Ethical Sales and Communication with our patients is one of the core values of the best dental practices I work with. Clear communication remains the most challenge aspect of both personal and business relationship growth. Dental Practice Report published our article The Importance of Creating and Building Relationships with the Dental Patient. Dr. Erin Elliott and I discuss the relationship rules that apply to our personal and professional communication:
- People choose other people they like and trust
- The best way to know what someone wants is to ask
- Don’t make assumptions or you may believe them to be true
- If you don’t like the answers you’re getting, ask better questions
- There’s never a second chance to make a great first impression
- If someone does not weigh in on a decision, they cannot truly buy into it
Here’s the link: Read my full article on the importance of creating & building a relationship with the dental patient published on Dental Products Report
Just back from speaking at the Excellence in Dentistry, Inc. meeting in Destin, Florida. The theme of this year’s meeting was “The Godfathers of Dentistry” You may see in the photo that this was my second “Godfather” experience. This time I was dubbed “The Voice” and presented Breakthrough Communication Success, Six Surprisingly Simple, yet oh, so powerful steps to improve communication and bottom-line results with your team and patients:
#1 Ditch the Drama #2 It’s a Simple Choice #3 Challenge the Status Quo
#4 Set Clear Expectations #5 Tap into Purpose #6 Distinguish Yourself
What a thrill to be part of an awesome speaker lineup that included Dr. Gordon Christensen, Dr. David Phelps, Dr. Bruce Baird, Rachel Teel Wall & Wendy Briggs.
A stroll on the pier’s boardwalk at the end of the meeting ended with one of my heels falling 20 feet below into the bay, unretrievable. Nothing left to do but make a wish & toss the other one into the water. Considering the theme, I’m glad it’s just my shoes that are swimming with the fishes!
As I visit dental practices I believe we’ve all been reaping the benefits of a kinder, smarter, more collaborative female perspective. It would seem women have realized the power and influence we have to create a healthier workplace and we are stepping up to the opportunities at hand. Read the full text of this article from the Spring 2014 Excellence in Dentistry Magazine Breakthrough Communication Success is both my passion and the title of my presentation at the 2014 Excellence in Dentistry Annual Spring Break Seminar Opening Day, Thursday April 10, 2014 in Destin, Florida . Please join me as it’s now up to us as leaders to embrace this new perspective and recognize the opportunities at hand. Forget follow the leader, let’s “Be the Jones” and lead our teams on purpose.
Employee drama, left unchecked is like a dust storm stirring up trouble as it blows through the office. Stick to the facts at hand to avoid being blinded and losing your way. Miscommunication and gossip create the whirlwind of drama. Drama is expensive in terms of time, talent and bottom-line success. Stick to the facts and clear the air.
Here’s an example a team member submitted to Dentistry IQ along with Ginny Hegarty’s answer as published in an August 2013 Thursday Troubleshooter.
Q: Our office manager has been in our practice for 30 years and she has a very overpowering personality. She can be quite abrasive and acts very disrespectful at times. She comes and goes as she pleases and has even gotten to the point of having us do a lot of her work. I know she is valuable to the practice, but some of team members are leaving because of her actions. I really like my job and the dentist, and I would like to know the best way to handle this. Our entire team feels the same way as I do.
A: From Ginny Hegarty SPHR, President, Dental Practice Development, Inc., and current president of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants:
It’s very brave of you to want to step up and take this on, and I commend you for your courage. I think my response will give you the very best opportunity to create a positive outcome for everyone. I offer it with all due respect as I’ve been where you are.
There’s a lot going on in your question. Let’s start here. One thing that jumps out at me is that you’re making some judgments that I suggest you revisit. I say this because of your statement, “Our entire team feels the same way I do.” This tells me that rather than each of you talking directly with your office manager, you are all talking “about” your office manager. This is counterproductive and won’t help any of you.
I realize that it’s very difficult to approach someone that you see as “abrasive and disrespectful,” but have you given any thought to how the office manager may feel she is perceived or treated? Is it possible the office manager could be responding in kind to the negativity and tension in the relationship?
Here’s something I have confirmed over and over again with teams I work with. When asked, “If you were personally doing something that was holding the team back, would you want, a) a coworker to tell you directly b) coworkers to talk amongst themselves about the issue or c) coworkers go to the dentist/owner with the issue,” I consistently hear that team members overwhelmingly prefer that someone come to them directly. This kind of leadership and accountability involves constructive confrontation of the issues rather than involving others in your issues.
Once we involve others, we discuss our opinions and we start judging. By definition, judging is forming an opinion of somebody or something. If this is done before speaking directly with the person, these opinions are made without all the relevant facts.
These opinions then become the story we tell ourselves about what is going on, rather than what is actually happening. The story takes on a life of its own, drama ensues, and many well-intentioned people get hurt. This can be overwhelming for everyone on the team, including the office manager.
As time goes on, there can be so many layers and twists to the plot and so many hurt feelings, that people forget where the line between fact and fiction is. In my experience, everyone soon has a well rehearsed part to play and the practice moves further away from the truth into a soap opera of its own creation. It’s time to stop this insanity.
I have two recommendations for you:
First, I’d ask you to take a deep breath and revisit your story. Take your question apart line by line and remove your opinions so that you have only the facts at hand.
I think you’ll be left with:
* The office manager has been there 30 years
* You like your job and your dentist
* There is a situation that needs to be handled
* You want to help
Second, I would consider “how can you help?” You might consider one last behind the scenes meeting with your coworkers to discuss taking personal accountability to focus on solutions rather than blame.
Then, begin by addressing your own responsibilities or concerns with your office manager. Start with one pressing issue, not a list of past issues. Your goal is to change the dynamic and make it more positive and productive. This is a process. When others come to you to discuss their issues, do not get involved; encourage them to also take their concerns directly to the office manager.
I’m not blaming you or your coworkers, your office manager, or your doctor. You’ll notice that I haven’t addressed the issue of blame at all. I don’t know enough to even begin to, and it would be counterproductive. It’s far more effective to discuss shared purpose and positive change with a forward focus. You all deserve better. Hopefully this is a good first step for all of you.
You might also want to address the bigger team issue, and realize that when this type of drama thrives, profitability generally suffers. What’s the best way to support the entire team to start over with new intention? What are your shared goals? How can you bring everyone together to work toward solutions and avoid blame? Often, this is best done in a practice retreat with an outside, objective facilitator guiding the group. Please feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re in the Fayetteville, Arkansas area this Friday, August 23, 2013 please join me for Wild Smiles 2013
I’ll be presenting Breakthrough Communication Success and will be joined on the program by Garrett Gunderson, Dr. Marie T. Fluent, Teresa Duncan and Rita Zamora
THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION IS OVER. The world has changed. We see this change at every turn as technology influences all aspects of our lives. For those of us whose parents raised us on the value of a great work ethic, it’s important to recognize and respond to the fact that the Industrial Revolution is over. With all due respect to our well-intentioned parents, a great work ethic is no longer enough. Today you must engage both your employee and your client’s hearts and heads to effectively connect and create practice growth and success.
After all the cutting edge education and sexy technology is in place, the magic doesn’t happen until your people engage. A Blessings White study done in 2011 reveals that only two of every six employees is truly engaged in the vision and mission of the business. Engagement then is the single biggest leadership challenge that business owners and managers face these days.
A recent INC Magazine article spotlighted the most effective leaders today realize that the workforce no longer responds to the Oz model of leadership; the all knowing, all powerful doesn’t play anymore. We’ve moved from The Age of Autocracy and leaders like Jack Welch in the 80s through The Age of Empowerment with leaders like Meg Whitman in the 90s and we’re now firmly in The Age of Nurture with leaders like Tony Hsieh of Zappos and Whole Food’s John Mackey.
We hear a lot about Culture these days, especially some very famous companies that differentiate themselves with their culture. For example, Apple has a culture of innovation. Zappos’ culture is to “Deliver Happiness.” Fed Ex and Southwest Airlines are companies that have very strong cultures. It’s important to remember 3 things regarding your culture:
- Culture is not a program, it’s a core belief that has staying power and could last forever
- Culture is your differentiator; it’s why your team and your patients will choose you over another practice.
- Culture cannot be bought; it develops from the inside out, with habits over time.
In my upcoming webinar as part of the Patterson Dental Practicing With the Masters Series, I am challenging attendees to ‘BE the Joneses.” The challenge is to stop playing follow the leader and instead to lead on purpose. My intent is that you lead both deliberately (on purpose) and meaningfully (with a focus on your own unique purpose). Once you’ve come together to fully understanding Why You Do What You Do & Who You Are Being When You Do It, your systems, protocols will create structure around your culture.
Please join me on Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 11:00am Central