By Christine Uhen, Business Development Coach
There is a painting at my house called Leap of Faith. While I’m inspired by it to have faith that things will work out, when it comes to leadership and accountability with your team and business, having faith isn’t going to do it. One of the biggest stresses we’ve hear from doctors in the twelve years PDA has been coaching dentists is “How do I manage my team?” And as much as having faith that it will all work out seems nice, the truth is it takes work from you – the leader of your team – to set expectations, monitor success, and provide feedback to your team to keep them motivated and engaged.
What we’re going to look at today is what type of communication your team needs from you and how to use your dental software to assess when you and your team are doing well. Believe me, your team wants to hear from you! The more you interact with them and hold them accountable, the more they will exceed your expectations.
Be a Rocket, Not a Shooting Star
Being a good leader starts with setting attainable, sustainable goals. If you think about it in relation to weight loss, setting a goal of losing 50lbs in two months on a crash diet is not a realistic (or safe) goal. Setting a goal of losing 50lbs in six months with a lifestyle change is a better and healthier option. This is what you as a leader need to do for your practice: set those realistic, attainable goals.
One of my favorite ways to explain this to the doctors I coach is this: be a rocket, not a shooting star. A dental practice that models itself after a rocket shows steady, progressive growth that is attainable and trackable. While it might sound attractive at first, no one wants to be the “shooting star” that comes flying out of the gate bright and hot for a moment, and then burns out. Part of the rocket mentality for you as a leader means learning now to set those realistic goals for your practice and team, maintain them, track them, and then move consistently upward.
If you’re having difficulty determining what are realistic short and long-term goals, or how to achieve and measure success, working with a coach can be a great stepping stone to setting yourself and your team up for success.
Trust, But Verify
One of the maxims one of our co-founders, Dr. Bruce B. Baird, likes to say is “trust, but verify.” This means checking on and holding your team accountable to the behaviors you are asking of them. There are many tools available to dentists for tracking the success of their practice – Dental Intel, PDA’s Productivity Tracker, various reports and reviews – so you can measure and achieve the levels of success you have set for your business.
Whatever system you’re using for monitoring your practice and team, you need to be able to assess it quickly, identify early if things aren’t going well, know how to present that information to your team, and then decide as a team how to improve these key indicators. Here’s a quick overview of the key areas Dr. Baird – as the leader of his team and practice – checks to measure the success of his practice:
- Basics of production – Did we accomplish our goal today production-wise?
- Collection – Are our bills are getting paid?
- New patients – Are we growing?
- Hygiene production – Are we able to see and take care of the patients in our practice? (There’s a mathematical formula for supply and demand in this area.)
- Reappointing – Are we scheduling enough additional appointments at a high enough rate? (Note: A true measure of long-term success in a practice is hygiene retention.)
- Case presentation – What are our diagnostics? Are they supporting our production goals?
- Follow-up – When patients say no or maybe to treatment, what’s our plan and strategy for getting them back in the office? Are we successful in getting them back on the schedule?
Dashboard for Success
If you’re interested in seeing a demo of how to use the Dental Intel dashboard for monitoring the changes in your business, watch the video at the top of this post starting at 10:40. Even if you don’t have Dental Intel, it’s worth seeing what aspects of your business you can monitor with a dashboard and how you can use the data it provides to bring accountability to your team.
On Dental Intel, there is one screen, called the dashboard, that will give you an overview of the health of your practice and can serve as a great accountability tool. Plan to review this information with your team in your morning huddle. Huddles are crucial! But, in order to be effective, these meetings should focus on one day at a time. As one of our co-founders, Victoria Peterson, has taught me…chunk it down into manageable pieces. If you missed your production goal yesterday, look at how you can change that for today. Break it into manageable pieces for your team: what you are doing today to fill in the gaps in the schedule. It’s all about the small, achievable goals to keep your team motivated and on-task.
Your dashboard can be a great help to “trust, but verify” as well. In the chart that monitors your hygiene cases, you can see if your hygiene and admin staff have been responsible in completing their task to fill the hygiene schedule. Recare is also a great place to monitor because it shows you how many patients who were not originally on the schedule have been re-contacted and put on the schedule by your admin staff. If your numbers are high, then this is a great indicator that your team is doing their job in contacting patients, and that your process for getting patients back in the office is working.
Remember, success is worth celebrating! I can’t stress this enough: you need to celebrate your team’s wins. It will 1) show them that they are doing what you asked, and 2) make them feel like they and their hard work are valued and noticed.
It’s so important for you as a leader to set realistic goals and then take the time to train your team and have realistic expectations of them. Most people need to be told more than once about a new process. Train them! Hold your people accountable to clearly defined goals and set them up for success with small, manageable pieces. Celebrate their success and listen to what they have to say. Take the time to talk to them on a daily, weekly, monthly, biannually basis…they will exceed your expectations when you give them feedback.
If you’re interested in learning more about using your dental software to bring accountability to your practice and team, contact PDA today to learn how our Business Development Coaches can help you. Also, act now to reserve your seat at our BlueSky – Leadership, Team Building, and Annual Planning event. Be empowered to be the leader your team needs, learn the components of cohesive teams, and set your practice up for success with one-on-one annual planning to help you set your achievable goals for 2019.
About PDA’s Leadership Mastermind Series
Productive Dentist Academy is offering a complimentary 10-Month Leadership Mastermind Series of videos leading up to our BlueSky 2018 event November 2-4 in Scottsdale, Arizona. At our PDA Members’ requests, the focus of BlueSky 2018 is leadership and team development, and annual business development planning. The Leadership Mastermind Series is intended to give you actionable items to implement in your practice now, so you and your team can come prepared with ideas, questions, and a healthy understanding of leadership principles. Click here to learn more about BlueSky 2018.
Don’t stop here! Learn how to build trust among your team members by watching Christine’s full Leadership Mastermind Series video.
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