Secrets To Team Success (And Where “Culture” Ends)

In this week’s Report, we are going to get straight to the heart of the matter on the other side of the “people equation” and that is of course your team.

I often see teams who are having fun, like each other, and think they have a “great culture” but their performance is inconsistent and they aren’t even close to their true financial potential.

On the flip side, I see teams who crush it month in and month out but they aren’t happy, are stressed all the time, and always experience some form of drama.

The real trick is to find a balance between both extremes where you are taking care of your team, your patients, and yourself, all at the same time.

Just like it’s not enough to have happy patients – they also have to be healthy patients.  You also want to have happy team members – they also have to be high performing team members.

As we discussed, you must have a mission for your patients, a deliberately created and orchestrated patient experience, and a commitment to comprehensive diagnosis.  This week, you will repeat this same concept for your team members.

Which is why we call them “patient number one” because you have to focus on them first.  Your patient outcomes will always be a direct result of your team members’ attitudes, mindsets, capabilities, and skills.  

The real magic behind those principles are ensuring that everyone is on the same page and that these principles are common practice; not as an exception or once in a while when everything goes perfectly.

So, moving to your team, consider this…

How do you define success as a team, with relating it back to your patients?  

This is bigger than just “culture.”  We can talk about culture until we are blue in the face but the real questions are how do you define your purpose as a team and how do you know when you are successfully executing it?

Even more specific how will you take care of each other, how will you be accountable to one another, how will you keep your morale up, and how will you know you are performing at a high level?

I urge every doctor to really know their team in terms of what motivates them, what they are working on in their lives, where are they thriving, and where are they struggling.

I’m sure you’ve heard this from me before: if you treat them like employees they will behave like employees. Employees show up, leave, and get paid regardless of whatever happens in between.

Instead, we want a team environment where everyone wants to help each other do well and where everyone wins together.

The next component you need is the equivalent of your “patient experience” for your team – your “team experience” for each day.  This is divided this into four areas.

First, new members have to be integrated into the team.  How do we get them up to speed and how do we indoctrinate them into our culture?  This includes everything from roles and responsibilities to vocabulary and communication and everything else.

Second, your daily communications and determining how you “win the day” individually and collaboratively.  What are the expectations when you show up to the Morning Huddle (early, on time, dressed, fed, ready, charts reviewed, game plan set).

Third, when everyone is on the clock and in the game.  Who does what, how do you stay on time, executing each triangle of trust, checks-and-balances for the patient experience, and ensuring everyone is set up for success.

Finally, you have the end of the day conclusion when you debrief the day, celebrate victories, address any mistakes, and prepare for tomorrow.

A beginning, a middle, and an end to your day is all you’ve got to help more patients get healthy.

Beyond daily, there is the third layer of the team dynamic which is the monthly communication plan from the weekly check-ins to team trainings, from practice projects to tracking success.

Each month should have a focus – what you are going to work on and improve.  Obviously, most of your reports and stats will be based on the month which allows time for review and course correction.

The final component is the annual plan for the team and each individual.  This could be quarterly retreats, annual reviews, goal setting, bonus structures, performance incentives, and clinical or professional development.

Think about how you enhance the lives of your team while also moving your practice forward.  That include activities such as team charity events, community involvement, or other creative ideas.

You can divide this up amongst your team members who enjoy event planning, have a passion for a cause, or skillful at certain tasks.

The team side of the practice requires as much time and attention as the patient side and the practice performance.  The real secret is to go back to making the team stronger, the communication better, the vision clearer, and the confidence of the team greater.

At the end of the day, most team members want to do well but they can only thrive in the appropriate environment and with a structure that allows for self-improvement.

Everyone wants better patients but most doctors never realize that better patients are the result of a better team.  You can’t just run them through some cookie-cutter generic system or pass out a book once a year.  Instead, you have to build culture from the inside out and you have to have a system for success that is customized to your unique practice.

Helping more patients get healthy starts with your team first.  Spend more time here and success everywhere else becomes easier.

Next week, we’ll get into one of the most advanced Weekly Reports I’ve ever written.  

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