The aha moment: It's not about how much you can do

Nov. 20, 2014
Look in the mirror. The greatest hindrance to the growth of your practice is staring back at you, plain and simple.

BY Jay Geier

Look in the mirror. The greatest hindrance to the growth of your practice is staring back at you, plain and simple.

The problem is, you think that you can "do it all." You actually like carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders - dragging around an overwhelming to-do list.

You feel important. Necessary. But trying to do it all is hurting your practice and putting you behind the competition. It's time for a reality check.

The most satisfying aha moment you'll ever have is when you realize it isn't about how much YOU can do. It is about what you can compel and inspire other people to do.

The only thing you have control over is what you can change - so start by changing how you handle your team. You need to stop protecting your workload and train your team to carry it with you.

After many years of leading a fast-paced, high-performing, and constantly expanding team, these are the principles I've discovered that will unlock your team's potential for success.

1. Hiring is only 10% of the work - When a new hire joins my team, I know that only 10% of the work is done, and they are only at 10% of capacity. Training them is the other 90% required to bring them to success.

2. Don't let past experiences dictate your expectations - You will never see me giving a new hire credit for experience earned at a previous position because you can't deposit "experience" at the bank. The only evidence of their competency is what they produce here and now.

3. Put your new hires out on the ledge - Every baby bird has anxiety about leaving the nest. They know they'll either fly or crash to the ground. If you want your team to operate at maximum capacity, you need to treat your new hires like baby birds. Give them extremely high expectations.

4. Describe your vision for their role, and test them at a high level - A new hire can only achieve high expectations if he or she is given a clear vision of success in the new role. Once you've explained your vision, make a point of testing the person at a high level right out of the gate.

5. Sell them on your vision - It takes around 21 days to form a habit. The same is true for engraining your vision into the brains of your team. You will have to repeat it so many times that it will seem ridiculous. If your engagement is not 100%, no one will buy it.

6. Turn frustration into an opportunity to grow - Every time you feel frustration bubbling up, it means there is a space just waiting to be filled with opportunity. When your team members screw up (which, of course, they will), take a moment to retrain them so that they can do their jobs more efficiently.

7. Constantly create and implement deadlines - Human nature is to evade deadlines whenever possible. If an excuse can be made, it will be. That's why you, as the leader of your practice, need to create and implement strict deadlines by which your team will successfully operate.

8. Tie employee compensation to results - This strategy is really just meant to simplify all of the complicated money nonsense. Here's what you need to do - sit your employees down and show them on paper what you want them to produce and what they will earn in return. There are no emotions or excuses to this method, just math.

9. If they still aren't doing it right, take control - If you have repeatedly corrected their way of doing something and they still insist on doing it wrong, start doing it for them. Show them how it should be done, and let them watch you do it correctly. No discipline on earth is more inspiring than watching your boss do your job better than you.

Being the primary doctor in a practice is a lot like being the first runner in a relay race. You can sprint your very hardest and kill yourself beating the competition, but, when you get to the handoff mark, you have to give the baton to the next runner. You have to give it to your teammate. Then the race is in their hands.

It isn't all about how much YOU can do because I promise you, you simply can't do it alone. Train your team, including your associates, to be the best they can be, so that when you have to hand off the baton, you can feel confident you will win the race.

If you've just had an aha moment and are ready to unlock your team's potential for success, call (844) 242-1992, or visit and click on the orange "Rate My Practice" button to see how your practice ranks against the competition.

Jay Geier is the president of Scheduling Institute. With over 16 years of experience and over 2,900 members, Jay Geier's Scheduling Institute has redefined the industry standard for excellence, and is the largest dental training company in the world. DE readers can request a free Practice Transformation Package at (844) 242-1992.

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