THE ENEMY WITHIN
The year is now half over and that means you have just 6 months remaining to make 2016 the best year ever for your practice. Most of us are still reeling from three recessions in a row and the ever-changing challenges of the new dental economy. It is probably just a coincidence, but I have had a lot of calls and discussions about staffing over the past several months. In fact, as more and more doctors have decided not to be a “settler” and actually improve their future by making the changes they need to make while becoming more engaged in their practice, many have realized that they have an enemy from within.
Every office contends with staff turnover, as well as the difficulty in finding great team members. But upon closer examination most doctors admit that there is at least one person within their team that, if that person quit, no one would be upset or disappointed. I call it the “Power of One”: When one person can inspire the entire team, or one person can bring them all down. Take a moment and think this through. Is there anyone that works for you that you wouldn’t be disappointed if they quit? They do an OK job but certainly are not standouts. Perhaps they sometimes stir the pot or tend to push your buttons? Maybe they just hide from view so they are totally unnoticed. If you can think of one, you are a “settler”. You have gotten to the point where the pain of change seems more overpowering than the benefits or pleasure of making that change. You are the person who allows mediocrity in your team and practice. The scary thing is that you know you should have let them go, but did nothing.
You will never go any further than the one person with the lowest commitment to your vision.
It’s the weakest link and yes, you’re guilty of sabotaging your practice by allowing that person to remain on your team. The key is to do something. I want to encourage you to begin a special 6-week mission.
- Begin with picking the very best. This rarely occurs when you hire out of desperation rather than a planned, consistent system of search and hiring protocols
- Use a rigorous selection process that involves allowing the team to participate in the selection. You should find that the team is intuitive about how to choose staff. Besides, if they help you make the selection, they will be engaged in making sure the new team member will succeed.
- There should be a strong training regime. Specific policy manual, training protocols, human resource policies and records, and a way to measure both progress and performance.
- Create an “Esprit de Corps” by establishing a noteworthy culture of trust, integrity, hard work, and great rewards for the entire office.
- Create consequences. Even great practices forget to enforce the overall culture of the office by creating effective, detailed consequences for not measuring up to the benchmarks of their position and your vision for the practice.
- Always look to improve the team. Yes, that means that you have to continue to look, hire, and fire during your entire career. Assemble a great team and it happens less often, but you still must continue to search for the best and brightest, most engaged people for your team. Be relentless!
Knowing that you have an enemy within that will hold you back, think about how keeping them employed affects the rest of the staff. By you not acting to quickly eliminate the saboteur by allowing them to continue with their negative ways, you are telling the rest of the team that you don’t care. It doesn’t take long for them to justify disengaging from being great and settle on just doing what they have to – just getting by, coasting. Live your life by striving. This is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS