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November 30, 2018

Shifting WIIFM (What’s in it for me) to WIIFT (What’s in it for them)!

Shifting WIIFM (What’s in it for me) To WIIFT (What’s in it for them)!

Our world seems to have become very focused on WIIFM (what’s in it for me). Imagine the effect if we shifted our focus from WIIFM to WIIFT (What’s in it for them). We may not change the entire world but we could definitely impact where we live and work. What if every decision every person made on your team (both at home and at work) was centered on WIIFT?

Think about what it is like to work with your colleagues, employees and employers. How different would your work place be if everyone focused on what they could give or do for each other?   So, instead of thinking what’s in it for me, or how does it affect me. We think about what’s in it for them. We ask ourselves, what could we do to make their life easier or better at work? How could we help them more? Kindness, respect, trust and accountability would thrive in a WIIFT culture! The effects of focusing on WIIFT would far outweigh a WIIFM focus.

A successful leader never focuses only on WIIFM. When faced with a new policy, procedure, product, or service, they should consider the question, WIIFT? The subtle difference is that the leader is thinking about the best interests of the team and the patients instead of themselves.

As a consumer I have had many bad experiences with WIIFM policies. Just recently, I had an experience where the company changed their policy within a few days after we had spoken and would not honor their prior policy. Their WIIFM response was, “We are so sorry but it is no longer our policy!” If they would have taken the time to explain the why based on benefits for me it would made for a very different experience.

Consider if you focused more on serving your patients based on WIIFT. For example, seating the patient early instead of finishing a cleaning or organizing task. Utilizing a Syrijet to make the injection pain free. Purchasing prophy paste and other products based on taste. Supplying blankets, neck rests etc. for comfort.

What about your home life? How different would your actions be if you focused on WIIFT? What’s one thing you could do that would make the biggest impact for them? Reflect on each family member individually. How would changing your actions affect your relationships? How would the overall atmosphere change? The value of focusing on WIIFT may actually benefit you as much or even more!

 

 

My husband Steve is awesome! One of the awesome things he does is that he makes me special coffee every morning before he does anything else. And no there is no alcohol involved! J It is a pumpkin latte with special cake spice drizzled on top. Steve says he is sprinkling my coffee with love. This one simple consistent act makes me feel very loved and special each day. It is an example of putting another person first…in other words WIIFT. How he makes me feel essentially benefits him as well. The happier I am feeling about him the more I want to do for him. WIIFT actually generates a circle of positive responses and actions!

It is important to always tell the other person what you are doing and the benefits. Whether it is a patient or coworker or family member, if you explain clearly how what you are doing affects them, you are more likely to create value. The better you do this, the more they will understand the benefits. Put yourself in their shoes. Think about the benefits. How is what you are doing a value or benefit to them? Will it make their experience easier or better? How will it make them feel? What are the long term benefits? How will it affect their life?

You can help them understand the benefits by completing a formative phrase:

 

  • The benefits of this is…
  • What this means for you…
  • Why this matters…
  • How this will affect you…

 

Can you envision the amazing culture this kind of thinking would generate?   Everybody would be helping everybody to succeed. It would be a win for all. It is more sustainable when everyone wins. The outcome will be a happier, healthier, higher performing culture! Hmmm…It sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

Well, all it takes is one step. Here it is! Ask everyone on your team (both at home and at work) to dedicate this week, as WIIFT week. There is only one rule. Before anyone takes any actions or makes any decisions, they must first ask themselves what’s in it for them (by them I mean others). Their actions and decisions must always be in keeping with what benefits the other person.

What are you currently doing that you could stop doing? What are you currently not doing that you could start doing or do more of?

Just wait and see the awesome benefits of cultivating a WIIFT culture! Have a meeting with your team or family to discuss the changes and benefits at the end of the WIIFT week. The ironic thing is that when we focus on WIIFT we often end up with as much or more WIIFM results! So maybe WIIFT actually ends up being WIIFU (What’s in it for us)!

November 1, 2018

Be on time! Be on time! Be on time!

Be on time! Be on time! Be on time!

For those practice owners who are always late; you might be frustrated or even upset that that I brought up this topic.

You may think I don’t realize or am unsympathetic that you wear many hats and work really hard and often very long hours after everyone else has left. Or I don’t grasp that you not only are the producer you also have to run the business, be a leader and a cheerleader and balance a home life! So in your mind that justifies the right to come in a little late.

I agree with you that as the practice owner you have every right to come in late! But not without consequences! “While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions!” – Stephen Covey. Truthfully this is one of the most difficult conversations I have to have. I help doctors achieve a happier healthier and higher performing culture even if it means having a difficult conversation with them.

It’s time to be on time.

Be on time first thing in the morning! Doctors who are the practice owners; if you want to disengage your team arrive late to work every day! There is absolutely no reason in the entire world for you to be late every day! Because you own the practice. If you don’t want to be there at 8am start at 8:30, start at 9:00, start whatever time that will work for you to be on time.

I see this happen often. The patient is seated and impatiently wondering what the delay is after all that’s why they chose the first appointment of the morning…so they would not have to wait. The team is prepped and ready to go! There at the starting gate like race horses chomping at the bit. Everything is set to go except there is no doctor. Fifteen minutes later the doctor arrives and says, “OMG the traffic was bad and the kids…!” You know what; the team and the patients have to deal with traffic and kids! The team and the patients think the doctor doesn’t respect them or they would be on time.

Be on time during the day! Doctors, some of you run by the seat of your pants. You want your schedule booked so tight to avoid any downtime. You consistently run over into the next patient’s appointment. You are sacrificing patient care, service and experience for a perceived profit. It is perceived profit because realistically you aren’t being more productive. You still are taking the same amount of time for the appointment but just squeezing more patients in and running over.

Your team is running their heads off and aren’t able to deliver consistent excellent service or care. They have little or no time to handoff the patient and turnover the room. Details are missed, instruments are lost, and documentation and sterilization suffer. It becomes the norm to work far into lunch and run over at the end of the day.

Your patients think you don’t respect them or their time. You are even training your patients to arrive late for their appointments because they know they won’t be seen on time. Some patients may even choose to leave the practice.

The downside of cramming your schedule:

  • Your team will stop trying if there is no possibility of staying on time
  • An unrealistic workload/schedule generates disengaged team members
  • You will lose good team members who are unwilling to underperform or consistently work late
  • You will get a reputation of running behind and running over which will deter attracting and keeping new patients and new team members

The upside of un-cramming your schedule:

  • Patients will receive better care and service and have a better experience resulting in more loyal patients and patient referrals
  • You will attract and retain high performing team members who want to work in a happy and high performing culture
  • The day will flow smoothly increasing job satisfaction and happiness level while decreasing stress and low morale
  • Engaged and optimistic attitudes will radiate
  • You and your team can actually schedule home life

Time to un-cram your schedule. Have a team meeting and together as an entire team discuss and evaluate your appointment times. You will have more solid information if you monitor the schedule for a few weeks prior to your meeting. What treatment do you consistently run over? When do the bottlenecks most often occur? What can and can’t be scheduled alongside in another column? You have a choice of un-cramming your day by extending the day and seeing more patients scheduled appropriately or keeping the same hours and seeing less patients. The more specific you are the more you will empower your business team to schedule appropriately.

Be on time checking your hygiene patients. I understand that the hygiene appointment check can seem like an interruption in your day. However, it is not interruption it is your bread-and-butter! The average dental office obtains 75% of their revenue from treatment diagnosed on their hygiene patients. It is important to also be mindful of how much time you spend chatting about personal topics with the hygiene patient. Having a consistent specific briefing process with your hygienist at the start of the appointment will help you be more time efficient and allow you a little more time for personal conversation. When your hygienist tees up the treatment don’t repeat everything they just stated. Instead respond, “I work with the best hygienists! Sue is absolutely correct that tooth is indeed a candidate for a crown. Because it is a large filling that is breaking down I would suggest we take care of that sometime within the next month. (Know the next available appointments so you don’t create an urgency you can’t fulfill.) Do you have any questions for me regarding the crown?” If they say no, you are done talking about the treatment needed. This will free you up to have a little more personal chat time, less redundant conversation and keep your hygienist on time. Please email me at judykay@practicesolutionsInc.net if you would like to receive the white page for the 60 second doctor/hygiene briefing for a more efficient hygiene exam.

Consider that whenever you are late you are robbing time from those waiting for you. Being on time is the most valuable gift you can give to another person. Be on time! Be on time! Be on time!

August 30, 2018

Achieving Authentic Success! Part 1

Achieving Authentic Success! Part 1

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 3, 2018

The Power of Appreciation!

The Power Appreciation!

Appreciation is a fundamental human need yet is often considered an unnecessary nicety. Niceties like please, thank you, that was awesome, and I appreciate you. After all why should we have to interrupt our busy day to tell someone else we appreciate them? Aren’t they just being needy? Doesn’t that show a lack of confidence on their part if they need constant reinforcement? They should know that they are appreciated without having to have a pat on the back. Wrong! That little pat on the back is so powerful that 64% of Americans leave their job because of lack of it.

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

 

Let’s start with Purpose.

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

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

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

 

Next is Perception!

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

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

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

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

 

Last but not least Positivity!

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

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

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

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

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

  • Be timely
  • Be specific
  • Be brief
  • BE GENUINE

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

 

 

 

 

July 3, 2018

Avoiding Assumptions…How to Ask!

Avoiding Assumptions!

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

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

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

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

Some simple questions to ask are:

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

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

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

June 1, 2018

Rise Above the Pain of Change! Part 2

Rise Above the Pain of Change! Part 2

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

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

  • Review
    • What is it we are currently doing
    •  What is working and what is not
    • Keep what is let go of what is not
    • WIIFTT – What’s in it for the team if we make the chang
    • It is important for the value/benefits to rate an 8 or above on scale of 1 to 10 or it is difficult to sustain
  • Implement
    • What are we going to change
    • Who is going to do it
    • Who are we going to do it for
    • When are we going to do it – including time, sequence and flow
    • Where are we going do it – very specific location
    • Why are we going to do it
      • WIIFTT if we make the change – there must always be something in it for the team for the team to sustain the change
    • How are we going do it
      • Practice verbal skills
      • Practice role playing – yes I know it’s weird but it’s effective
      • Practice the entire physical walk through – never test it out for the first time on a patient
      • Create standard operating procedure
      • Schedule the roll out date
  • Sustain
    • In order to sustain it is important for the new change to become a habit
      • It takes a range of 17 to 257 days to form a habit depending on the difficulty with the average being 66 days
    • Give any new change at least 60 days to get comfortable before considering any changes
    • Be precise and consistent to form a habit much sooner
      • Same sequence and steps for every team member every time
    • Support the change positively in words, actions and attitude
  • Evaluate
    • Is the process still working effectively
    • If not what is the value and benefits in a change
    • Any change takes ongoing tweaking

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

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

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

Team meetings are most effective when you:

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

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

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

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 JudyKay@PracticeSolutionsInc.net  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!

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!

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