This phrase is attributed to Peter Drucker decades ago, but is as valid today as when he coined the phrase. You might want to consider this as one of the top ten leadership habits in creating the practice you always wanted to have. Every position in a dental practice should have a measurable benchmark (metric) that quantifies the job description you have for that individual. For example, a Hygienist would have a complete job description, and we would measure (graph) their production on a weekly basis, the number of scaling and root planing procedures on a weekly basis, and the number of crowns they discussed with patients on a weekly basis. What gets measured, gets done. In fact, every staff position and every system can be measured. The data we measure needs to improve the system, so we must be very intentional about our goal and the end result we hope to improve. These graphs are set up by the doctor/owner but filled in by hand by the staff member responsible for that job, and should be posted so that every member of the team can see all of them. Keeping these graphs by hand adds accountability and engagement in the process and insures that the data they keep will be used to improve the system. When you begin the journey of measuring your staff and systems, please keep in mind these three important facts:
1. Goals and metrics need to reinforce the business results you seek. First comes the vision, then a plan, and finally the measurements that create accountability for each individual.
2. We as owners or leaders of our practices must “link” the action with a benefit for the staff member and the practice. They must see the intention, and the “why” of doing something as well as a benefit for themselves.
3. Leadership must follow. Simply measuring will NEVER insure that an action gets done. Too many of us just direct our staff or demand a change or action without providing the challenge, feedback, and inevitable consequences. Your job as the leader involves more than just saying something. You are also responsible for what each team member hears and understands how what you have asked will impact them.
There are two types of staff members: One is an employee that just needs to receive more training; the other is an employee you need to free up their future. We can ill afford to keep marginal staff and expect a great team, and definitely not a great practice. It is time to take advantage of measuring performance to increase and improve what gets done.
Michael Abernathy, DDS