Leading your practice is the reality of being the dentist-owner. Being the leader is not always fun or glamorous, but when done right it helps everyone win – including you, doctor.
In the current state of our industry, many practices are adding new team members while trying to keep the team they have. The real measure of leadership is building up others to succeed and win. Remember, winning is different for each practice; you get to define that. Sometimes it is about production and collection numbers. Other times it is a focus on how well we are providing comprehensive care to our patients. Things that help the team feel like they are winning include getting out on time, having fun, taking care of patients, and changing lives! Working as a team and feeling it! Sometimes it is about that “bonus” and remember, if we are helping our patients at a high level, everything else will fall in place.
Here are five things you can start doing today to have an impact on your patients, team, and practice:
- Always be in the habit of preparing. Prepare for emergencies, i.e., when someone is out, patients are late, or power goes out! I encourage you to make this part of your culture. We are a practice that is always works on getting better. Be prepared for anything. Train your team to look for and use these opportunities for growth. I believe in cross training for this very reason; be prepared in case we must put you in! Doing the things every day that you know will pay off in the long run. It is like taking your CPR training, so you are prepared should you need it.
- Know what must happen to win. Leaders that set clear goals set their team up for success. We know our number one goal is taking great care of patients! How do we do that? Are we doing that at a high level? After years of working with doctors and teams, one thing I often see when the team KNOWS what the goals are, they most often go and get them! The team becomes accountable for their role in the practice as well as supporting others so the patients and practice win.
- Make sure the team knows they can win. When the team believes in itself, the leader, and their abilities there is not much the team cannot do. Start each day with a positive note, or words. As an example: “Here is how we are going to win today: seat patients on time, schedule patients for next visit, add in same day service, etc.” Goals should excite us and scare us at the same time. We do not want to set an unrealistic goal for the team, and we want them to have to push and work for it. Is your team up to the challenge?
- Leaders must believe in their team. If you do not have confidence in them, train them. If they are not playing at the level you need and want, they cannot play on your team. Surround yourself with team members in whom you believe; maybe you see talent in them that they don’t even see yet. Help build up other leaders on your team.
- Always strive for improvement. Are you, as the dentist/owner seeking out continuing education are you helping find it for your team? This does not even have to involve leaving the office. You must make time to work ON your business, not just in your business. Investing time with your team to help them be better is always going to be a win. Many team meetings can be run more efficiently. This includes time to train. Use the talents on your team to help train others when possible. This should also be one of your culture pieces for the practice, striving for each team member to improve and learn new skills.
As leaders we need to ask ourselves – “Are we doing what it takes to win? Are we setting up our team to win? Are we prepared for the challenges? Are we progressing and growing as a team and practice?”
If not, we need to get intentional about our strategic plan for moving forward with a winning team, winning patients, and winning practice. It is never too late to create and execute a winning strategy!