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October 1, 2020

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

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

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

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

The first step to fitting in is to focus on building confident trust relationships with each team member.  The dictionary defines trust as instinctive unquestioning belief in and reliance upon something.  The trust I am suggesting is not one of blind faith but instead one of confidence!  Confident trust is based on consistency!   Consistency of good reasons to trust based on significant past evidence and experiences.

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

*             Am I being transparent

*             Am I being consistent

*             Am I being realistic

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

 

Some examples of behaviors that build confident trust are:

 

*             Be transparent by keeping the team in the loop

*             Be consistent with daily tasks

*             If you have a concern talk to the person

*             Help when you see help is needed

*             Ask for help when help is needed

*             Ask don’t assume

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

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

*             Don’t gossip

*             Tell the truth and be compassionate

*             Don’t be late or absent for trivial reasons

 

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

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

 

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

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

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!

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!

October 1, 2019

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

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

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

Some examples of standards:

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

 

Empower

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 13, 2019

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

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

Alignment

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

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

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

Engagement

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

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

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

  • What is it we are currently doing
  • Does it support the doctor(s) Core Standards
  • Is it a WOW?
    • What’s working
    • What’s not
  • WIIFTP&P&T – What’s in it for the patients, practice and team if we make the change
  • It is important for the value/benefits to rate an 8 or above on scale of 1 to 10 or it is difficult to sustain

Implement – SOP – Standard Operating Procedures

  • What are we going to change
    • What area(s) do you want to grow?  Prioritize if you have several areas.  Start with the area that will make the biggest impact.
  • Who is going to do it
  • Who are we going to do it for
  • When are we going to do it – including time, sequence and flow
    • It is important to actually schedule time to fit it in to your day, week, month, and year or it won’t happen.
  • Where are we going do it – very specific location
  • Why are we going to do it
    • This is the most important part to successfully sustain growth.  What is it that will motivate you to continue to do the new behavior when you don’t feel like it or you are pressed for time.
    • It has to be a big enough why (8 to 10) – WIIFTP&P&T if we make the change – there must always be something in it for the team to sustain the change
  • How are we going do it
    • Practice verbal skills
    • Practice role playing – yes I know it’s weird but it’s effective
    • Practice the entire physical walk through – never test it out for the first time on a patient
    • Clearly spell out the attitude, mindset and action steps will you need to take to be able to succeed.
  • Define process
    • Create standard operating procedures and put in a SOP Manual
    • Schedule the roll out date

Sustain – Form Habits

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

Evaluate – Reflect/Diagnose

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

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

July 1, 2019

People Before Profits!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

June 1, 2019

Is Your Practice Out of W.A.C.K.? Get Aligned! Part 2

In Part 1 of “Is Your Practice Out of W.A.C.K.? Get Aligned!” we defined the 3 levels of performers and top 6 stressors that reduce engaged rowers into lazy riders or disrupting resisters. In Part 2 we will illustrate the acronym W.A.C.K. to re-align, re-engage and re-ignite your culture!

W.A.C.K. is an acronym for:

  • We Team
  • ABC Standards
  • Core Values
  • Kudos Culture

The W is for We Team. The We Team is made up of all owner/partner doctor(s) as well as the practice administrator. I suggest We Team’s schedule weekly We Team meetings. The practice administrator becomes the designated point of entry where the team brings all questions, requests or concerns. They are to share the questions, requests or concerns at the We Team Meeting. The We Team discusses and come to a decision or solution. The practice administrator shares the We Team decision or solution with the team member(s).

The A is for ABC Standards. ABC standards are standards for attitude, behavior and communication. Creating ABC Standards together as a team will help align the team and cultivate a service culture that is happier, healthier and higher performing! ABC Standards increase clarity, unity, accountability, consistency, level of service, and your business reputation; while preventing the chafing and disagreements from assumptions and opinions of who is right and wrong.

Have a team meeting with the entire team to discuss ABC Standards for your practice. Ask each team member to share what they feel they need from each other to be able to work together better. I find using a big easel pad with markers to write down the responses helps to generate more participation.   Be specific and define what it means in words, actions, body language and tone of voice.

The C is for Core Values.   Doctors it’s very difficult to get your team aligned if you don’t know who you are and what you stand for.   What 4 words in order of priority describe your core values for your practice? Would other people be able to recognize those values in your practice? For example, my 4 core words in order of priority are: Lifter, Authentic, Happy, and Committed. Doctors if you don’t know what yours are stop reading and take some time to reflect. They are important to know because they will help guide your team in their decision making to align with your goals and objectives. Core values become a blue print on how to live and work together. Every action or attitude is to be examined before proceeding. Does this action or attitude support the core values of the practice?   Which takes us to the fourth fundamental.

The K is for Kudos Culture. A Kudos Culture is showing appreciation to nurture value and purpose. Value and purpose are what reignite people!   It starts with the entire team knowing and be aware of what is good and right in their practice.  We often see what’s negative and wrong with each other.  Instead, focus on what is good and right and verbally reward those behaviors with statements such as “I am proud of you”, “Great job”, “Way to go” or even a simple “thank you”, or “kudos”.  In a very short time, everyone will begin to feel recognized, important, and cared about because they know they are being seen and praised on a daily basis.  I love this kudos stuff because it really works.  It only takes one person to get the ball rolling in the right direction.  The person could be you!  You don’t need permission to start.  Just reward what is good and right such as good moods, good attitudes, uplifting mindsets, even just a smile.  I’m not talking about sappy, disingenuous gushing!  I’m talking about simple, heart-felt appreciation. Show appreciation for other team members’ attitude, actions or behaviors by implementing following steps:

  • Show your appreciation as immediately as possible after the event or action you want to point out and reinforce.
  • Be specific. Avoid general clichés and statements.
  • Mention how the action or behavior was personally helpful or supports the team vision, values, and purpose.
  • Keep it brief. Long, detailed compliments can be uncomfortable and sound fake.
  • BE GENUINE!  This isn’t about being insincere to manipulate others.
  • Ask if there’s anything you can do to provide further support or service to that person or team.

You will be surprised how quickly appreciation fires up the team! Implement the four WA.C.K. Fundamentals in your practice and re-align, re-engage and re-ignite your team!

Email Judy Kay at JudyKay@PracticeSolutionsInc.net to receive your copy of Appreciation & Celebration. Type in Appreciation & Celebration in the subject line.

May 1, 2019

Is Your Practice Out of W.A.C.K.? Get Aligned! Part 1

Imagine what would happen to your practice if your team was happier, more cohesive, and performing at a higher level? Please continue reading, Is Your Practice Out of W.A.C.K.? Get Aligned! Part 1 if I have peaked your interest!

I have the privilege of helping dental teams co-create a happier, healthier and higher performing culture. I have found the key is getting the team aligned with core values and collectively working together to achieve practice objectives.

When I think of getting aligned I can’t help but think of chiropractors. Chiropractors use hands-on spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments to align their patients’ musculoskeletal structure, particularly the spine to enable the body to heal itself without surgery or medication.

Doctors and managers, having you team personally aligned to your core values and working together to achieve your objectives will enable the culture to heal itself from negativity, stress, low morale and poor performance.

The upside of getting aligned creates enormous benefits, not only in terms of implementation, but also in terms of sustainability, teamwork, attitude, accountability, training and performance!

Getting your team aligned starts with understanding and identifying the three levels of performers. The three levels are rowers, riders and resisters!

Rowers are the high performers we strive for the entire team to be! The average team has 30% rowers. These people are engaged, happy and passionate. They love coming to work and can’t wait to tell everyone they meet about their awesome doctor(s), team and office! They are connected, loyal and proud and are your best walking bill board for the practice. They are excited to learn new things and embrace growth. They have big picture-long term focus. Rowers measure their success by the long term success of the patients, practice and team. The goal is to keep them engaged and rowing!

Riders are the biggest group of performers and make up 52% of an average team. They are not engaged but difficult to spot. They do show up every day but lack passion. Their job is just a paycheck. Riders do not take initiative instead they do the bare minimum to get by. Good enough is their motto. You will find Riders distracted with lunch, after work plans and their cell phone. Anything is more interesting than work. The goal is to help Riders rise to Rowers.

Resisters make up 18% of an average team. You know who the resisters are because they demonstrate their unhappiness on a daily basis. They enjoy making others miserable as well. They always have issues with everything and everybody. 80% of management time is spent listening to resisters whine and complain. Resisters fight change and resist growth and are unwilling to help others. You will often here them say things like; “they should be able to do it…I shouldn’t have to help them!” The most negative trait of a resister is they sabotage and undermine their engaged co-workers. The goal is to get them off your bus as soon as possible. Very few resisters ever become even a rider.

So what happened that your practice ended up with riders and resisters on the team? I assume that you didn’t run an ad asking for riders and resisters to apply and then hired them. Most likely you hired rowers who were engaged people that became disengaged over time. So what made them disengage? Stress is the leading cause of the disengagement that converts rowers to riders or resisters!

The top 6 stressors in a dental practice!

  • Lack of training
  • Schedule is a nightmare
  • Working at Mach 10 speed limit
  • Kicking the dog – blaming each other
  • Lack of appreciation and value
  • No foreseeable change

We can reengage our team by removing or reducing the top 6 stressors in our practice. Please email me at JudyKay@PracticeSolutionsInc.net to receive a copy of the Top 6 Stressors. Tune in next month to learn how to re-align, re-engage and re-ignite your culture by implementing the acronym W.A.C.K.!

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)!

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