Resolve to get staff involved

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and you are looking forward to a great 1998. Of course, this is the time of the year when we all at least think about making some New Year`s resolutions. I usually make a bunch, but then don`t tie any action plan to them. They are but a faint memory a few weeks later.

Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor

e-mail: joeb@pennwell.com

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and you are looking forward to a great 1998. Of course, this is the time of the year when we all at least think about making some New Year`s resolutions. I usually make a bunch, but then don`t tie any action plan to them. They are but a faint memory a few weeks later.

I am sure that most of you have already set your office goals for 1998. I hope that you included the people that you work with when you made those plans for ´98. The

people we call staff or team are the ones who will have the most impact on whatever you plan to do. If they believe in you and have bought into the goals, I have no doubt that you will probably surpass them. If, however, you have an authoritarian style and you have simply told everyone what is expected of them, I doubt if you will even come close.

I urge you to unleash the power of your team. I visit and talk to a lot of dental offices. It never ceases to amaze me at the differences. Some offices are upbeat and happy to see you or talk to you on the phone, while others seem to secretly wish you would go away. I have often wondered what the difference is. I did an all-day seminar for the dental society in Wisconsin recently. It was a great crowd and many offices had their entire teams there. When I entered the room where lunch was being served, most everyone had a place. But I spied an empty chair at a table with nine women and so I grabbed it. The ladies were all from one office and we had a great time. Lots of conversation about the office and what makes it different.

As we talked about the office, it became clear that the dentist was very involved in sharing his vision and providing the leadership. They had meetings on a regular basis to set their goals and then to track their results and make any necessary mid- course changes.

A goal and an action plan without a tracking and evaluation mechanism is worthless. The only way to track what is happening in the office is for the team to have full access to the office financial records. The most common excuse that I hear for not doing this is that the staff members will know how much the dentist gets paid. Don`t you think they have already guessed, and it is probably higher than you actually take home? It was great when my staff members saw the numbers. We immediately raised fees because they felt I was underpaid.

I hope that you will sit down and write your vision of the practice. Get your staff together and share that vision. Ask team members to join you in planning the goals for your practice. Unleash the power and get out of the way! Amazing things will happen. Next, get your calendar out and plan some continuing education for you and your staff for 1998. There are some great communication courses and hands-on workshops. Remember that 80 percent of your practice is communication, and only 20 percent is technical.

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