I love to say that Dentistry is a Team Sport. And isn’t that the truth. When you think about it, how much of your practice operations do you not deal with at all during any given day? How much of your practice operations do you not even really know about or could do on your own if you had to? Maybe you once did everything but now someone handles the phone, scheduling, insurance, software even ordering and who knows what else.
And I’m just talking operations. Think about the patient dynamics, the communication, and all the moving parts of the practice.
You are outnumbered. While no one will have more control or impact over your success than you – there is no question that combined the team has more hands on more levers than you do.
My point is simple: it takes a team to win and to win consistently.
And that also begets the greatest challenge of them all. It’s not about ‘managing’ or ‘leading’ per se (though we will be talking about that in just a couple weeks), instead the greatest challenge is the reliability with performance.
The more humans you throw in the mix, the more differences you have to deal with. Whether you have a few team members or an army of team members, what matters is how well they perform day to day with patients and with each other.
So, what drives consistency?
There are four key factors to it.
To begin, every team member has to have awareness of what they are responsible for and clarity over the expectations for results. I can’t emphasize this enough as the very first step.
All the training in the world doesn’t create clarity over someone’s role, expectations, and what exactly a successful outcome should look like.
I get this all the time with scheduling… schedule’s full… I got them in… they did a crown…
While these might be circumstantially good things; in the grand scheme, they may or may not be a “success.”
The simple answer is you have to make certain that every team member is laser focused on a this. It should be written out as defined protocols that are actually outlining success for them in their positions.
The next key piece for consistency is of course their skill set. Providing the training necessary to improve their performance so that they are set up for success. This is more than just having the right people in the right places. It is going to work to advance the proficiency of each person in their specific role to become the best they can be so that their success is more predictable.
I see so many team members set up for failure because they are not given the specific tools, resources, and systems to help ensure they have what they need to do a great job and to win for the team.
For each position should always have something they are working to get better at and they should have dedicated time to work on it. You should do everything possible to avoid people falling into the routine of going through the motions instead of working to accomplish goals and deliver outcomes.
It doesn’t matter whether it is turning rooms, having trays ready, reading the doctor’s mind, collecting money, filling hygiene, value based scheduling, taking pictures, or talking treatment plans. Everyone can improve in some way all the time and the more specific this is for each individual the more consistent their performance will be.
The next contributor to consistency is one that most teams miss altogether in terms of intentionally focusing on it and bringing it to life. This is all about the consistency of teamwork and the successful communication that is required to ensure that every team member has each other’s back.
Now, this should come to life in your culture. Helping one another. Not siloed divisions with different roles and different parts of the practice but all together working as one unit, one organization, one team, one goal every single day.
Of course, this begins with morning huddles and ends with end of day debriefs. However, it is more than just book ending the day, it is about each person rallying together to help each other win.
When you have a culture of true teamwork and you are caring for each other even before you are caring for patients, then you will elevate the performance of all people.
Remember this: your first customers are your Team Members – take care of them and they will take care of your patients better than you could imagine.
This deserves a deeper dive another time. I’m telling you, it can always be better and if there is any fragmentation in your practice it is hurting you.
Finally, and to state the obvious, consistency comes from tracking and reflecting on what actually happened. This is the old “inspect what you expect.”
Simply put, every team member must self-monitor. This is the difference between amateurs and professionals, from going through the motions and owning results. Everyone should be reporting back on how they are doing and what their level of success is like compared to the goals they had. This also allows them to ask for help or offer up assistance to others.
This, coupled with the teamwork, bring you to a higher level of practice performance and it is a difference maker because you will have every team member striving to improve.
You see how these all go together? Really you can’t have one without the others; clarity of expectations, being equipped to make it happen, having a team dynamic that helps everyone win, and then reviewing progress with each other.
This is what makes championship level teams and what eliminates inconsistencies. It isn’t done by force, it is done by having a success system and a culture where team members that take their responsibilities seriously.
Next week, we’ll be diving into everything related to Patient Experience and building a framework for consistent success with every patient. You’ll see that consistent success with your team is the foundation for all that is to come.
You’ve got a lot to think about here and I’d take this to your team so each person can self-assess. Commit to building a team that is better and more together than ever before!