Archive for Dental Practice Core Values
What is the possibility that you might be able to induce more fun into your business or practice? Have you had traditions from years gone by that have faded away? What would it be like if you and your team put on your “creative Easter Bunny hats” (metaphorically speaking) and came up with some fun ideas for young and old?
Are you ready to have “Fun” at your team meetings? Here are some ideas…
- Have fresh flowers in a vase weekly to pass out to patients for making our day a pleasant one.
- At your huddle, have a “grab bag” filled with prizes to acknowledge a team member for a job well done yesterday. She/he gets to “grab” from the bag.
- Come dressed in costume to your team meeting.
- Have a meeting that consists only of successes – nothing negative.
- Hand out play money to the team members with good ideas. They can cash it in for prizes.
Did you know that a positive outlook does not depend on any particular circumstance? A positive outlook costs you nothing and, yet, it can bring you so very much. How can you be positive if everything is going wrong? A positive outlook is a great way to get things going right. You have to begin somewhere, don’t you? Why not positive instead of negative? You Can Never Be Too Old to Be Young!
Sweetness and I have two adult daughters: my “favorite youngest”, Brianne, soon to be thirty and my “favorite oldest”, Ashley, who recently turned 32. When they were little “cherubs,” their Kindergarten Mom (that’s my Sweetness) for Easter would create a beautiful basket full of peeps, chocolate bunny’s, marshmallow eggs, and small toys, along with assorted candies and gifts. She would hide the baskets in some obtuse place and then attach multi-colored yarn to the handle and then run the yarn all over the house. She would rope me into the project and we would course this yarn under beds, in and out of the fireplace, through chairs, tiny little places where they would have to crawl through or under to follow the trail of the yarn.
They would start with the end of the twine attached to goofy bunny ears. They’d put on the ears and follow the yarn backwards until they discovered their personalized basket – ALWAYS to their joy and glee! If we had nieces and nephews with us, they too would participate and with the same outcome…lots of fun and laughter.Well, much to our surprise, Ashley asked her Mom if she would reinstate the Easter basket hunt as both girls, their husbands, and a niece and nephew from out of town were going to be celebrating the Easter weekend at our home. Even though retired, the Kindergarten teacher in Trish kicked in and she put together the most creative Easter bunny baskets. She and I had a ball running the yarn throughout the entire house…just like when the girls were our little “cherubs.” When the kids came into the house, the fun began as we watched, encouraged, gave clues, and harassed them as they followed the tortuous trails of the yarn until they found their prize.
And on Easter morning, we even had a full-blown Easter egg hunt in the backyard. Go figure that thirty-something adults would have so much fun “scampering” around the yard looking for hidden eggs!
Just when you think traditions are dead or the fun things when we were kids might seem to get lost over the years, we discover You Can Never Be Too Old to Be Young! If you want to see a short collage of the yarn-induced scavenger hunt, click on the photo and laugh.
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.”
Learn to appreciate the things you have before time forces you to appreciate the things you once had.
I recently received a communication from one of my incredible clients, Dr. Alex Della Bella, describing a circumstance that arose for he and his beautiful wife, Jennifer, just this past week. After discussing with him, I pleaded with him to allow me to share this remarkable and random act of kindness with my readers. Please take the time to read it…
Friend & classmate of Jennifer Della Bella
“Coach, I just wanted to share an experience Jen and I had this weekend.
A friend and classmate of Jen’s, a married mother of three and a really nice lady, died suddenly of a heart attack on Wednesday evening.
Through other friends, Jen learned that the family had no money for her funeral so the friends set out to do a fundraiser. They could only raise half of the $2000 needed for the expenses and everyone was worried about what to do. Jen and I discussed it (for about 10 seconds) and decided to write a check to the funeral home for $1000, which I did this afternoon. Jen gave it to the deceased’s husband this evening.
I just wanted to tell you how good it felt to be able to give back in this way to such a needy family in their hour of agony. It graphically helps us realize how truly blessed we are.“
What a spontaneous gesture of love, kindness and outreach by the Della Bella’s…all the while realizing gratitude for the bounty they have. Dr. Alex and Jen remind us all we need to learn to appreciate the things you have before time forces you to appreciate the things you once had.
Thank you Della Bella’s for your compassion, gentleness and humanity.
This random act of kindness teaches us that, instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we would be better to compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow man. It then appears, as Dr. Della Bella wrote, we are among the privileged.
“Coach Ron, I need a ‘bunch’ of new marketing ideas!”
This is the common comment I hear from dentists. My response is an emphatic:
No you don’t! Instead be persistently consistent with just a few things.
For some reason, we seem to think we need to come up with fancy, high-tech, innovative ideas to grow our business when, in fact, we know the ‘truth’ already. The truth is we are looking for a magic pill – something that is easy and requires little effort. Nonsense. We know what works. Just a few things that you do better than others and to do it more consistently…just like Rick from Clean Sweeps Chimney Sweeps.
Consider the following epiphanies:
- Non-negotiable service starts at the top. The more you talk about persistent, consistent service, the more it becomes a priority and a part of your business culture.
- Who’s losing sleep? Do you have a Chief Experience Officer in your business that keeps this priority alive?
- We’re in a ‘relationship economy’ and ‘touching’ people (metaphorically as well as physically) in the simplest ways will set you apart from the pack.
- Be better today than yesterday. Systematize the few things that you do better than others and do it more consistently.
What are your ‘few things’ that you do consistently that will bedazzle your patients? Sounds like a team-meeting topic.
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
Dad may be a Dork…but maybe he’s not so stupid after all
When my two daughters reached the age of 12, for their birthday, I confidently gave them a beautiful, leather-bound (with zipper) Franklin Goal Planner. Each was complete with calendar, visioning & planning tools, special ruler, and matching pen accouterments. I was so proud of myself. After all, I wanted my girls to grow up and be anal retentive, organized and future-focused like their Dad!
I knew this tool had been helpful to me in creating my vision for my dental practice, my family and my life and I wanted to pass on this wisdom to Ashley and Brianne. Can you imagine my dismay when they were less than impressed on receiving this gift and in both cases they declared, “Dad you really are a Dork. Who would ever give a Franklin Day Planner to their daughter on their 12th birthday?”
I’ve been in a state of constant depression for the past 17 years, afraid my daughters had no direction. (Tongue-in-cheek) I feared they were not listening to the old man’s words of wisdom. I was horrified at the thought they would be wayward in their direction.
Alas, no longer am I disheartened. Just this week my “favorite youngest” daughter, Brianne, sent me the following photo of her nearly completed VISION Board!
I rest my case…the kids were listening! Dad is hopeful knowing that she has taken the action steps to create her future of choice. I am renewed. She is amazing!! Brianne has reminded Dad “the future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.”
Your action step: Create a vision board to support the Core Values of your Dental Practice, and share it with your staff as a daily reminder. Let me know how it goes!
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’.
Yep, that is what I have heard time and time again over the years from clients when I insist that they develop, write out and share with their team their Business CORE VALUES. “Coach Ron, this is nothing more than an outdated corporate-world bunch of ‘crap’ to expect that I should do this nonsense“…is a common theme I hear.
Around Christmas time, I received a plea for help from a ‘former’ client who admonished me years ago for insisting he formulate these Governing Values for his practice and team. As he explained his conundrum, I asked him to pull out his list of CORE VALUES that had been conveniently filed in a desk drawer.
When I asked him to read them out loud, several jumped out for him: honesty and integrity, give my best always, each of us is our own manager, and speak impeccable words. Here were his final words to me:
“Coach Ron, after all these years, I had no idea why you wanted me to do this exercise and at this very moment, I now realize that these Guiding Principles are the solution to all my problems and certainly to my current challenge. I now have the solution to my difficulty and can I come back to work with you?“
While all my coaching seats are currently occupied, he immediately realized the value and the power of having his CORE VALUES as part of his practice Vision and culture. So, no…having written CORE VALUES is NOT a Bunch of Crap!
Because our profession is such a fragmented and cottage industry (getting three dentists to agree on anything is like pinning Jell-O to the wall);
Because the cost of dental education is growing exponentially;
Because there is literally no business or entrepreneurial training in the dental curriculum to educate the graduate how to be a CEO of a small business for the remainder of our lives;
Because the dental graduate finishes their training with upwards of $300,000 to $400,000 in school loans;
Because the costs of operating our solo dental practices (hospitals) continues to escalate;
Because of the huge influx of women into dentistry who often have different career paths with child-rearing and need for more flexible hours;
Because smart MBA-types have seen that dentists have essentially no business acumen and the practice margins have been so high;
Because the shift in patient/guest demands for better hours, greater convenience, one-stop-shopping, and reduced costs (Wal-Mart phenomenon);
Because of the way the consumer makes healthcare purchases on the internet;
Because the challenge for the solo practitioner to keep current with all the new technology is becoming financially an impossibility;
Because dentists, as a group, continue to put their heads in the sand with regard to running their business or deal with the economics related to their personal and financial success;
Because when our hands are not in someone’s mouth, we are not making money (a fundamental business challenge);
Because the average GP spends 35.8 hours per week in the dental practice with 32.6 of those hours treating patients leaving on average 3.2 hours to run a business;
Because we have had little to no behavioral science training;
Because REAL guest, world-class service is infrequently delivered in many dental offices;
Because the consumer is bombarded with 3,500 marketing messages every day;
Because of these current realities and a host of others we are very prone for the introduction of outside forces like Corporate dentistry, pressures from companies like Delta Dental, governmental intrusions, and never-ending price crushing demands by consumers.
Therefore, there are lots of reasons to be excited and a lot to be nervous about. For certain, there are a lot of reasons to sharpen your saws and spend your time, money and efforts wisely because the competitive landscape is increasing. Hope is not a strategy!
Here are the real questions to be asking yourself:
- What are you prepared to do and by when?
- How do you really want to practice and then lay out your strategy?
There is no magic pill ~~ there is no one guru to bail you out ~~ there is no 12-step secret formula. This is going to require WORK and thought and effort.
This is about you deciding if you want to be a part of the race to the bottom or do you want to take steps to cope with the current circumstances that are already upon us?