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February 1, 2023

5 Minute Positive & Productive Morning Huddle!

5 Minute Positive & Productive Morning Huddle!
Daily huddles are the best way to keep everyone on the team informed on the goals for the day and make the day flow more smoothly! It is important that they are both positive and productive to reap the best results. Time is often a deterrent. However, every practice can fit in a 5-minute morning huddle! Here are 5 steps to a positive and productive 5-minute morning huddle.
Morning huddles must be kept a priority! Nothing else not even patients can take precedence over them. Otherwise, there will always be a reason why it was canceled. Can you imagine a professional sport’s team not having practice? Morning huddles allow the team time triage and align on a game plan for the day. Which is why it is imperative that every team member scheduled including the doctors attend and be on time!
1. Have a positive huddle! Start out the huddle with something positive for example a positive quote, a prayer, kudos (highlight) from yesterday or a positive survey result! I post a daily quote on my Company Facebook Page (judykay.mausolf) for dental team huddles. A positive start sets the tone and leads to a positive huddle and day!
2. Give a heads-up of any changes in staffing for the day. Who is working and when. It’s all hands-on deck. Who can step up to help cover the shortage. Consider team members in all departments. Cross training enables business and clinical team members to assist each other.
3. Define obstacles and rocks for the day! The obstacles that may impede flow. As well as any rocks (tasks that need to be done that day or there will be negative consequences to the team, patients, or practice) that need to be completed that day. List and prioritize rocks. An example of a rock might be a lab case that needs to go out that day or ordering specific supplies if the practice will run out, or filling openings in the schedule for that day. Everyone at the huddle is expected to take part in sharing any pertinent information that may affect the flow of the day. Divide the tasks amongst the team. The goal is to maintain the schedule if possible. Otherwise, find a convenient time for the patients to reschedule. It may take some creativity including lengthening a day or adding a hygiene day.
4. Identify where to schedule same day emergency patients. We want to empower our business team to be able to schedule emergency patients proficiently. Identify two emergency times for the day. I have found it works best when the clinical team chooses a time in the morning and in afternoon to schedule emergency patients. Pick a time that is later in the morning and later in the afternoon to be able to accommodate the late caller.
5. End your huddle on a high note! A positive huddle close helps set the tone for the day! It’s so important that we start our day on a positive note. It could be something as simple as a high fiving each other and saying, “let’s make today a great day”!  Alternate who ends the huddle between all team members. Be creative and fun!  Bookend your huddles with something positive! The possibilities are endless!
 Implementing the 5-step 5-minute huddle will improve communication, team cohesiveness and patient care!

December 1, 2022

Me Destroys We!

I have the privilege of working with dental teams nationwide through my teambuilding Culture Camps!  They are customized to meet the unique and specific needs of the practice and vary greatly in each office.  However, every Culture Camp starts with a meeting on the first night with the leadership team.  I start with them because everything begins and ends with their leadership.  It’s what leaders do, allow, or accept that cultivates the culture.  If the leadership team is not aligned and cohesive it will be difficult to get the aligned and cohesive.

I spend the first evening getting to know and building a relationship with the leadership team.  We discuss their goals and obstacles with the practice, team, and each other.  I refer to the leadership team as the “we team”!  I call them the “we team” because leaders need to think as we instead of as me.  We thinking” cultivates alignment and cohesion.  When leaders are aligned and cohesive, they communicate and work together better which produces a happier, healthier, and higher performing practice culture.

One of the pitfalls I observe especially in high producing practices is discord amongst the leadership team.  Often the more successful a practice is the more strife there seems to be between the leadership team.  Success often inflames egos.  It is dangerous when we allow success to go to our head.  When it does, our ego takes over and we feel entitled.  Entitlement changes our mindset from we to me.  “Me destroys we!”

Me creates an exaggerated pride, overwhelming self-confidence, and contempt for others.  Taken to extreme it can become the acquired personality disorder “hubris syndrome.” Scientific research defines it as a “disorder of the possession of power, particularly power which has been associated with overwhelming success, held for a period of years.”

There is a difference between a healthy ego and an unhealthy one.  Healthy egos are good and needed to succeed.  When meeting and assessing the leadership team, I look for signs of an unhealthy ego that may undermine alignment, cohesiveness, and even greater success.

Here are some of the most common sabotaging beliefs.  Consider your own thinking and see if you might need to readjust your viewpoint.

  • I am the owner doctor, and I can do what I want.
  • I am entitled to do what I want because I am the biggest producer.
  • I only support my decisions because I have the most knowledge.
  • I can never show when I am unsure or don’t know the answer or it will make me look stupid.
  • I can’t admit to mistakes, or it will make me look weak.
  • I will deflect and criticize others when I am challenged to not lose face.

An unhealthy ego narrows our perception and corrupts our behavior, often causing us to act against our core values.  When we believe we’re are the only one responsible for our success, we tend to be disrespectful, selfish, and unkind.  After all, we don’t need anyone else, and others are replaceable!  This is especially true in challenging situations. An unhealthy ego is like a wall that stops us from learning from our failures. Our past success left unchecked can sabotage our future success!

An unhealthy ego looks for information that confirms what it wants to believe. It makes us believe we are always right.  We only see and hear things our way.  We become susceptible like the emperor in the folktale The Emperor’s New Clothes!”

The result, we alienate the people we lead, the culture, and ultimately the patients.  I love the quote “Ego is a three-letter word that can destroy a big twelve-letter word called Relationship!”   We have all heard about great bands who had amazing success only to break up because of unhealthy egos.  They became a me instead of a “We”.   Their ego created me entitlement.  Me entitlement ended their relationship and sabotaged their future success as a band!

Healthy egos are good and needed to succeed.  A healthy ego is confident and decisive.  Yet, they know that there is more than just one way.  They know they aren’t always right.  They encourage open dialogue and are open to feedback.  They will support what is in the best interests of the practice, patients, and team (also referring doctors if they are a specialty practice).

Behaviors of a healthy leadership ego are:

  • They are determined to make a difference.
  • They know their why (sense of purpose).
  • They are self-confident and secure.
  • They are aware of their weaknesses and are comfortable in their skin.
  • They reflect instead of deflect.
  • They are approachable, open, and honest.
  • They keep things in perspective.
  • They admit when they are wrong.
  • They allow themselves to be vulnerable.
  • They are genuine and don’t pretend to be something they are not.
  • They are tolerant of people who have different views.
  • They are willing to listen and accept feedback.
  • They empower others to step up.

No one is perfect, and our ego will get the best of us at times.  Being open to feedback from our co-leaders, team members, and using a coach who can observe and advise are great ways to become a more aligned and cohesive “We”!

November 1, 2022

Get Grateful…Get Happy!

Did you know that grateful people are happier?  People who are grateful feel higher levels of wellbeing.  Grateful people are less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships. Grateful people also have higher levels of control of their environments, personal growth, purpose in life, self-acceptance, and success. Grateful people also have less negative coping strategies, being less likely to try to avoid the problem, deny there is a problem, blame themselves, or cope through substance use. Grateful people sleep better, and this seems to be because they think less negative and more positive thoughts just before going to sleep.

Sometimes it can be difficult to show gratitude when we don’t feel it. I think gratitude is kind of tricky. It’s one of those things that until we start to show it, we don’t feel it. The tricky part is how do we show if we don’t feel it? Do we fake it? I believe we get so busy in our lives we no longer perceive what we have as gifts instead we take them for granted. It is not until we lose them that we remember how much they mean to us. Life becomes routine and things are just normal, and we falsely believe normal will last forever.

As hard as these economic times can be…there can also be blessings. They force us to realize there are no guarantees and things are only as they are for the moment.  When we realize things in life and life itself is temporary, we no longer take it for granted and we feel grateful. So, if you like who and what is in your life right now right this moment, take this moment to feel grateful. Gratitude starts by being present in the moment.

You can get present this moment while you are reading this.  Just look…look all around you. Take a moment longer to rest in the moment and digest it all. What do you see, hear, touch, smell, and taste?  If tomorrow, all that was no longer, who and what would you miss? How funny when we push the noise aside how easy it is to be embraced with gratitude for all our blessings. How clear it all becomes, colors are more vibrant, sounds are musical, smells are sweeter, relationships have become precious, and everything comes alive. Only, isn’t it just the same as it was before…only now we see it.

The grass is greener on the other side is a very contagious comparison syndrome. You know, someone else has something, instantly we want it and think we must have it. We believe it will make our life easier, or better, or more meaningful. Only to find out once we have it, nothing has changed. Why is it we instantly see what we are missing and miss what we already have?  It’s because the…. grass is always greener when someone else has it!!!  The simple truth is we will never be happy with what we have until we are happy with what we have. Okay, so maybe that sounds a bit redundant. It’s not! It’s so simple it’s deep. LOL! Just think about it for a moment. It is only when we are happy and are grateful for what we already have that we began to feel happy for what we have. When we give thanks and appreciate the things that already exist in our life and stop comparing ourselves to others, we find peace and happiness.

Start and end your day with words of gratitude. It might be as simple as, “I am grateful to be alive another day to celebrate what life has in store for me.” Or “Thank you for another day!”  Do you remember the old saying count your blessings? When we get in the habit of counting our blessings, we feel gratitude. Think about all the things you are grateful for such as family, friends, health, home, work, the sunshine or even the snow. Take a notebook or your computer and write down the top 10 things that make you feel grateful. Funny, how once we start, we realize how many things we must be truly grateful for…okay, maybe top 20 if you can stop there.  Funny thing, I feel a greater sense of wellbeing just writing this!   Give thanks and appreciate the things that already exist in your life!  Stop comparing yourself and your life to others and you will find peace and happiness!

September 1, 2022

A Code of Commitments!

Even the best of us can lose our way in all the noise and hubbub of the day-to-day stresses! Establishing a Code of Commitments for the practice will help the entire team keep on track…even in stressful situations when the wheels fall off!

A Code of Commitments is about having a preplanned game plan on how to react. Behaviorally, that means testing decisions and planned reactions for “integrity” that support the core values before implementing them.

Here are 4 questions to help you create your own code of conduct:

  • Is it legal?
  • Is it ethical?
  • Does it align with the practice core values?
  • Does it support each other and the patients?

I suggest a team meeting (4 hours minimal) to establish a Code of Commitments for the practice.  Start the meeting by reviewing the practice’s 4 core values.  Owner doctors you will need to have established 4 core values in order of priority.  All owner doctors must support the same 4 core values.  Ask the entire team to share how, when and where they feel the Core Values are not being supported.

Utilize a large easel pad and markers to write down all the concerns being shared.  Discuss the breakdowns that are happening.  What current attitudes and behaviors support the Core Values?  What current attitudes and behaviors need changing to support the Core Values?  The behaviors you list that support as well as the necessary changes become your new Code of Commitments!

It is very important for the We Team (leadership team) to lead by example on whatever is established as the Code of Commitments.

Here is an example of a Code of Commitments.

  • Model the waddle you want to see
  • Set and maintain high standards – no double standards
  • Support a no gossip culture
  • Communicate openly, honestly, and respectfully
  • Treat each other as well as you treat your patients
  • Resolve conflict by going to the source the same day if possible
  • Take ownership, follow through, and be accountable for your mistakes
  • Support each other and help each other succeed
  • Hold each other accountable to the practice’s standards for behavior, communication, attitude, and service!

Having a Code of Commitments will empower the entire team to interact with patients and each other with integrity!

June 30, 2022

The 5 C’s to Cultivate a Happier, Healthier, & Higher Performing Culture!

I have the privilege of working with dental teams nationwide to help them cultivate a happier, healthier, and higher performing culture.  I have created my Rise & Shine Culture Camps which is a customized practice driven focused training for the entire team.  There are 5 areas that we address to get results.   I happen to like alliteration which is why they all start with the letter C!  The 5 C’s are: Clarity, Compassion, Compromise, Celebration, and Commitment.

I have been invited to present this information and more in a half day program hosted by AADOM at their annual conference. I will offer a morning course and a repeat afternoon session on Wednesday, September 7th, 2022, in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona.  Click on this link https://www.aadomconference.com/ to learn more about this amazing must not miss conference!

The first C is Clarity!  It is vital for the entire team to be aligned in achieving the goals of the practice.  Clarity starts with the owner doctors agreeing on and defining their 4 Core Value words and communicating those words consistently through their words, actions, and attitude.  This is really where it all starts.  If the leadership team is not aligned the rest of the team will not be aligned.  This is the most important C of all as it is the foundation of the practice culture.  Please email me at JudyKay@PracticeSolutionsInc.net to receive a sample Core Value Words.

The second C is Compassion!  There will be ups and downs and obstacles along the way.  It is easy to get along and play nice when everything goes our way.  It is much more difficult when things aren’t working, and expectations aren’t met.  That’s when we often fall into the judgment thinking of should or shouldn’t!  They should have done this, or they shouldn’t have done this etc.…  It is imperative that we stop judging and instead show compassion for our co-workers and patients.  “When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself.” -Earl Nightingale

We often judge others in the areas where we feel the weakest. Instead remain in curiosity mode and stay out of judgment mode.  Judgment shuts us down and divides us.  Most judgments about people are based on incomplete information.  Curiosity, on the other hand, keeps us open to the possibility that there is something about the situation that we don’t fully understand.  Whenever I start to judge people –I ask myself: “I wonder what the situation is with that person?”

We show compassion by trying to be understanding, supportive, and giving the benefit of the doubt.  We achieve this by trying to walk in the other persons’ shoes to understand their B.O.A.T. (beliefs, opinions, assumptions, truths)!  Their why!  The questions I often use is, “Help me understand why…!”

The third C is Compromise!  The team is like a large puzzle that all need to learn how to fit together.  There will be different B.0.A.T.’s amongst the team.  It is important to compromise to work well together.  It is not just the new team members that need to learn how to fit in.  The existing team members need to learn how to fit with the new team members.  The puzzle changes each time there is a change in team members.  There is more than one way!  We need to compromise and create our new way 😊!   Someone unwilling to compromise is in essence saying they are unwilling to be a team player.  If they are unwilling to be a team player, they can’t be a part of the team.  It is both a difficult and simple concept to act on.

The fourths C is Celebration!  Look for what is positive and celebrate it every day.  The more we focus on what is positive the more positive we will create.  Don’t get lost in the muck of the mundane tasks.  Instead, consider the bigger picture.  We are changing people’s lives with better function and aesthetics.  The smile is the number one connector.  Our focus creates our attitude.  Look for things to celebrate in each other and each situation.  Focus on the good and we will find more in each day.  What we look for we will see!

The fifth C is Commitment!  Stuff doesn’t just happen.  It takes focus and work.  Everyone on the team is accountable to support the practice standards.  There can be no individual opt outs.  The team is like a group of fire fighters holding a net that supports the practice standards.  If someone opts out, they are in essence taking their hands of the net.  There are consequences to every action or inaction.  The consequence becomes a culture by default instead of by design when we don’t address unsupportive behavior.   We need to commit as a team to support the practice standards in every word, action, and attitude.  We will then cultivate a happier, healthier, and higher performing culture!

Come join me Wednesday, September 7th, 2022, in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona at AADOM’s Annual Conference to dive deeper into the 5 C’s to Cultivate a Happier, Healthier, and Higher Performing Culture!  Click on this link https://www.aadomconference.com/  to learn more about this amazing must not miss conference!

 

June 1, 2022

Co-leadership! How to lead Successfully!

What is co-leadership? Co-leadership is two or more people in charge of a team or group. They share ownership of the goals of their team but divide the roles and responsibilities.  Co-leadership has many benefits when utilized correctly.  The downside is the more leaders the more complex it becomes.

Co-leadership in a dental office may include doctors, practice administrator, team leads or any team member in a leadership position depending on the size of the practice.

Everything begins and ends with leadership.  It is what leaders do, don’t do, or allow in their culture that defines the practice culture.  The more leaders the more difficult it becomes to create and sustain a consistent message.  Here are 5 principles to build an aligned and cohesive co-leadership team.

The first co-leadership principle – It is necessary to have an aligned vision for the future of the practice/company.  I start the process by having the owner doctors choose 4 core value words and place them in order of priority.  All future decisions are based on supporting those values.  Everyone on the leadership team must live and lead those core values in words, actions, and attitudes.  Apply these core values when making decisions by using the following questions.

  • What’s in the best interests of the patients, practice, and team that supports our core values? (Specialists also add referring doctors) It can never just benefit one individual.
  • Is it practical based on time, money, and people that will still support the core values?
  • Does the precedent we are setting support our core values?
  • How passionate are we to implement change? It must be a value of 8 or above on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being high.

The breakdown happens when a leader decides to opt out of something they don’t agree with entirely.  It can never be 100% our way unless we work by ourselves.  It is healthy for leaders to discuss and debate behind closed doors.  However, they must come to an agreement and support that agreement in front of the team.  There will be times leaders need to support decisions even without consensus.  I often hear, “I am the doctor, I can do what I want!”  Yes, you can but not without consequences.  If leaders do not support each other, they will create division in the team and the leadership team.  Division leads to confusion, gossip, clicks and lack of accountability.  The team will choose the path of least resistance.  The bottom line is that when you have a co-leader you no longer have autonomy to make decisions.  On a side note, doctors supporting your practice administrator doesn’t mean saying do whatever you want.  It means being involved in the decision and solution process.  Practice Administrators you will become very frustrated and overwhelmed if you want more for the practice than the owner doctors.  Which is why it is so important that you are aligned with the owner doctors’ vision for the practice.

The second co-leadership principle – It is important to place people in the leadership role that shines the light on their strengths and dims their weakness.  No one is perfect.  We all have strengths as well as weaknesses.  We are only as strong as our weakest link.  Any weakness in your co-leaders will be a reflection on the entire leadership team.  Define the specific tasks for each role.  Leaders are responsible for the individual tasks of their role.  Each task must be owned by that one person to create accountability.  The more people responsible for the same task the less accountability due to assuming the other person is doing the task.  Some leaders find it difficult to let go and to not be involved in all tasks.  We must trust our co-leader to be accountable.  Be open to renegotiating your roles based on changing circumstances, growth, and ambitions.

The third co-leadership principle – Owner doctors and practice administrator(s) must make time to meet on a weekly basis.  (I refer to these specific leadership team members as the We Team) This allows for real time conversations to discuss and come to a resolution as a leadership team.  All decisions must be discussed at this meeting before implementing except for direct patient care.  Document discussion and agreements and save in a meeting journal.  Review last week’s meeting notes and confirm if all assigned tasks have been completed.  The meeting will create accountability as well as keep everyone in the loop.  Schedule the weekly meeting the same time and day of each week.  The time is reserved and is to be considered sacred.  I can hear all the excuses already.  However, it is necessary to commit to a weekly meeting if you want to co-lead successfully to build and sustain a high performing practice.  It’s time to put your ownership hat on.  Once you make it a priority it will happen.  If you don’t meet at least weekly, you will be spending extra time putting out unnecessary fires and fueling disorder, stress, and discord.

The fourth co-leadership principle – Is don’t break the chain of communication.  Here is a simple flow for chain of communication both up and down.  Please email me at judykay@practicesolutionsinc.net for a multi-location practice communication flow chart.

Owner Doctors

Practice Administrator

Team Leads and Associate Doctors

Team

The practice administrator has a weekly meeting with all team leads where they share the outcome of their We Team meeting.  Team leads are to bring any questions, suggestions, or concerns they have, or their team has for discussion and feedback at this meeting.  The practice administrator will take this information to the We Team meeting to discuss and come to a resolution.  Then back to the next lead team meeting for implementation.  I know this slows things down.  However, the end results are an informed, aligned, and cohesive team.

The fifth co-leadership principle – Expect disagreements and differences of opinions.  What many people refer to as conflict.  If you never disagree chances are someone is not being honest with their opinion.  Let go of ego.  It’s not about you and what you want.  Have a mindset of care and curiosity not judgment and criticism.  We will need to make concessions at times to move forward.

  • Utilize the questions in the first co-leadership principle to come to a decision that supports the core values.
  • Start with what you can agree on and build from there.
  • Define the end result.
  • Discuss in specifics instead of concepts.
  • Come to an agreement and write it down.
  • Support the agreement in words, actions, and attitude.

Implementing the five co-leadership principles will help you build an aligned and cohesive team!

February 1, 2022

Control, Alt, Delete! Reset, Reset, Reset!!!

Control, Alt, Delete! Reset, Reset, Reset!!! 10 Creator Thoughts to Help You Reset!

2022 isn’t starting out quite like I imagined or planned!  Reset time!  So many things are up in the air.  Literally like flying for example.  I fly almost every week for work.  I can tell you that it has been a challenging task.  Lack of plane and or crew or nasty weather often leads to a delayed or canceled flight.  Once I arrive there is the potential of attendance concerns due to the pandemic.  It often feels like playing Russian Roulette.

 

 

Many of my clients are struggling as well with staffing shortages and last-minute patient cancels or fails due to illness.  Everyday is a new challenge.  Maybe you find yourself in the same boat.

We have two choices. We can reset by taking on the current situation and making the best of it.  Or we can get angry, worry, and judge what should or shoudn’t have happened.  Some of us live in a state of fear and judgement of “what if” waiting for the next shoe to drop.

We become the creator of our world when we take on the challenges.  We become the victim of our world when we stew and worry.  Creators are constantly resetting!  Something unplanned or uncertain will happen.  Stop the spinning out of control thoughts of this should or shouldn’t have happened.  Instead change your internal dialogue with a reset transition thought.  So, this happened…now what is the next step I want to take?

  • Triage the situation with your team or if alone by yourself.
  • Identify what needs to get done, what can be let go.
  • Who else can assist?
  • What resources can I utilize?
  • Then do your best.

Life will continue to be filled with unplanned stuff! Here are 10 creator thoughts to help you reset.

  1. Start your day on a positive note. Plan how you want to feel today and not what has to happen today to make it a good day.
  2. People will come and go in our life. Some relationships are only meant to last a certain amount of time.
  3. People’s actions and reactions are often heightened with all the uncertainty. Don’t take things personally.
  4. Challenges force us to grow. Look for the learning opportunity in every obstacle.
  5. Sit, stop, and become still. Breathe deep and become calm.  How we feel inside will change how we feel about what’s happening on the outside.
  6. Our energy is contagious. Be mindful of the energy we radiate.
  7. Be proactive instead of reactive. Take the necessary steps to set up to succeed.
  8. Treat people based on the person you want to be. Don’t let negative behavior of others drive your actions.
  9. Have hope for the future. This too shall pass.
  10. End your day in gratitude. Celebrate the positives by giving thanks       and praise.

 

Life will be filled with unplanned challenges.  The ability to reset will define our level of success.

December 30, 2021

Conversation Versus Confrontation!

CONVERSATION VERSUS CONFRONTATION!

I have the privilege of facilitating R.I.S.E. & Shine Culture Camps for dental teams nationwide!  Click this link https://www.practicesolutionsinc.net/culture-camp.html to learn more about R.I.S.E. & Shine Culture Camps!

The first day of Culture Camp is spent speaking to each team member as well as observing the practice flow.  I ask the same question to everyone.  The question I ask is, “If I could wave a magic wand and make things easier or better what would I change?”  The question opens the dialogue.  Most responses include concerns with doctor or team relationship(s).  I ask if they have tried to discuss it with the person whom they have the concerns.  The response is almost universal.  “No, I don’t like confrontation!”

 

 

There is a big difference between a conversation and a confrontation.  We can ask anyone anything if we are coming from a place of curiosity, care, and concern instead of judgment, criticism, or blame.  It is a confrontation when you are approaching someone with the intent to judge, compare, criticize, or blame.  The difference between a conversation versus a confrontation is based on your approach and your intent.  Be mindful of your energy and intent.  What are the results you are desiring?

The purpose of a conversation is to have a fact finding or fact sharing discussion.  The Approacher (the person initiating the conversation) must be mindful of energy, words, tone, and body language.  Never approach someone to address a concern when you are angry or unable to control your emotions or it will end up being a confrontation.  Approach with a question(s) to simply understand the “why” and not necessarily to resolve.  You may or may not be able to come to a resolution during the conversation.  It may take time for one or both parties to process through reflection and consideration of the other person.  Allowing time to process will remove the stress of having to immediately come to an agreement.  We also don’t want to sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist while we silently stew over the situation.  The goal is to resolve within 24 to 48 hours if possible.  If you feel the need to complain to someone else (venting – which is a nice word for gossip) than it is important to approach the source and have a conversation.

The conversation is always in private and starts with positive clear communication.

Be specific instead of generalizing. Focus more on objective points than subjective opinions.  Just saying “I don’t like it or you’re doing this wrong” is not helpful. On the other hand, stating the specific strengths or skills you would like to see developed is helpful.

Don’t make it personal. Talk about issue not the person. Avoid saying, “you need to”.   Start the conversation with the word I instead of saying you. For example, “I noticed,” “I have seen,” “I observed,” “I am not quite sure what happened,” “Help me understand,” or when sharing feedback from others, “I have had reported to me.” “I” conversations are issue-focused instead of person-focused. Always consider how your words may impact the other person. Ask yourself; how can I say what I need to say and be respectful of how they may feel.

Break your feedback down into key points. Don’t give your feedback as one big lump. Break it down into various key points, then give your feedback point by point.  Give examples of each point. What are the exact issues, situations, or examples where the person exhibits the behaviors you highlighted? There is no need to highlight every single one.  Just disclosing a couple of examples per point will be sufficient. The purpose is to bring the person’s awareness to things which he/she may not be aware of and clearly illustrate what you mean.

Ask the other person what they need from you (communication, support, training, practice) to be able to achieve the desired results. Together discuss and agree on a resolution.

Life will be filled with concerns of situations and other people.  The confidence and skill to have timely conversations will help resolve whatever arises.

September 1, 2021

Staff Shortage!!! 5 Steps to Help You Survive the Staff Shortage.

Yes, I know the term team is more uniting and empowering than the word staff.  Also, that staff is an infection.  😊 However, I like the alliteration of short staffed versus short teamed or team shortage.

Times have changed and nearly everyone faces sporadic or chronic staffing challenges.  Stop and take a moment and breathe deep!  You will survive this challenge and be even better after!

Start by writing an ad that is enticing and specific to attract that new superstar team member!  Together as a team define specific skills and traits desired for the position.  Please email me at JudyKay@PracticeSolutonsInc.net if you would like to receive a sample ad.

 

 

Here are 5 steps to help you survive the shortage until you hire your new superstar!

Communicate – Take time to communicate as a team.  Notice I used the term team now as no need for alliteration.  Together define specific tasks that were being done by the employee or employees who are gone.   Make a list of the specific tasks that need to be done instead of panicking.  Avoid generalization of tasks as the more specific the easier the solution.

Prioritize – Triage the list of tasks.  What must be done?  What can be delayed?  What can be let go?  I like to utilize Rocks, Pebbles and Sand to prioritize.

  • Rocks – Important and Urgent – Rocks must be done that day or consequences
  • Pebbles – Important and Not Urgent – Pebbles can be done another day without consequences. However, if delayed long enough a Pebble can turn into a Rock.
  • Sand – Not Important and Not Urgent – Sand is the filler like cleaning and organizing and can be delayed the longest.

Utilize Human Resources – Your human resources are your entire team.  So often we compartmentalize the team into departments.  We lessen our resources when we compartmentalize.  Instead, be creative when discussing who could do specific tasks.  Take time to cross train whenever possible.  A highly cross trained team is much more flexible and beneficial!  My favorite job description is:

“My job from the moment I check in to the moment I check out is whatever is legal, ethical, and within my licensure to help the patients, practice, and team thrive!”

Also consider which tasks could be done virtually.  There are many platforms available.   

Utilize Technology – Learn your technology in your practice.  Invest the time now and you will become more efficient and effective.  I work with practices nationwide and very few fully maximize their technology.  Schedule a call with your practice software trainer asap.  Review your lists of tasks to learn what tasks could possibly be automated.  For example, billing, confirming appointments, contacting recare etc.  There is often so much more we can do with the existing technology in our practice.

Look into additional technology that would allow you to automate in the clinical area.  For example, Voiceworks Software allows hygienists to be autonomous with probing as well as more effective and efficient.  Check out the video on voice-controlled charting.  The link is  https://oralscience.com/en/products/voiceworks/

Schedule – Review the schedule with your team based on current staffing available.  Many of you have new team members that will take time to train.  Do you need more time for procedures?  Do you need to change what is scheduled in conjunctive columns?  You may even need to temporarily suspend scheduling a column.  FEAR ALERT!!!  I know you are concerned about overhead and the bottom line etc.  However, if you consistently overwhelm and over burden your current old and new team members they may leave as well.  Or worse yet…they will stay and become burned out and disengaged.

Review the past two weeks schedule with your team.  Where were the bottlenecks and stress points?  What shows up consistently?  Adress the consistent problem areas by adjusting the schedule to accommodate them based on current team, training, and skills.

Implement these 5 steps and you will not only survive you will thrive!

July 1, 2021

Culture Is Like a Puzzle!

When I think about culture, I think of it as a puzzle.  The framework of the puzzle is created by the owner dentist(s).  They design it using their vision, core values, type of service and treatment they desire to deliver.  The team are the pieces that together make up the body of the puzzle.

 

 

I have observed an increase in the team turnover this past year due to the pandemic and other reasons.  It is important to hire the right team member for the right spot to be a good fit.  Otherwise, the result is problems and team turnover.  As a team identify the character traits and skill sets that are needed in the new team member to succeed at their role and integrate with the existing team.

The existing team is responsible to learn how to successfully work with the new team member.  It is imperative that the existing team members take the time to get to know and train the new team member.  I understand that training can seem like an added burden to the existing workload.  However, the more welcoming and supportive the training the sooner the new team member will be able to take on tasks.  Some new team members are quick learners and instantly work well with the existing team.  They are like puzzle pieces that fit together.  Others take more time and effort.

Set realistic training expectations for each position in the office.  Base the expectations on the average learning cycle.  I have found the tell them, show them, have them show you training process is very effective.  Create weekly goals for the first month and monthly goals for the second and third month.  Assign a mentor to meet with the new team member on a weekly basis for the first 3 months to review and celebrate successes as well as discuss goals for the following week or month.  It is imperative that the mentor is supportive and understanding.  Training expectations will lessen feeling overwhelmed and clarify goals for the entire team.

It is the responsibility of the team (new and existing) not the doctor or manager to recognize what they need to do to create a cohesive puzzle.

Often multiple new team members are joining the practice resulting in multiple changes to the puzzle.  This becomes even more a challenge.  So how do we make all the new pieces fit together?  Find opportunities for the team to communicate openly day-to-day.  Get aligned by clarifying the following:

  • What are the expectations from the new team members
  • What are the expectations from the existing team members

For example, existing team members, just because you have always done it a certain way does not mean you don’t need to be open to new ideas.  New team members don’t try to change everything right away just because you did it differently at your old office.  The comment, this is how we did it at my other office, quickly gets old and is not appreciated.  New team members immerse yourself in the practice culture to understand what they do and why.   Wait to bring up any suggestions until after the first 90 days.  This will help eliminate chafing between new and existing team members.

Implementing this puzzle analogy will help create a happier, healthier, and higher performing culture.

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