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October 1, 2020

How to Thrive as The New Kid on The Block!  Part 1

How to Thrive as The New Kid on The Block!  Part 1

Congratulations your the new kid on the block!  You are a recent dental graduate who just got hired as the new associate to work with Dr Wonderful and her team!  It’s your first glorious day!  You are ready to take on the world and deliver exceptional service and care.  Oh, but wait a minute.  There are these people you now must rely on…called your team!  There was no mention of team relationships.  No one told you in school that you were going to be dependent a team.  You were just planning on focusing on dentistry.  Surprise!  That’s not how it works.  The success of a practice is largely based on how well you work together as a team.  So how do you build happy, healthy, and high performing relationship with an existing team.  Some of who you may have not hired in the first place.

It is important to remember that you are the outsider coming into their world.  It’s like being the new kid on the block.  You must figure out how to fit in with the existing team culture.  Fitting in takes time and patience.  The team is going to check you out because they don’t know you or trust you.  They will be watching your every move to see if you will fit in.

The first step to fitting in is to focus on building confident trust relationships with each team member.  The dictionary defines trust as instinctive unquestioning belief in and reliance upon something.  The 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

*             Am I doing what I said I would do when I said I would do it

 

Some examples of behaviors that build confident trust are:

 

*             Be transparent by keeping the team 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

 

The second step to fitting in is to learn the current systems and processes.  Spend time talking with the doctor and each team member to learn why they do what they do.  For at least the first 90 days immerse yourself in learning their ways instead of making suggestions.  It will give you time to build trust while you learn.  The team is often suspicious of the new doctor.  They are afraid the new doctor is going to want to change everything.  After all you’re the new kid on the block…you should have to fit into their practice.  Many team members may be older than you.  Show them you respect their experience and expertise by being open to their guidance.

Once you start making suggestions remember that the team may like to do things their way.  Even if it may not be the most effective or efficient.  It’s their routine and they can do it on auto pilot.  Which is why your suggestions may be resisted even if it is an improvement.  New changes slow them down and take more focus and effort.  Don’t firehose the team with suggestions or requests.  Start with a simple change that will be easy to do and benefit them greatly.  They will see it as a positive and be more open to the next change.

 

The third step to fitting in is balancing your role as an associate.  You may feel like you are in the middle, torn between the owner doctor(s) and the team.   You are doctor and a leader.  Yet you don’t make the decisions.  Some decisions you may be more aligned with the team than you are the owner doctor.  The team may treat you like one of them and even tell you negative things about the owner doctor.  The owner doctor may complain to you about their team.  It is imperative that you not allow yourself to get stuck in the middle.  Always reinforce what is positive about the other person.  You may not always agree on every decision.  However, it is imperative that you support the owner doctor decisions in attitude and actions, or you will undermine them.  It is easy to judge when you have never walked in someone’s shoes.  It always looks easier when you are observing.  Leading a team and making the right decisions can be very difficult at times.  There are often many paths that can be chosen.

Tune in next month for the 4th and 5th step to thrive as the new kid or for that matter any team member in the practice!

July 1, 2020

The WE Team!

The We Team!

 I refer to the leadership in a practice 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. However, I will be focusing my message on the doctor/practice administrator relationship. It is imperative to develop a cohesive We Team. Without cohesive leadership performance expectations will be ambiguous and the team will conform to the lowest standards or expectations. Before you hire a practice administrator (PA) make sure you are ready to support them. I do not mean just financially. Consider the following questions before starting the hiring process:

·     Can the practice financially afford?

·     Are you ready to let go of some tasks and not micro-manage?

·     Will you take the time to empower someone else co-lead your team and practice

·     Will you support your PA in front of the team (any disagreements need to be behind closed doors away from the team)?

The relationship between the doctor and PA will be confusing without open communication and clear expectations. Many doctors hire a practice administrator without having clear expectations.  They believe the PA can manage without direction. The only guidance given to the PA is to let them know when they are doing things wrong. This lack of leadership sets the PA up to fail as it is confusing for them and the team. I receive a plethora of different answers when I ask doctors and team members what they think is the role of a PA. The role varies greatly from practice to practice.

Doctors make a list of the tasks you would like your PA to do before you start the hiring process. This will enable you to write and ad that clearly defines the role. Or if you already have a PA and have not defined their role do it now. You can also use this list to discuss strengths and future expectations.

Clearly define your goals and expectations. I would suggest creating a task management list that include the following. For a more detailed list email me at judykay@practicesolutionsinc.net.

·     Personnel/team management

·     Overseeing patient management

·     Practice management/productivity/promotion

·     Property/facility management

·     Any additional duties

Doctors and PA’s before agreeing to work together discuss the following:

·     How well do your core values match?

·     How aligned are your passion and purpose?

·     How well does the PA’s strengths match the expectations of tasks and responsibilities?

·     Do you both understand and agree on the role?

·     Does the PA really want the role, and have the capacity to excel in the role?

 

I am blessed to have worked with hundreds of dental teams nationwide to help them build a happier, healthier, and higher performing culture with my Culture Camps. Here is a link to my Rise & Shine Culture Camps (https://www.practicesolutionsinc.net/culture-camp.html) The best results are dependent on having an aligned and cohesive We Team.

Start by clarifying your roles as a We Team.

Doctor’s Role:

The doctor’s role is to create a clear vision for the practice. Choose four core words that reflect the core values you want to have in your practice. They are important to define what they mean to you and prioritize. These core value words will help guide you and your PA in decision making. I have found that four core words are much more powerful and effective than a rambling vision statement. Email me at judykay@practicesolutionsinc.net if you would like my Core Values sample list.

PA’s cannot meet your management expectations without ongoing communication. Every doctor and every office are unique. How could the PA possibly know what you want them to do? Schedule adequate time to meet with your PA on a weekly basis. This will allow and opportunity for the doctor and PA to:

·     Focus on the big picture and long-term goals

·     Share thoughts and ideas

·     Discuss and problem solve

·     Review practice statistics and adjust goals

·     Share patients and team kudos and growth opportunities

·     Define marketing opportunities

·     Discuss current projects and timelines

·     Give feedback on PA’s performance

·     Support your PA when confronted by a team member

 

PA’s Role

The PA’s role is to support the vision of the doctor in words, actions, and attitude. Support by inspiring, engaging, and empowering the team to implement the doctor’s vision. Which is why it will be imperative for the We Team to meet on a weekly basis to get and stay aligned.

A PA’s role includes the following:

·     Sharing new ideas with the doctor

·     Monitoring practice statistics

·     Introducing new ideas to the team in a team meeting setting

·     Utilizing a process/system to implement the new ideas

·     Creating accountability processes

·     Resolving issues

·     Communicating with the entire team individually and as a group to keep everyone in the loop and aligned

·     Creative problem-solving schedule obstacles

PA’s capitalize on your first 90 days by meeting with each team member individually to build relationships. Review current systems and processes and ask for feedback from the team on what is working well and any obstacles. Implement new ideas that are a positive for the team and easily achievable. This will help your team view change more positively. Take time to communicate with the team daily to keep everyone aligned and in the loop. At least 30% of your time to be spent working with team members. Be transparent and follow through with what you said you would do to build high trust relationships. Schedule time for social outings to have some fun together which will go a long way in building good will for stressful times. Share your knowledge and expertise and provide resources to empower your team to succeed!

The We Team relationships that soar are those that consistently take time communicate what they need from each other to successfully co-lead.

 

June 1, 2020

The Human Side of Dentistry

I am blessed to have the privilege of working in the dental industry since the early 1980’s!  Working in the dental industry for many can become just a job!  We must never, even for a moment, disregard that we are human beings caring for the health of other human beings.  It is not just about fixing teeth.  There are humans attached to those teeth!  It is important that we focus on the human side of dentistry and become advocates for our patients’ health.

I would love to see every medical and dental team instilled with an advocate mindset.  However, many of us have experienced a caregiver objectifying a patient by treating them like an object than a human being.  For example, they make decisions for the patient instead of educating and asking questions to understand what matters to them.  They have conversations about them in front of them and act as if they aren’t present.

I had a not so human experience during a recent visit to a radiology department.  It started out great with the x-ray techs introducing themselves as they ushered me into the room and explaining the process.  However, all manners and niceties stopped when the doctor who was going to be taking the x-rays entered the room.  He did not slow down enough to take a moment to introduce himself or ask me if I had any questions before he started.  He proceeded to rapid fire commands at me and then walked out of the room without further discussion.  There was no compassion or connection.  I felt objectified.  As if I were just a task that he was in a hurry to complete.  I understand that this may be a daily routine for him, but it was not for me.

It is vital that we remember when we are caring for our dental patients that they are more than just a task to complete to get on to the next one so we can finish our day.  We are dealing with their health.  What may be routine for us may seem scary or concerning to them.  It is essential that we recognize the human side of what we do.  It is our responsibility to take time to develop meaningful relationships with our patients, which allow will allow us to provide better and more comprehensive care.  When we do this, we become an advocate for our patients’ dental health.

Here are five essentials to help you become your patients’ advocate.

 

  1. Be happy to serve. Do you seem happy to the people you serve, both team and patients?  Think about it for a moment.  Would your patients and team describe you as happy?  Do you greet others warmly with a smile?  Are you happy to come to work and grateful for what you get to do?  Do you focus on the positive and celebrate daily?

 

  1. Get to know the human attached to the teeth. Ask questions to get to know more about what’s important to your patient.  What has been their past experience?  What are their goals and desires for their dental health?  What are their concerns about treatment and what matters to them?

 

  1. Educate your patient by having a conversation not giving a presentation. That means asking and answering questions as you go along to avoid assumptions.  Stop the data dumping and present information in bite size pieces.  Avoid industry slang and communicate on their level.  Verify time, sequence, cost and compliance (what they need to do to support).

 

  1. Focus on the WIIFTP (What’s in it for the patient). Show up 100% by being present in the moment.  Always contemplate what would make your patient feel more welcome, more comfortable in the moment and help build a stronger relationship?  Keep your patients in the loop by informing them what you are doing and why.  It’s what we say or don’t say that creates the patient’s perception.  We lose value when we don’t let our patients know what we are doing.  If we don’t say it to the patient it doesn’t exist.  For example, when you do an oral cancer exam explain to your patient what you are doing and the reasons why.  Even for those patients you have seen for many years.  Inform them every time.  The why must always be a value statement highlighting the benefit for the patient not the practice or the team.

 

  1. Address complications as soon as possible. Come from a real place of care, concern and curiosity versus judgment and criticism.  Always consider what it might feel like if it happened to you.  How would you treat them if they were a family member?  Let me clarify, a family member you like!  LOL!  Start out by asking, “How may I help you?”  Then be present, listen and hear what they are saying.  Share with them how you can help them by saying, “I can help you and this is how.”

When we focus on being advocates for our patients, we will develop more meaningful relationships that will enable us to provide better and more comprehensive care to our patients.  A win for the patient, practice and team!

May 1, 2020

Communication to Stay Safe & Sane

Whew!  What a year 2020 has been so far!  I don’t know about you, but I feel like the rug was pulled out from under my feet.  All my hard work and carefully laid plans disintegrated when the Covid-19 storm hit.  My emotions were like a roller coaster ride ranging from anger and frustration to fear, confusion and sadness.  That’s just to name a few.   Normally I maintain a very positive equilibrium and I was definitely off kilter.  I knew I had to get a handle on the negative emotions to get back on track.  Otherwise, the negative would crowd out my optimistic outlook.

After some reflection, I realized I needed to search out the positive in the current situation; and let go of the negative that I could not control.  I focused on the positive upside of more “time.  I now had time to:

  • Spend with my husband and dog
  • Call and zoom with family and friends
  • Social distance with neighbors
  • Complete projects around the house including organizing and cleaning
  • Work in my yard
  • Take more walks
  • Work out more
  • create newsletters, articles, webinars and presentations
  • Volunteer complimentary help to my clients

I stopped focusing on the downside and things I couldn’t control such as:

  • Uncertain future
  • Loss business and income
  • Limited interaction with others
  • Restricted travel

I am sure I am not the only person struggling with trying to stay positive.  There will be a wide range of emotions when we go back to work.  The wheels are going to fall off if we pretend nothing happened and we just bury ourselves working to catch up.  It will be critical to schedule time to communicate daily as a team.  This includes the doctor(s).  A huddle, first thing in the morning creates the perfect opportunity to check in with each other.

Have the entire team share their emotions.  How are they feeling in the moment and why?  Do they have feelings of fear, anger, judgment, sadness or hurt feelings etc.?   What does the team need from each other to feel safe and work together better?  What can they do to help each other more?  It is important for the team to be sensitive to each other’s needs.  We tend to think others have the same feelings and needs.  Avoid judging and criticizing if someone is more emotional and needs more reassurance to feel safe and comfortable.  There is not a right or wrong way to feel.  Feelings are feelings!

Trying to stuff our emotions and pretend we are all okay will lead to meltdowns.  If we don’t discuss our emotions, we will eventually burst, and everything will come spewing out.  When we reach that level, we are often no longer coming from a place of care or concern, but instead a place of anger.  When we act out in judgment, criticism, anger or negativity we can expect a like response.  This is what I refer to as an emotional reaction cycle.

We can avoid emotional reactions by taking time to start our day with a team huddle.  Initially we may need to extend our normal huddle time to accommodate discussing our teams needs and emotions in addition to our patients.

Be mindful of tone and body language when asking questions.  The questions I suggest are:

  • How are you feeling about being here today?
  • Tell me why you feel this way?
  • What leads you to believe…?
  • Tell me more about…?
  • Help me understand why…?

These questions work great at home as well.

Do a recap of the prior day to discuss and fine tune systems and processes.  This will help build clarity and confidence among the team.  What worked and what didn’t?  Define action steps to overcome obstacles.  Avoid the blame game.  We are all in this together and the more we help each other the better off we will all be.  Practice verbal skills, role playing and the physical walk through to be proficient when interacting with patients.  This will help the team feel confident which will ensure the patients feel confident and safe under their care.

Together we will rise up!

March 1, 2020

False Assumptions!

False assumptions run rampant and are often negative.  Mary leaves at the end of the day without saying goodbye!  I know what that meant!  She must be upset!  How do I know?  Because I would never leave without saying goodbye – unless I was upset!

What happened here?  I judged her behavior and assigned meaning based on what it would mean if I exhibited that same behavior.  Maybe, just maybe, Mary had an important appointment she was in a hurry to get to…or maybe she had a hot date!

Consider these other familiar interactions:

A co-worker with whom you normally have lunch doesn’t make room for you to sit with them.  Do you assume something must be wrong?  In their reality, they likely assume that you would have asked them to make room or would have made room for yourself if you wanted to join them.

A co-worker asks you to do something in a different way.  You’ve tried it that way before and it didn’t work.  Do you refuse?

You have an encounter with a brother, sister, parent, child or spouse where there is a disagreement because of a difference of opinion.  Of course, you believe you are right, and they are wrong!

We have surely all experienced scenarios like these!  They are all examples of false assumptions based on our personal truths.

False assumptions based on our personal truths are the number one breakdown in communication.  When we interact with others, we are always coming from a place that is dominated with our own experiences.  Our expectations differ because of our unique and individual beliefs, opinions, and assumptions based on our experiences.  These expectations become our personal truths upon which we base judgments of right and wrong.  (Think B.O.A.T. – Beliefs, Opinions, Assumptions become our truths.

We all have unique and individual experiences, yet we expect each other to think, act and respond in the same way that we would.  These false assumptions get us into trouble when we think others must behave in the same manner as we do, or their behavior is wrong.  We think others must believe what we believe, or they are wrong.  Once we understand that our personal truths, how we judge the world and what we believe to be right and wrong, are based on the unique and individual experiences we have, we can no longer believe that our answer is the only right answer.

It is important to understand and respect other personal truths to communicate effectively.  Here is a three-letter word that will resolve 90% of your communication problems.  ASK!  When you get that twinge in your gut and you think… “Hmmm…I wonder what they meant by that?”  or you find yourself saying “I think they meant this” – you don’t know!  Stop yourself immediately from wondering and speculating and ASK!  You will be surprised how many of your initial beliefs, opinions and assumptions are incorrect once you hear their intent.

Once you ask, listen to them with an open mind.  Let them share why they feel the way they do or did something a certain way.  We must stop judging with a mindset of right or wrong.  Some things may seem 100% right to me and to you they may seem 100% wrong.  Who’s right? The reality is that in many cases there is no right or wrong.  Our judgment is based on our past experiences.  If something I experienced in my past was positive, I will believe it will be positive again.  Another person may have had the same experience, but it was negative.  They will assume it will be negative again.  Therefore, if we both described the same situation, it would differ greatly.

Let me give another example.  I went on a hot air balloon ride in Napa Valley when I turned 50.  It was a gorgeous day and I did not want it to end.  I look forward to going again someday.  Another friend of mine went on a hot air balloon ride, the weather was terrible, and the flying was scary.  She has no desire to ever go on another hot air balloon ride again.  I think balloon rides are awesome, she thinks they are awful.  Who is right and who is wrong?  See what I mean?

In your office, one team member may have had good experience doing something a certain way while another did not.   It is important for them to come to an agreement to create a consistent process, system or protocol.  They can start by sharing their personal truths about the experience.  They must listen openly to each other and agree on an answer or solution that works for both.  To come to an agreement, we need to understand it will never be perfect for anyone but can be good or effective for everyone.  If we want our version of perfection, we will have to work alone!

It is important that we as individuals make a personal commitment to be open, respectful and understanding of each other’s personal truths.  This is what enables us to communicate and interact effectively with others.  Our success depends greatly on how well we communicate in our personal and professional lives.  When we communicate openly, positively, and effectively we inspire connections and build sincere, strong, sustaining relationships.  Our ceiling for success is instantly raised and the sky’s the Limit.

January 1, 2020

New Year! New Attitude! New Life!

I love January and the start of a fresh new year!  A year of positive possibilities and opportunities!  You might want to check your attitude if you aren’t happy with your current status.  Your lifestyle reflects your attitude.  What is your attitude about life?  Do you just get up, go to work, come home and go to bed?  Or are you looking for something more out of life?  Change your attitude change your life!  Just as you can’t plant squash and expect to harvest carrots, you can’t have a negative attitude and expect a positive outcome.

One of the best ways to change your lifestyle is to change your attitude in how you start your day. How do you think and feel when you first wake up in the morning?  Your thoughts set the tone for the day.  If your first thoughts in the morning are: “Oh, I’m so tired. It’s too early to get up.  My eyes won’t even open.  I’ll just hit snooze and lay here . . . just fifteen minutes . . . just fifteen more minutes,” you’re off to a slow… negative start.

Instead, change your story.  When the alarm goes off immediately jump out of bed.  Tell yourself and anyone listening, I am going to make it an awesome day.  I am ready for whatever comes my way today.  Your brain believes what it hears.  Look for things to celebrate in the moment.  Focus on what is good or positive.

It’s time to step across the threshold into your office.  Be mindful of your attitude as you enter.  Stop at the door and give yourself a pep talk if necessary.  Whatever attitude you bring to work affects the culture and the entire team.  Smile and warmly greet your coworkers.   These are the people who have your back!  Treat them with kindness and respect.  Just because you can get by with unfiltered behavior doesn’t mean it’s okay.  The better you treat others the better you will feel!

Happily, help others throughout the day.  It doesn’t matter how well you do your job if you don’t support your team when needed.  Everyone loses if a patient leaves the practice because of a bad experience.   It’s not for us judge whether a coworker is worthy of receiving our assistance.  For example, being unwilling to help because we think the other person doesn’t work as hard or as fast as we do.  Our job is to do whatever it takes as long as it is legal, ethical and within our licensure…from the moment we check in to the moment we check out.  Even if it means helping others that we may not necessarily like.  We are to treat people based on who we want to be as a team instead of judging whether they are deserving.

We must never forget that it is a privilege and an honor to be able to work in the dental industry.  Don’t get lost in the muck of the mundane of daily tasks.  Instead focus on the opportunity to change peoples’ lives.   We help create beautiful smiles.  A smile is the number one connector in any language!  Our patients become more confident when they have a beautiful smile.  We help people chew food which enables them to maintain better health.

Check in with each other at the end of the workday.  Does anyone need help before you leave?  A fond farewell is just as important as warm greeting in the morning.  A warm greeting and appreciative farewell are great bookends to help make it an awesome day!

When we mindfully choose a positive attitude, we create a positive path of thinking.  Our positive thoughts today create a positive reality tomorrow.  We do create our own lifestyle!

December 2, 2019

It’s Time to Celebrate!

December is the perfect time to remember to celebrate our gifts.  I am not referring to the gifts under the tree.  It’s time to celebrate all the things already in our life.  The more we celebrate the more joy we will feel.  We truly get happier when we celebrate life every day. There is a power in celebration. Celebration lifts our spirits and empowers us to instantly feel happier.  Celebrate even in the little things in life instead of taking them for granted.

Our health is a big gift!  Many of us go through each day without even thinking about our health let alone feeling grateful.  We focus on and complain about the little aches and pains.  It isn’t until we really get sick or injured that we truly appreciate our health.  The moment you wake in the morning give thanks and praise that you woke up.  Live each day celebrating the gifts of health and life!

Our work is a gift that gives us purpose.  Instead of seeing it as a gift, we may get lost in the muck of the mundane.  Work becomes something to survive until the weekend.  It isn’t until the normal days and simple activities are taken away, that we change our outlook.  Celebrate the blessings in your work every day!

Our family and friends and colleagues (including the furry ones) are gifts that are often taken for granted.  We act as if they will always be with us.  We take the filters off and treat them disrespectful or unkind.  Don’t miss a moment to show your people and pets how much you love them and appreciate them.  Celebrate the gift of them being in your life!

We have been given so many gifts.  What would you miss if it was no longer?  Whatever it is, stop and take a moment to give thanks and praise.  Whatever you would miss is a gift.  Get in the habit of celebrating all the gifts in your life.  Making a list of our gifts is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season. Take a moment to start and end your day celebrating what you are grateful for each day.

 “Everything is here until it’s not… celebrate every second!” ~ Judy Kay Mausolf

Let’s take a moment and practice celebrating by doing a TA-DAH together! On the count of three, I want you to smile, throw your arms into the air and shout with passion in your loudest voice… “TA-DAH!”

October 1, 2019

Your Team Is Your Greatest Asset… When You Invest in Them! Part 2

In Part 1 we covered how YOU can get your team aligned and engaged to become your greatest asset.  In Part 2 we will cover how to empower them so THEY can become your greatest asset!

Have team meetings and discuss with your team the core values of the practice.  Together define what it means in words in actions.  Make agreements as a team that support the core values on how you will communicate, work together to serve each other and the patients.  Establish as your number one standard that the team treat each other as well or better than how they treat their patients.  It is vital that you do not set double standards for how the team treats each other versus how they treat the patients.  Print the standards and store them in a binder accessible to the team.  Keep them alive by reviewing them at huddles, team meetings or when hire someone new or when someone’s behavior deems it necessary.  Everyone helps everyone support the standards by holding each other accountable once the agreements are in place.

Some examples of standards:

  • Greet and smile at each other in the morning
  • Ask for help
  • Ask don’t assume
  • Offer help
  • Say please and thank you
  • Don’t gossip
  • Be kind

 

Empower

Empowerment happens with clear training and implementation processes.  We need to let go of perfection and instead strive for excellence.  Proficiency comes after mistakes and leads to excellence.    “Unless we try to do something beyond what we have already mastered, we will never become what we might have become!”

  • Set high standards not impossible standards
  • Learn from mistakes and move on
  • Share what will be done differently

Have a clear and consistent training process.  Which means the team does tasks the same way.  So often times I see team members choosing how they will complete a task based on what they think is right.  Or because it’s how it has always been done.  Or it’s just someone’s opinion…usually the most vocal team member.  Often times there hasn’t been a formal team meeting discussion defining and agreeing on how the system or process will be done.  Utilize the R.I.S.E. Process to successfully implement new ideas and create clear and consistent systems and processes.

Set realistic weekly training goals for you and your new employees to measure their progress.  Base training expectations on the average time it took for an employee to learn instead of the quickest time.  It will help lessen new employees feeling overwhelmed and allow them and the team to measure their progress.  Have a constructive conversation weekly with the new team member discussing goals, expectations and accomplishments instead of criticizing what they are doing wrong.  Catch them doing things right and highlight them at a minimum of 3 positives to every 1 growth opportunity.  Exceptional relationships are built on a 5 to 1 ratio.

Our life, the people in our life and our circumstances continue to change.  Therefore, it is necessary to continue to invest in learning and training to continue to grow.  Where are you in your growth process?  What is working what has changed?  What investment would make the biggest impact in your team being your greatest asset?  Your team will be your greatest asset when you invest in them.

Email Judy Kay at JudyKay@PracticeSolutionsInc.net to learn more!

September 13, 2019

Your Team Is Your Greatest Asset… When You Invest in Them! Part 1

Your team is your greatest asset…when you invest in them!  I find it interesting that little time and money is spent on investing in growing the team in comparison to doctors learning new clinical skills!  When in truth the team can be the greatest asset and advantage in determining the level of success in the dental practice.

Alignment

Let’s start by aligning the team!  The more aligned the team is the more consistent the care and service.  The owner doctor(s) start by creating clear core values for their practice.  Take time to come up with your why…what four core words in order of priority would you choose?  This will help create clarity and unite the leadership team (doctors/managers/team leads).  Utilize a consistent decision-making strategy to avoid fly by’s which includes considering the following:

  • What’s in the best interests of the patients, practice and team, not any one individual (including doctor)?
  • What is practical and realistic based on current resources of people, time and money?
  • What is the precedent being set?
  • What is the value of implementing? Necessary to have a value of 8 or above on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being high.
  • Will it support the 4 core values?

It is necessary that the leadership team’s message is consistent from all leadership team members.  Otherwise it creates confusion and divides the team.

Engagement

The engagement part happens when you include your team in the discussions and decision making.  When your team feels like their ideas are heard and considered they feel valued and respected.  They become a creator versus a victim of their circumstances.  Creators focus on what is positive, identify and change what isn’t and own their results.  Whereas victims complain, criticize, blame, gossip and compare.

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 – WIIFTP&P&T (What’s In It For The Patient, Practice & Team)

  • What is it we are currently doing
  • Does it support the doctor(s) Core Standards
  • Is it a WOW?
    • What’s working
    • What’s not
  • WIIFTP&P&T – What’s in it for the patients, practice and team if we make the change
  • 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 – SOP – Standard Operating Procedures

  • What are we going to change
    • What area(s) do you want to grow?  Prioritize if you have several areas.  Start with the area that will make the biggest impact.
  • 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
    • It is important to actually schedule time to fit it in to your day, week, month, and year or it won’t happen.
  • Where are we going do it – very specific location
  • Why are we going to do it
    • This is the most important part to successfully sustain growth.  What is it that will motivate you to continue to do the new behavior when you don’t feel like it or you are pressed for time.
    • It has to be a big enough why (8 to 10) – WIIFTP&P&T if we make the change – there must always be something in it 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
    • Clearly spell out the attitude, mindset and action steps will you need to take to be able to succeed.
  • Define process
    • Create standard operating procedures and put in a SOP Manual
    • Schedule the roll out date

Sustain – Form Habits

  • In order to sustain a new change it is important for the new change to become a habit
  • Be precise and consistent and realistic to make the change become a habit much sooner
    • Same sequence and steps for every team member every time
      • 5 out of 5 times
  • It takes a range of anywhere between 18-254 days  to form a habit depending on the difficulty with the average being 66 days
    • Until it becomes a habit it will feel awkward and uncomfortable
    • Give any new change at least 60 days to get comfortable before considering any changes
  • Support the change positively in words, actions and attitude

Evaluate – Reflect/Diagnose

  • What are the results
    • Were we able to implement
    • If not, why not
    • Is the process still working effectively
    • If not, what is the value and benefits in a change
    • What part is still working what needs to change

Investing time and energy in getting your team aligned and engaged are the first steps in making your team your greatest asset! Tune in next month to learn how to empower them to be your greatest asset!

July 1, 2019

People Before Profits!

This message is focused on the management style of great managers! The reference to managers includes dentists as they may either manage or support the manager.  What I find at the core of all great managers is the viewpoint of putting people before profits. It’s often a huge change in mindset for many to shift the focus from profits to people. The ironic result is that the profits are much greater when we focus on people not profit. Great managers do the following to exemplify the principle, “People before Profits”. 

Clarify core values and eat, breathe and sleep them. In other words live them by example modeling the waddle. I suggest limiting core values to no more than four or it becomes confusing for the team. Please email me at JudyKay@PracticeSolutionsInc.net if you would like to receive a sample of core value words. 

Hire and keep people based on character as well as skills sets. Never sacrifice character for skill sets. Toxic Performers (people who are highly skilled and toxic to their co-workers) are not welcome to become or stay as part of the team regardless of their level of skill and longevity. 

Develop a training program with defined weekly growth expectations. Conduct weekly growth reviews with the new team member for the first 90 days. The growth review is a discussion of accomplishments, obstacles and opportunities an how to help the new team member to succeed. The focus is on catching people doing things right and showing recognition versus catching people doing things wrong and criticizing.  

Establish a schedule that is a realistic pace centered on patient care and service and not just the bottom line. It is essential to provide consistent exceptional service and care to patients and move at a speed which the team can be accurate, detailed and complete without running into the next appointment.    

Don’t kick the dog. In other words point the finger and look who can be blamed when the wheels fall off. Which they most certainly will some days! Instead co-create as a team…what can be done next time to keep the wheels on! The question to ask is, “So this happened so now what could we do?”  

Communicate using positive constructive conversations that build others up instead of criticizing and tearing down. A good conversation starts with showing appreciation for 3 positives per one growth opportunity. A great conversation includes 5 positives per every growth opportunity. People have a tendency to highlight what they don’t like and take for granted what they do. What is amazing is once the focus becomes seeing the positive the negative often seems very small in comparison. People lean in and try harder when they feel good about their accomplishments. People shut down and stop trying when they feel bad.  

Include the entire team in the decision making process. People want to know that their ideas are heard, understood and at least considered. Thoughts and opinions must matter to management in order cultivate creators versus victims. A huddle or team meeting setting where most can attend is the perfect setting. Before implementing any change always get feedback from the entire team. Discuss potential obstacles and the opportunities to overcome.  The bottom line is valuing people over profits will boost the practice culture, patient experience and the bottom line! A triple win!

Please email me at JudyKay@PracticeSolutionsinc.net and put R.I.S.E in the subject line if you would like to receive my R.I.S.E. Implementation Process white page.  

 

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