If You Had Only Told Me!

by Dr. Ron Arndt

Dental office receptionist new patients
Unfortunately for dental teams, unclear expectations are the norm in most offices.

When I hear dentists complain about mal-performance of a team member, the first place that I look to find an answer is discovering how clear the doctor was in explaining the outcomes.

This is what I typically hear: “I explained it fine and for crying out loud they’re old enough to know better. Do I have to be a babysitter?

Example:
Doctor: “Gail, I need the Morning Huddle Sheet ready to go.”
Result: Gail comes to the Morning Huddle with only half the numbers filled in, after she had to leave the room to go to the front desk to print off some relevant information causing the meeting to be disjointed and start late.

Instead, why not consider the following: “Gail, consistent with our core value of timeliness and preparation, I need you to be at the Morning Huddle with the huddle sheet completely filled out with all the accurate data and in advance of everyone being in the room. Additionally, I need you to make certain everybody has their own individual copy.”

Follow-up:
“Gail, please tell me what is your understanding of what I just requested.”

The key lesson is to:
Explain up front with complete clarity and detail on what you want
• Give a “by when” date
• Ask the staff member to re-iterate their understanding of the task

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