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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!

November 1, 2017

I’m RIGHT! You’re WRONG!

I’m RIGHT! You’re WRONG!

Our success in life depends greatly on how well we communicate in our personal and our professional lives. When we communicate openly, positively, and effectively we inspire connections and build sincere, strong, sustaining relationships. Our ceiling of success then becomes like the old expression, “Sky’s the limit”.

What often gets in the way and sabotages successful communication is our personal beliefs of right and wrong.

Most of our beliefs can be traced back to our early years. I’m the youngest of seven and am blessed with a great family. I grew up on a farm in North Dakota. My past experiences will differ greatly from those who were not raised in the same environment. Our expectations of right and wrong will vary and may even conflict based on our past experiences.

When we interact with others, we are always coming from a place filled 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. To help you remember the concept, see the first letters of each word; it spells out the word B.O.A.T. Beliefs, Opinions, Assumptions, therefore, are Truths based on our experiences.

We all have unique and individual experiences, yet we expect each other to think, act, and respond the same. These are some false expectations that can get us into trouble.

  • Others must behave in the same manner as we do or their behavior is wrong.
  • Another person’s behavior must mean the same as ours if we did that same behavior.
  • We get in a disagreement because others disagree with our opinion (after all we are right)!

These are examples of expectations based on personal truths. Once we understand that our personal truths (how we judge the world by what is 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.

I would like you to try this exercise. Take your right hand and make a little telescope. Now close your left eye and look through your telescope with your right eye. Take a moment and look around the room. Imagine that the small circle area you are looking through is the scope of what you have experienced in life. Everything else outside of that view are experiences you have not encountered.

Our beliefs dictate our right! We may be right based on the current extent of our experiences. However, there is a whole big universe out there filled with experiences we have yet to meet. Right and wrong are really arbitrary. The more knowledge and understanding we have the more we will realize how ambiguous right and wrong become. When we continue to explore we will find there is always more to the story. For example a round versus a flat world.

I used to love listening to Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story. The Rest of the Story was a Monday-through-Friday radio program originally hosted by Paul Harvey. The Rest of the Story consisted of stories presented as little-known or forgotten facts on a variety of subjects with some key element of the story (usually the name of some well-known person) held back until the end. The broadcasts always concluded with a variation on the tag line “And now you know the rest of the story.”

Be open to the more of the story instead of stubbornly attaching to your beliefs. Avoid making assumptions and filling in the gap based on your B.O.A.T.! Ask questions until you uncover and understand the root of the belief. Here are some good questions to ask when you are in disagreement.

  • Where did you learn this belief?
  • Tell me why you believe this to be right?
  • Tell me why you feel so strongly about this?

More importantly, do a little soul searching first to understand your beliefs before you question other’s beliefs. Here are triggering questions to ask yourself to uncover your why.

  • Where did I learn this belief?
  • Is this belief based on truth or illusion?
  • How important is this belief?
  • How this belief affecting me?
  • Do I still need this belief (how relevant is it now)?

Let go of thinking I have to, you must, they should, and it has to be! These are the words we use to judge others. When we think we know more or better than someone else we are setting ourselves up for a clash of beliefs. We become too attached to our own point of view and that others must share it.   Once we become too attached to an idea we lose respect both for ourselves and others. Sometimes a belief can even become more important than the other people. It is the root of extremism and fanatics.

The world is filled with different beliefs. Who says we all have to always agree. More importantly we need to respect each other and work together for the better of all mankind. I love what my big sis Lorraine taught me years ago. It is okay to agree to disagree. We can stick to our right or we can be open to infinite possibilities!

October 2, 2017

Happy Days Part 2!

Happy Days! Part 2

In Happy Days Part I we talked about how we are the sum total of our own thoughts. The level of happiness we feel on a daily basis is a direct result of the thoughts we think! We addressed S.P.F. (Super Positive Focus) Power and Mindful Talk Power methods to feel happier on a daily basis. Here are the two additional methods to help you have happy days!


Act “As If”

We get happier when we feel more confident. You may have heard the saying, “Act as if.” It is a common catchphrase that means to imitate confidence so that as the confidence produces success, and it will generate real confidence. The purpose is to avoid getting stuck in a self-fulfilling prophecy related to one’s fear of not being confident. Walk, talk and carry yourself exactly as you would if you were completely confident in a particular situation. The same works for happiness. It is the Law of Reversibility in action.


The Law of Reversibility states, “If you feel a certain way, you will act in a manner consistent with that feeling. Likewise, if you act in a manner consistent with that feeling, even if you don’t feel it, you will create a feeling that is consistent with your actions.” In other words, how we act is how we begin to feel. The brain executes the same neural pathways in the same way, whether you’re viewing real life situations or imagining them. The mind cannot tell the difference between the real world and an imaginary world. This is one of the greatest breakthroughs in gaining confidence.


Acting “as if” empowers us to do the things that will make us happier and more successful. There is never a better time than the current moment to go after what you want in life. So what do you want to do different with the rest of your life? What will make you happier? I often hear, “I am too old to change or to start over now”. Really? Regardless of how little time it may seem you have left, it is the rest of your life. Is there really ever a time when it is too late to be happy for the rest of your life?


Action steps – Act “As If”

  • In every stage, take time to evaluate your life.
  • What brings you joy and happiness?
  • What would you like to see different?
  • Identify limiting beliefs that hold you back.
  • Live your dream in any capacity you can.
  • Act “as if” and take the first step.
  • Don’t give up the first time something doesn’t work.



Choice Power

We get happier when we choose to be happier. Have you ever thought, “I was in great mood until “___________” happened”? When we allow “___________” (whatever the blank is at the moment) to affect how we feel, we are in essence relinquishing our power and allowing circumstances to control our emotions. If we allow our circumstances to control our emotions, we become a victim of our circumstances.

The truth is that circumstances don’t dictate how we feel – we do! It is always our choice! It is a choice we get to make when we wake up every day! It’s a choice to be happy and positive regardless of what may come our way. We can choose to smile and impact others in a positive manner regardless of their behavior. Even when we believe they don’t deserve it. We have the choice and the power to treat others based on our highest-self core values instead of their actions. This will empower us to be in control of our actions versus relinquish our power to circumstances or other people. When we treat others in a positive manner we feel more positive.


Action Steps – Choice Power

  • Choose your response instead of letting your emotions rule your response
  • Always consider how your highest-self would want to respond
  • Put the filters back on – consider how your words will impact the other person
  • T.H.I.N.K. before you speak
    • T is it True
    • H is it Helpful
    • I is it Inspiring
    • N is it Necessary
    • K is it Kind

Happy days are the results of our thoughts each day! The thoughts we think…become the stories we tell ourselves…become the life we live. We feel how we feel because of what we think. Our doubts, fears and worries can rob us of our happiness. What we choose to think about today, tomorrow, next month, next year will determine our daily level of happiness. Happiness is always our choice!

August 30, 2017

Happy Days Part 1!

Happy Days! Part 1

What do you think about on a day-to-day basis? We are the sum total of our own thoughts. The level of happiness we feel on a daily basis is a direct result of the thoughts we think! When we think happy thoughts we feel happier. Here are the first two of four methods to help you have happy days!


S.P.F. Power (Super Positive Focus)

We can get happier when we change our focus to positive. You can be happy even when life seems difficult. Here is the big secret about staying happy and positive on a daily basis. It does not take any super powers. It is simply a clear understanding of the power of focus.

If you focus on the positive, you will have a positive attitude. If you focus on the negative, you will have a negative attitude. When you hear people say they are in a bad mood, it is because they choose to linger in the negative emotions. The physical part of any emotion only lasts thirty seconds or less. Any emotion after thirty seconds comes from hanging on to the emotion.

Nearly all intended behavior, including attitude, is learned and so depends on the cognitive part of our brain. Our prefrontal cortex allows us to access and implement what we need to produce any attitude or behavior we choose. We can choose not to be negative, angry, hurt, stressed, frustrated, grumpy or whatever. It is always our choice. Instead, focus on finding a reason to be happy and feel good by looking for the upside in every situation.


Action Steps – S.P.F. Power:

  • Whenever you feel stressed and in the fight or flight zone, breathe deeply and count to ten, slowly for thirty seconds.
  • Feel and observe the physical reaction and then let it go.
  • Identify three positives in the situation. Even in the most horrific circumstances there are positives.



Mindful Talk Power

Words and thoughts have their own energy, including self-talk. We get happier when we are mindful of our self-talk. The majority of self-talk takes place so quickly and automatically that we don’t even notice we are doing it. Even if you don’t really listen to your chatter, your subconscious mind is listening. The subconscious mind just accepts everything you tell it, and responds accordingly. The average person has 60,000 thoughts per day with 95% of those thoughts being redundant. The bad part is that 80% of those redundant thoughts are negative.

Some examples of negative self-talk are:

  • Worry – Fear of “what if”
  • Perfectionism – Not good enough or should haves
  • Self-Criticism – Comparing yourself to others, with you being the loser
  • Self-Doubt – Lack of confidence that you can do or achieve your dreams
  • Wallower – You see yourself as a victim of your circumstances and have no control over them,   life happens to you, and you have bad luck.

Action Steps – Positive Mindful Talk

  • Focus on being a creator of your world
  • Avoid comparison distractions
  • Identify and do more of what makes you feel happy
  • Change what doesn’t make you feel happy


Tune in to Happy Days Part 2 to learn about the power of our choices and actions! Practice S.P.F. and Mindful Talk Power and start raising the level of your happiness today!

August 1, 2017

Non-Morning People!

Attention all non-morning people and those who have the pleasure of working with non-morning people! This message is for you!

The minute we step across our office door threshold we are part of creating the culture. What we bring to work affects the happiness and success of the entire team. It is important to be mindful of our attitude, communication and behaviors that we bring into our culture.   That includes even you non-morning people!

Many non-morning team members believe that because they are non-morning person others should just understand their mood.   They believe it is acceptable to turn it off for each other. After all we wouldn’t want to be fake would we? We frequently even turn it off for the people we love the most like our family. Think about this morning’s routine. How did you treat your family? What would you have done differently if they were your patients? I find it thought-provoking that we put filters of kindness and respect on for strangers and acquaintances and don’t for the people we care about and love the most. Something seems a little backward with this behavior. I was curious to uncover the mindset behind a non-morning person’s behavior. Here are few consistent responses I receive when I asked non-morning team members how they treat their coworkers when they first arrive at work.

  • I don’t talk to anyone until I have my coffee
  • I don’t make eye contact or smile at anyone
  • I sometimes give coworkers a stern look and may even grunt at them
  • I just ignore them by walking away
  • I am usually good by 10am. They know I’m not a morning person so if I don’t talk to them or seem a little grumpy they understand.

I have asked non-morning team members if they treat their patients differently in the morning than how they treat their coworkers. The unanimous response I receive is; “Yes of course I do.” The point I make is; this tells me that you can turn it on for your patients even if you are a non-morning person. So if you can turn it on for your patients who may be strangers or are only acquaintances; why wouldn’t you respect your coworkers enough to turn it on for them? After all they are the people you work with day in and day out who have your back.

Did you notice that every response started with I. They were focused on how they feel versus how they made others feel. In most cases the team member had never equated their behavior to a lack of respect towards the other person.

Non-morning people have labeled themselves as non-morning and therefore have deemed their behaviors acceptable or appropriate for a non-morning person. Coworkers, doctors and managers often don’t address the poor behavior instead they excuse and accept it. I regularly hear the excuse they aren’t a morning person so we don’t take it personal. Even when the negative behavior makes them feel uncomfortable. We get what we accept. The bottom line is whether we are morning person or not it is always our choice how we will treat others. We have the ability to think and filter our reaction instead of just reacting on our emotions. Filtering is not fake behavior it is respectful behavior. Time to put back on the respect filter! Light-bulbs go off and mindsets are changed when we shine the light on the respect aspect.

Here is a very simple morning routine that can help you raise the level of positive energy in your morning work routine.

Establish the following morning work routine!

Smile, make eye contact and greet each other with a good morning in the morning. That includes even you doctors and non-morning people who believe you need your coffee first before you become human.

Leave your C.R.A.P. (acronym for criticism, rudeness, assumptions and problems) at the door. Many of the teams I have had the pleasure of working with have created an actual C.R.A.P. container. The science behind it is if we attach something physical to a thought the emotion will seem real. As you walk across the threshold lift your hand and physically drop your C.R.A.P. in the container! Ahhh now don’t you feel a whole lot better? Feel free to pick it up on your way out…or you can just leave it in the container. I am sure your family would be much happier if you didn’t bring it home. Which leads me to another thought.

Time to chase squirrels for a moment. This will make your home life much happier as well. Why spend your evening with your loved ones complaining about how rotten your day was today.   Share three positives about your day with your family instead of highlighting the negatives. Address negative concerns in a solution mode (creator) not a complaint mode (victim). Solution mode empowers you to be a creator whereas complaint mode causes you to be a victim your circumstances.

Never forget that what we bring to work affects the happiness and success of the entire team. It is important to be mindful and respect how we make others feel!

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

Everyone will feel happier resulting in a win for the patients, the practice and the team!

June 30, 2017

Positive Delegation – Positive Results!

Positive Delegation – Positive Results!

We want what we want! Yet we often don’t ask for what we want and get upset when we don’t get it. Instead we stew over it until we reach a level of frustration where we eventually blow up. We can stop this cycle of frustration by asking for what we want. However, asking does not mean just blurting out a demand. Positive delegation is much more effective in getting positive results.

Delegation takes place daily in our office. Synonyms for delegate are: assign, entrust and transfer. Which is not usually what I see happen when I am observing team members delegating to one another. Instead, I often see a lot of telling, ordering and just plain barking commands. The end results are neither positive nor effective. I teach the following positive delegation process.

Positive Delegation Process:

  • Start out clarifying what you would like to be done. Take the time to explain clearly by defining who, what, when, where, why, and how. We get so busy and in a hurry…we want to dump the information and run. It’s what I call a flyby. Avoid flybys! If you don’t have time to delegate clearly wait until you do.
  • Ask the receiver of the task what they already have on their plate. It may be necessary to re-prioritize the task list if timing is an issue.
  • Ask the receiver of the task if they have any questions about how to complete the task. Answer any questions they may have.
  • If it is more than one step the person delegating is to write it down in bullet point objectives.
  • If it is a longer project schedule check in times (no this does not mean you do not trust them…it allows you to assist with feedback if necessary).
  • Discuss and agree on a realistic time or date to complete the task. Setting a date and time clarifies performance expectations. Without a date it is not a goal only a dream.
  • Once the task is complete the receiver of the task is to confirm with the person delegating that the task has been completed with details



Detailed job descriptions are important as they create clarity in training and performance expectations. Have you ever asked someone for help only to hear, “it’s not my job”? That is a huge pet peeve of mine. You can avoid the phrase, “it’s not my job”, by adding the following statement to all job descriptions. Your job from the moment you clock in to the moment you clock out is whatever is Legal, Ethical & within your Licensure to help the practice thrive! I suggest reviewing the phrase whenever you are hiring someone new, performing a performance review, or whenever behavior or attitude deems it necessary.

Creating a priority hierarchy also clarifies delegation of performance expectations on when to do what. I utilize the rocks, pebbles and sand analogy. A rock is anything that is important and urgent (needs to be done that day) or there will be negative consequences for the practice. The biggest rock is always the patient right in front of us. Everyone helps everyone with their rocks (as long as it is legal, ethical and within their licensure) before going on to their own pebbles and sand. Once all rocks are completed the team member may move on to their pebbles.

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

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

Cross training raises the level of delegation of performance expectations by enabling team members to know how to support each other better. I have found having clinical and non-clinical team members observe each other goes a long way in raising job awareness.

Everyone will feel more empowered to support their co-workers resulting in a win for the patients, the practice and the team!

June 1, 2017

Wake Up and Be Awesome! Part 3

Wake Up and Be Awesome! Part 3

June 2017

In Wake Up and Be Awesome Part 1 we talked about how a Perceptive Focus can help us to wake up and be awesome! It is crucial to have a clear understanding of what specific actions and attitudes are necessary to help us achieve awesomeness. The more specific we are, the more precise the focus and the better the results.

Part 2 focused on Optimistic Conviction in order to continually strive to be our best in the face of adversity. Throughout our journey, we will encounter dissuasion from naysayers and discouragement from failures. It is the firm belief that we can succeed that will allow us to become all we are capable of being!

Wake Up and Be Awesome Part 3 will focus on the strength of Passionate Perseverance to keep on keeping on striving to be awesome.

I thank my mom, Ione Miller, every day for imparting her strength of passionate perseverance on me. One of her favorite sayings was, “Come hIn the very early stages of my speaking career, I lost a speaking opportunity with a larger organization. After reviewing my video, they rescinded the contract because they believed I could not hold the audience’s attention. They were accurate with their assessment at the time. I was devastated. As hard as it was to hear, it became clear that I needed coaching and a lot of practice if I wanted to be awesome at speaking. So I worked with speaking coaching and then practiced, practiced and practiced even more. My practice audience was an audience of two. Gus, an orange Persian cat and Zoe an energetic seven pound Yorkie. I videotaped each practice presentation in order to critique myself, as I couldn’t count on more than an occasional meow or bark from Gus and Zoe. The next big meeting I was hired to present at was IACA in San Francisco, in the spring of 2009. I think I practiced that speech over 200 times. I was going to make sure I rocked it! Fast forward to 2017, I now have the privilege and honor of being invited to speak and coach nationally and internationally on a regular basis! No, it’s not easy showing up being who we want to be every day…but it is so worth it!

Passionate Perseverance – The dictionary defines Passion as enthusiasm and desire and Perseverance as steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. It is passion that enables us to inspire others to believe in us enough to help us to achieve our dreams. Perseverance is the determination, grit and endurance we need to keep on striving, even when we are weary from battling the noise to settle for normal.



So, I am going to challenge you to identify and change the limiting beliefs and stories that are stopping you from going after what you want in life, and being who you want to be. The truth is none of us are who we were. We are not even the same person we were yesterday, because we are the accumulation of all our life experiences and they continue to shape, change and help us grow with every breath we take. It’s up to each one of us to decide how we will respond to the events that happen in life.

How exciting that every day – EVERY day, we have the power and the opportunity to wake up and be awesome!


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