?
  • What needs to happen (the absolutes) before we can hand the patient off to the next team member?
  • What are the obstacles that get in the way?
  • How can we support each other to overcome the obstacles?
  • Who needs to know what information and when?
  • Who and how can we step in when the wheels do fall off?


Invite the business and clinical team members to observe each other at work for at least several hours. It is easy to judge if we have not walked in the other person’s shoes.

It is vital to understand that the patient experience is dependent on every team member. It doesn’t matter how well we do are job. If the patient has a bad experience with another team member and leaves the practice we have lost the patient. The patients experience and the practice success rely on how well we support one another.

Service and patient care are contingent on consistent team support. In order to be consistent we need to be realistic when it comes to scheduling time and staffing and make necessary adjustments.   If we don’t we will frustrate, disengage and eventually lose even the best of team members.

There is a huge what’s in it for the practice to end the division. The Great Divide not only affects the team it greatly affects service, patient care and the bottom line!

Contact Judy Kay at  today if you want to learn how she can help you build a cohesive team that support each other and the practice, become better leaders, and deliver service with more focus and passion!

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