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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 24, 2020

Covid-19 Resources to Stay Safe and Sane

Covid-19 Resources to Stay Safe and Sane

Emotions are running high and there are many different opinions on the severity and treatment.  Dentists our burdened with decisions regarding patient care, their practice and team.  It is imperative that we not go into panic paralysis.  Instead let’s focus on steps we can take right now.

The lifter in me always looks for a rainbow after the storm.  The good news is that this storm will not go on forever.  We live in a very resourceful country.  There is a national focus (government and private sector) on generating an adequate supply of personal protective equipment, respirators and ventilators.  Our leaders are deploying ships and transitioning buildings to help beef up the health care delivery system.  Scientists are working on medicine to treat and prevent Covid-19 in the future.  Our current status may seem daunting.   However, we will not only survive this pandemic we will thrive and be more equipped to handle any potential future outbreaks.

I am saddened and frustrated and even angry at times.  Maybe you feel those same emotions as well.  Those of you who know me well know that I am not one to stay in the poor me victim mentality.  Instead I prefer to be a creator and act. Therefore, I have spent the last week reading and watching videos to learn as much as I can about Covid-19 to help keep teams and patients sane and safe.

Here are suggestions and resources (ADA, OSAP, CDC and Judy Kay) that you may find helpful in staying safe and sane!

Create a patient flow protocol with your team for when you are back up and running.

  • Consider what will make our patients feel safe, welcome and comfortable?
  • Intake protocol questions to ask
    • Have you traveled outside of the country in the last 14 days?
    • Have you had contact with anyone with confirmed COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
    • Have you had any of these symptoms in the last 14 days?
      • Fever greater than 100
      • Difficulty breathing
      • Cough
    • “Remember Mrs. Jones, if you’ve had the flu or a cold in the last 14 days or you’re not feeling well before your next appointment, please call and we’ll reschedule so you have time to recover.”
    • “If you have flu-like symptoms, or if you’ve been exposed to a sever cough or cold by someone you know, please call to reschedule your appointment to a later date.”
  • Utilize posters, signs & floor decal communication
    • Communicate hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
    • Place a sign at the entrance to your office and strategic locations to let patients know they can reschedule if ill
    • Use personalized floor decals to create social distancing.  Create a unique positive message about your safety on each decal. https://www.stickeryou.com/products/indoor-floor-decals/689
  • Emergency care of patients – if more than one doctor – create mini-teams that work separately in case of exposure.  It will prevent the need to quarantine the entire team.

Engage your patients during your down time – Try to touch base with your patients on a weekly in the following ways.

  • Contact (call yes call on a real phone) all patients that have been affected by the shutdown (canceled appointments).  Reassure them that you will be there in the future to take care of their needs.  Reinforce what you are doing to keep them safe in the future.  Share the protocols and patient flow processes you are implementing.
  • Share the same information in short bite-size pieces on social media and a blog on your website.  Take videos of team members utilizing standard universal precautions as well as new precautions.
  • Send an email and or letter to all your patients sharing this same information

Here is a great example of a letter my client emailed to their patients.

Coronavirus Update‼️‼️

Due to the recommendations from the President and the American Dental Association, we have updated our office hours and protocols to keep our patients and community safe. Read a list of our updates below.

Effective through _______, our office hours will change to _____________ for emergency/essential treatment only. Our goal is to help keep our patients healthy, keep dental patients out of the emergency rooms so that doctors can keep their spaces open for Coronavirus cases, and minimize the potential risk to our patients and staff.

We will continue to communicate to our staff and patients regarding our plan to return to normal business hours. Appointments will be rescheduled until April and May with additional dates/hours being opened based on the need to accommodate our patients in a timely manner once we return to a normal schedule.

Our practice has always followed the strictest protocols regarding infection control in the dental practice. During this time, we have increased our disinfecting protocol for waiting rooms and patient areas. Patients will be asked to utilize a “virtual waiting room” by calling the office upon arrival. They will be taken directly to a room, and our lobby will remain empty to prevent any unnecessary contact.

We have limited staff at this time and will only see one patient at a time to minimize exposure risk. Patients will be screened via phone, and those who are experiencing symptoms will be not be seen. Upon arrival, we will take patients temperature to make sure that those that we see are not experiencing any infection. We have phone lines open to handle your dental concerns until our schedule returns to normal.

 

We will do our best to accommodate you and ensure that you stay healthy and pain free! For dental pain, please contact the office at _______________

We appreciate your patience as we manage this unprecedented time. Our goal is to keep our patients safe and healthy. We are in this together! We look forward to serving you again soon!

 

Engage your team during down time – try to touch base with the entire team on a weekly basis.

  • Have weekly remote meetings (I like Zoom)– to connect and check in as well as discuss new protocols once you are back up and running.
  • Create clear protocols for airborne, droplet and contact precautions for clinical and business area.  What will do in addition to Universal Precautions?
  • Practice verbal skills, role playing and the physical walk-through.

 

We are all in this together.  The more we stand together and support one another the quicker we will rise above this storm.

“What If” Panic!

“What If” Panic!

The Coronavirus has created a state of panic.  The dictionary defines panic as; a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.

We are reaping the results of panic behavior hoarding, which is triggering shortages of disinfectants, food and even toilet paper.  The shelves are bare in many stores.  Some are even limiting shopping hours to allow their team to catch up with the restocking demands.

The more we allow our imagination spin fears of what if, the more panicked we will feel.  We can spin ourselves into a frenzy.  A constant state of panic can spiral us into a depressed mental state.  It is vital for our mental health to change from fear-based thoughts to more positive action-based thoughts.

 

The average person has 60,000 thoughts a day.  Ninety five percent of our thoughts are redundant.  The same thoughts we had yesterday will be the same thoughts we will have today and tomorrow.  Eighty percent will be negative unless we are mindful.  What do you think about now on a day to day basis?  Our doubts, fears and worries can paralyze us.  What we think today, tomorrow and next month will determine our future health.  The stories we tell ourselves become the life we live.

When we have faith in ourselves, we follow our gut instincts that we are born with. We become more powerful when we trust ourselves. Decisions become very clear when we trust our gut instinct.  Ask yourself, what is factual and what is fear?

How many times have you changed your mind about doing something because of saying to yourself, “But what if this happens”? You just “what if’d” yourself right out of action. How many times has the fear of “what if” stopped you? The ironic part is that fear is only a negative prediction of the future. In most cases, what we worry about doesn’t happen. What happened, we didn’t even think about or worry about, and yet we still survived. It’s 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 act.

Whether or not we act is based on our confidence in being able to handle the situation. Instead of worrying, think about an action plan. Having a clear plan will empower you with the confidence needed to act.

Imagine how much happier you would be right this second if the fear of “what if” did not rule your decisions. What would you do differently?

Action Plan – Here are action questions to help you stop the fear from stopping you. I suggest writing your answers down to make your plan of action more concrete

  • What is the worst-case scenario?
  • What is the best-case scenario?
  • What is the most likely thing to happen?
  • What action steps can I take if the worst thing happens?
  • What action steps can I take if the best thing happens?
  • What action steps can I take if the most likely thing happens?

Define measurable daily action steps.  Then breathe and take the next step!

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!

November 1, 2019

The Power of S.P.F.!

The Power of S.P.F.

“Every moment you make a choice of what you want to keep, and what you want to let go of

…and that’s how you write your story!”

~ Judy Kay Mausolf

Here is the biggest secret about staying positive in difficult times.  It does not take superpowers.  It is simply a clear understanding of the power of focus.  “Our focus creates our attitude.”  If we focus on the positive, we will have a positive attitude.  If we focus on the negative, we will have a negative attitude.  Life seems positive when we focus on and our grateful for what is already in our life.  Life seems negative when we focus on what we believe we are missing.  The reality is we can find a reason to be happy and feel good every day.  It is simple but not easy to do.  Focus on what is good and right regardless of how simple, normal or mundane it may seem.  See the value even in the little things.  Don’t take anything for granted for it could be gone in a heartbeat.  Practice giving thanks and praise daily for what is already in your life.

It is human nature to emphasize the negatives and downplay the positives.  We are drawn to the negative!  Just look at the news and the shows that get coverage in the newspaper, magazines and TV!  Drama and negativity draw the biggest following.  There are very few shows that highlight the positive.  Negative is what sells!  The sad truth is it is not in our nature to focus on the positive!

However, we can shift and change by developing S.P.F.!  A Super Positive Focus!  Focus on what is already in your life and your world and appreciate it.  Think of three positive things in your life right now.  It becomes much easier to do this if we embrace these simple facts:

  • Life is uncertain
  • Life is unexpected
  • No one owes us anything
  • Life changes in a moment

Once we embrace these facts, we will learn to appreciate what we have and what is regardless of what has happened and what isn’t.  Regardless of how difficult a situation may get you can always find something positive to focus on.  Even if the only positive is the lesson learned.

I am often asked how I stay happy and positive.  I will share with you that it is not only because I meet nice people.  I meet some of the same people that you meet who are not always so lovely!  It’s also not because my life is perfect or that everything is easy.  I have had many difficult times and things don’t necessarily go my way.  Instead it is a choice I need to make every day!  It’s a mindful choice to focus on finding the good in every moment.

I created two orange power bands as a reminder that we can choose to be positive and happy!  One reads “Smile & Shine” and the other reads “TA-DAH”!  I give out thousands to my clients and audiences every year.  I wear one every day as a reminder and ask others to as well.  They are available on my website at www.PracticeSolutionsInc.net.  Wearing a power band can help us create a positive attitude.  A positive attitude is extremely powerful and wide spreading.  A positive attitude uplifts the mindsets of the giver, the receiver, and everyone in the vicinity.s

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!

August 1, 2019

Life Would Be Better If It Weren’t For…

Have you ever thought, my life would be so much better if it weren’t for…!  You fill in the blank.  Do your thoughts pertain to circumstances or other people? What if I told you that having a better life has little to do with our circumstances or other people?   That it is our mindset that determines our quality of life.

Today I will share 2 of core concepts to help you live a better life.  I created acronyms to make them easier to remember.

The first acronym is B.O.A.T. to help us with those other people!

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 those experiences.  These expectations become our personal truths – how we judge the world by what is right and wrong.  To help you remember it they spell out the word B.O.A.T.  Beliefs, opinions, assumptions, therefore, are truths based on our experiences.

This is so important that I want to share a story to help it cement!  A few years ago when I turned 50…okay maybe a few more than a few.  My husband Steve and I went on this amazing trip to Napa!  50 seemed like a monumental age to me – so I wanted to do something that challenged me to grow.  I thought I am terrified of heights so why not go on a hot air balloon ride?  The morning of the balloon ride we arrive around 6 am outside the town of Napa.  There are 7 or 8 balloons all getting ready to go up at the same time.  There are 17 people in our balloon – the balloonist in the middle and four quadrants of four.  Steve has his arms around me and asks me if I am going to be okay. I said, I’m fine!  He said no really your legs shake on a three foot ladder are you sure you are okay…I said I’m fine…and we women know that means…I am so not fine!

We start to lift off and I am hanging on the edge for dear life thinking I AM SO NOT FINE and this is going to be the longest ride of my life!  We get up about 1000 feet-when I start to notice that the basket actually seems pretty stable.  I notice no one is talking just taking in the scenery.  It is breathtaking!  You can see the entire Napa Valley.  You can see the Golden Gate Bridge and the other balloons off in the distance.  As we floated along I couldn’t help but think – it was so calm, so serene, so Zen like I could meditate.  I was no longer afraid.  We landed and Steve asked if it was that scary enough and I said no now we need to do something else.

The point is the next day that same balloon company went up and this time a big gust of wind pushed a one of the balloons into a power line.  The people were okay…but do you think they would describe their experience as calm, serene, Zen like!  Let’s say we were all together here at the break and sharing our balloon ride experience…I would say it was so safe you could take your kids, and they would say…she’s crazy we almost died.  This is life – so who is right and who is wrong.

Imagine that this room is the universe and holds every potential experience in life.  Even if we are a centurion and have lived a very full life…we have probably only experienced this much (make eye-hole) in comparison to all the potential experiences.  This is Our B.O.A.T.!  The problem is we are making judgments of right and wrong and about other people and our B.O.A.T is very limited.  Concept 1 to remember is the only reason people seem difficult is they disagree with our B.O.A.T.!  Who’s to say our B.O.A.T. is right and maybe we are the difficult person?  Be open to other people’s B.O.A.T.’S!

The second acronym is C.O.W. to help us with circumstances in life!

The average person has 60, 000 thoughts a day…did you know you thought that much?  95% are redundant – which means the thought you had yesterday is the same you had today and the same thought you will think again tomorrow. And 80% are negative unless we are mindful.  The awesome news is we can re-wire our brains to start thinking more positively!

Here is where the cow comes in!  I am going to share a little of my farm background! C.O.W. is an acronym for Cognitive/Optimistic/Wiring to create a new path. Growing up on the farm we had dairy cattle.  Every afternoon the cows would come home from the pasture to be milked.  They walked in line on the same path every day and would slowly wear a deep rut in the pasture.  So deep that we would have to fence it off so we could drive our pickup across.  Initially you would see scattered hoof prints until a new path started to emerge.

Our thought paths are like cow paths in that we get in a rut and follow the same path of thinking.  That is unless we are mindful about creating a new positive path by fencing out negative thoughts.  Initially we will wander and feel uncomfortable until we start to make a new rut/a new path.  The average path/habit takes 66 days.  Concept #2 to remember is -Apply C.O.W. (Cognitive Optimistic Wiring) to rewire to see the positives in our life.

We each have been given the gift to choose our path.  Our life is so much better when we choose to embrace the people and circumstances along the way!

Change our mindset; change our results; change our life!

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