Archive for Dental Business Tips
What is the possibility you are “enabling” your employees? If you are enabling, you are offering help that perpetuates rather than solves a problem.A doctor who allows a team member to arrive late routinely to the morning huddle because she claims she has to drive through heavy traffic is enabling irresponsibility. The doctor that tolerates an employee who constantly has to get up and down from the chair to retrieve additional instruments or materials is enabling inattention to detail and inefficiency. The team member who is “barked at” by the doctor in front of the patient is enabling disrespect.
It can be a fine line between helping and enabling. Some leaders enable people to remain dependent or unengaged. Stop making excuses and covering up for others!
The word empower is often over-used. Many employers talk about empowering their employees but, often, employees feel disempowered. Here are four of the top 10 things you can do that will really empower your employees, according to employees, not employers!
- Allow employees to actively participate in team and company goals.
Look for every opportunity to include employees at every level of the organization – in being active participants. Employees often report getting one-way directives instead.
- Allow employees to suggest better ways of getting their jobs done.
Ask for employee suggestions for other ways of getting the task or project accomplished. Listen and be willing to really hear the employees’ comments. Employees often report that they have no input and are told exactly how to perform their jobs, leaving no creativity.
- Provide positive reinforcement.
Always listen and acknowledge your employees. Employees often report that their decisions and actions are second-guessed and that most, if not all, feedback given is negative.
- Clearly delegate responsibility and give the employees authority along with the responsibility.
Do you give inconsistent messages? Do you ask the employee to handle a problem or project and then give them negative feedback or give them an assignment and then say “never-mind?” Employees often report that they are given tasks and then told they did it wrong.
To receive the remaining six of my Top Ten Ways to Empower Your Employees, send me an email with Top 10 – Empower in your subject line.
Have you ever gotten up in the morning and feel “punk?” You know the feeling…not too perky – a little “off” – perhaps a bit grumpy…and for no good reason. You just woke up that way.
Well that happened to me the other day. Aside from feeling not so bubbly, I struggled to get on my bike for my 6-10 mile early morning exercise ride. I managed to get on the road and in traveling mode around the neighborhood at 6:30 am. I came across an inordinate number of people walking their dogs, jogging, even other bike riders.
As I came upon the first person, I yelled out a not-too-energetic “Good Morning” and was returned with a resounding, “Good morning to you. I hope this is a great day for you.” Her response immediately perked me up. When I came upon the next person and the next and for the remainder of my ride, I found myself positively expressing an unambiguous “GOOD MORNING” to everyone I encountered. And, everyone reciprocated accordingly.
Forty-five minutes later when I returned home and dismounted from my bike, I felt energized. At that moment I realized I had shifted my thinking from a lousy day to a fabulous day. I had Good Morning’ed my way into a better day. My little hissy-fit morning turned into something so much better and it reminded me that a bad attitude is like a flat tire – you can’t get very far until you change it.
How do you turn a challenging day into a great day? I’d love to hear your thoughts here, or on my facebook page.
You bet I do! For all fifteen years of my Coaching practice, twice a year I have surveyed my clients. I want my coaching services to be world-class, legendary, and 5-star. That’s what sets me apart from others. It is my distinctive competency and anything less than this standard is an opportunity for growth.
The survey results are in and here is a brief summary of what my clients had to say:
1. How well is Coach Ron meeting or exceeding your coaching expectations?
Completely Satisfied: 100%
2. What value do you place in Coach Ron creating the “Eagles Nest,” a private Facebook page for team members to glean “best practice” ideas from other practices in our coaching family?
No Value: 0%
Little Value: 37%
Very Valuable: 63%
3. How responsive has Coach Ron been to your needs (i.e., extra calls, document review, resource information, support with your team, etc.)?
Completely Satisfied: 100%
4. What do you most value in our coaching relationship and why?
- The opportunity to develop ideas and bounce them off an experienced expert.
- Experience, wisdom and honesty.
- Consistent excellence.
- The feeling that there is always someone in my corner who understands me.
- I depend upon your candid, even painful, insight to keep me on track and away from preventable dangers.
- Personal relationship and how well Coach Ron knows my strengths, my weaknesses, my personality traits and me.
- Your balance and clear-headed thinking.
- Your availability, the expanse of extra materials and ease with which they are received and your openness.
- Encouragement and a person to exchange ideas with.
5. How well do you believe the presentation of your Simplified Business Plan to the Mastermind Group prepares you for the FUTURE of DENTISTRY?
- The plan is useful in articulating my goals and plan for the future. Who knows what hidden traps and ploys from others this may keep me from.
- It is “essential” to my survival.
- It keeps your clients focused on future visioning and possibility thinking.
- Awesome idea! It has really stretched my way of thinking and planning for the future.
- This business plan idea has continued to open my eyes to existing ideas and other ideas that I never even considered.
What have I learned and what ACTIONS will I take as a result of the survey?
- I need to remain vigilant and be certain I “under promise and over deliver.”
- My private Facebook page, Eagle’s Nest™, needs more of my attention and to set a timeline as to when to pull the plug if interest does not grow.
- Acknowledge and recognize my clients for their support, love and loyalty. As a consequence, I have prepared a special gift for them all.
Action Item for This Week: have you surveyed your clients (and patients) yet this year? If you need ideas on how to do this, I’ve got you covered, here.
Whether you have a patient or a customer consciously uncouple or divorce you or fire you, we better be paying attention to delivering care and concern to those who entrust their care to us.
Do you want to be “Consciously Uncoupled” by a patient?
Do you want to be “Divorced” by a patient?
Do you want to be “Fired” by a patient?
If we presume that the technical excellence is in place, the way to prevent being “Consciously Uncoupled” is to deliver service excellence.
Below are a few suggestions:
- I believe every business that provides superior service has a strong Service Vision that creates a clear direction for everyone in that business. What do your customers buy from you that they couldn’t get elsewhere? Your Service Vision drives hiring, standards, training, leadership philosophies, and tells you where you are heading.
- The practice must be committed to creating a world-class, internal culture that only attracts, hires, and retains the people who are capable of upholding the service vision of the organization.
- The business must create Secret Service systems that easily enable all team members to personalize the customer’s experience by engaging them and anticipating their needs. Having great standards is not enough! The organization needs to systemize those standards in order for them to be realistically delivered on a persistent and consistent basis.
Customer’s expectations of service are so low that today businesses have a truly fantastic opportunity to gain a superior, competitive advantage. Whatever your business – dental, retail, hospitality, business-to-business –it has never been easier to exceed the customer’s expectation by delivering a memorable experience.
This is the antidote to “Conscious Uncoupling.” Businesses/practices don’t get fired when they deliver unexpected, legendary service.
Think about the services you provide so that you aren’t “Consciously Uncoupled.”
I believe it’s a terrible thing to see and have no vision.
Brianne has shared with us a simple, yet remarkable, lesson and tool for those who want to create a future of choice.
What is your practice/business Vision? Is it in writing? Do all your employees know it by heart? Do you know it by heart?
If not, below are some ‘thoughts’ on crafting a Compelling Vision document that will provide all the direction you and your team will need to make 2014 and beyond a reality.
Defined: A vivid description of how the future of the business will be. It must capture the imagination so that people are prepared to devote themselves to transforming that vision into a reality. A compelling vision enables people to feel that the end results are worthwhile – it gives a sense of direction and provides criteria so that people can judge what is important or irrelevant.
Your task: To write, in not more than fifty words, a compelling vision for your business. Imagine this will be presented to every employee.
Writing Your Vision
Here are some questions that you may want to ask yourself and your team as you create your practice Vivid Vision. Additional visioning questions available on request.
- What do I want my life to be like?
- What do I want my practice to be like?
- What type of patients do I want?
- How many patients do I want?
- What kind of dental care do my patients require and expect?
- What kind of facility do I want?
“A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.” ~ David Gergen
I’ve got an amazing short story about one of my talented clients who got to discover just how powerful his Core Values are to the leadership of his practice.
Dr. Tom Valo and his team have integrated his Core Values into the fabric of how they treat their patients and he recently received this totally unexpectedly note.
When you think Core Values are a bunch of crap and some goofy MBA nonsense project, re-read how this patient values his dentist’s values and how they are thankful for their doctor’s commitment to personalizing their care to his patients. Notice how the patient used Dr. Valo’s Core Values to explain how they have impacted their life.
What are your practices belief’s? Does your team know them? How about those you get to serve? Below are some ideas to help create your own practice Core Values:
How to Identify Your Core Values
- A core value is something I have chosen freely and with consideration for the consequences of my choice.
- A core value is something I prize greatly and has a positive influence on my life.
- A core value is something I want to publicly affirm.
- A core value is something I am willing to act on.
- A core value is something I would repeat…if given the circumstances, I would respond in the same way.
Core Values are the Guiding Principles around which I will make ALL my business (and personal) decisions. It is what I view as ‘right’ and ‘true’.
Two weeks ago my wife, Trish, with the support of my event concierge, Brianne Mackall, hosted my twelfth Annual Dr. Ron’s Client Appreciation Extravaganza with a Cleveland Rock-n-Roll theme. The only way to describe the event…INDESCRIBABLE!
Having been “around the block” since 1973 (40 years since graduating dental school), there is nothing in the dental coaching world that can mimic this experience!
The fun, the “comfortableness,” the new friendships, the renewing of old friendships, the laughter, the OMG’s, and the personal connections with talented and remarkable human beings was simply beyond words. There was no “one-upsmanship,” no “cooler-than-you,” no “my practice is bigger than yours,” and certainly no “look-at-me.” My clients reminded me that there are two types of people – those who come into a room and say ‘Well, here I am!‘ and those who come in and say ‘Ah, there you are.'” What I heard them say as they connected with one another was “I’m glad you are here.”
This event was unique, distinctive, and meaningful.
To my client of twelve years who pulled me to the side and said: “This event, the camaraderie, the love, and the connection didn’t happen by accident…it has been the culmination of forty years of attention to detail and a whole lotta’ love.” To that, I say “Amen” and “Thank You.”
To make the event even more memorable, each client had prepared, in advance and in their own words, what our coaching relationship has meant to them over the years. They then sat me in the middle of the group and each read or told their stories while I did all I could to hold back the tears. This display of appreciation was very moving personally and each one of their communications had a lesson for me. Because those individual messages were so powerful, I decided that, over the next few weeks, I will share those lessons with you in my blog.
To see a few photos from the event, click here.
Mr. Earl Nightingale in his legendary communication, The Strangest Secret in the World, said the following:
“Let’s take 100 men who start even at the age of 25. Do you have any idea what will happen to those men by the time they are 65? These 100 men who all start even at the age of 25 believe they’re going to be successful. If you asked any one of these men if he wanted to be a success, he’d tell you that he did, and you’d notice that he was eager toward life; that there was a certain sparkle to his eye, an erectness to his carriage, and life seemed like a pretty interesting adventure to him. But by the time they’re 65, one will be rich, four will be financially independent, five will still be working, 54 will be broke.“
Out of the 100, only five make the grade!
This same principle applies to dentists, entrepreneurs and business people. How do we become Distinctive and Stand Out from the other ninety-five percent? Most patients think a dentist is a dentist is a dentist. After all, they all went to “dentist” school! Intuitively they know there is a difference yet how do they make the distinction? With ObamaCare and PPO’s operating under the guise that you will be receiving “affordable care” that you deserve, every dentist will be obligated to be the same. These programs dictate fees, what is and is not a covered service, and what treatment your doctors will and will not be legitimately permitted to deliver to you. The reality is we are “dumbing down” the patient to accept mediocrity as the highest standard.
Here is the BIG question and a Team Meeting Exercise:
Rather than being Ho Hum like the ninety-five percent, how will you be distinctive? How will you be persistently and consistently different than mediocre? What are your orange shoes, orange tops and orange-lined gloves?
“How ya doin’?”
“How’s it going today?”
“How’s your practice?”
“How are you doing with those goals you set for this month?”
Does this sound familiar to you?
It sounds all too familiar to me. I’ve heard it from many of my clients at some point in our relationship, and as a coach, nothing gets my blood pressure soaring faster than the word “okay.” Give me “horrible,” give me “devastating,” give me, “this is the worst it’s ever been” – those are statements of pain, and passion, and a desire to DO BETTER.
But okay? Okay is a resignation, the death knell for any aspirations to change, or grow, or learn. Okay means, “I give up; I’ll live with this, because I don’t have the guts to do anything about it.” If you’re doing okay, you need to WAKE UP and get moving! If that means facing a bad situation (which it probably does), so what? What good can possibly come from ignoring a problem? How can you possibly benefit from pretending that you’re happy when you’re really not?
From time to time, I have fallen into this “Okay” trap and I’ve turned to my coach or my wife to shake me out of this ‘stinkin-thinkin’. It’s merely an attitude and we can shift our attitudes by shifting our thinking. I have had to learn that what I think about and talk about, comes about. For me, Okay just ain’t good enough! How about you?
Last week I shared a poem about accountability, “Everybody, Somebody, Nobody & Anybody” with you. This week I would like to share how we can we apply the lessons Heather shared with her team in our practices and businesses.
- Hire Right and identify, in simple terms, what you expect from each of your team members. Articulate this in your Office Manual – get professional help here.
- Identify your measurables so you take the “emotions” out of human resource management. Be VERY specific. When you assign a task (or ask a team member to handle a project), spell it out in detail: What you want, when you want it, why you need it, and what the outcome might look like. Scorekeeping is a powerful way to have employees show one another and their doctor whether they are achieving objectives.
- Accountability requires follow-up and consequences. Consequences need to be clear, deliberate and offered as close to the behavior as possible. The performance tracking must be simple enough and visual enough that everyone can tell at a glance whether they are winning or losing.
- NOTE: It’s the consequences that routinely get us into trouble. God forbid we upset a team member or they should be angry or disagree with us. Consequences need to be appropriate, as close to immediate as possible, and specific. Most think consequences are negative. Oh contraire readers…Consequences, for exemplary behaviors, are positive, encouraging and supportive or they can be the antithesis where remediation is required (this is the tough part for most of us). I strongly coach my clients when they catch fabulous behaviors, behaviors that support the practice’s Core Values, to heap positive consequences on their team members. When the behaviors do not support the practice values, we MUST take action to remind everyone we mean business and must support our values.
Heather set the stage to remind us that we are ALL accountable and anything less than that is a “disguise” for not being responsible.
If you would like further discussion around consequences and how to apply to your business, please join in our conversation in my New LinkedIn Group just for Dentists and Dental Practitioners.