Do You Have the “Local” Advantage or Disadvantage?
Dr. Nancy Haller
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As the Dental Leader, you are a significant key to the success or failure of your practice. You possess essential technical know-how. You control critical resources. You are accountable for business outcomes. But you don’t do it alone. You have to manage relationships with employees, patients, even vendors. How these individuals see you has a huge impact on your bottom line.
Want to be a better leader? It’s time to do a 360. As the term implies, it means going full circle. Also known as multi-rater feedback, 360 surveys allow participants to receive job-performance feedback from all levels of the organization. This strategy can yield results that will be returned exponentially.
In dentistry, as in businesses elsewhere, leaders rarely receive accurate feedback. The old adage, it’s lonely at the top, rings true. Direct, open feedback is in short supply in many organizations. Most employees are reluctant to give feedback to their boss, especially if it’s not positive. For this reason, the 360 survey provides developmental feedback to leaders from the people who surround them. It is a tool used by the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies today.
Why is it called “360”?
Imagine standing on a mountain top, seeing everything within three hundred and sixty degrees. The view would be circular. So too with a 360 survey—feedback is obtained in a circle. Leaders receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around them. In a traditional organizational hierarchy, feedback comes from a person’s subordinates, peers and boss. In some cases, external sources such as customers and suppliers or other interested stakeholders are invited to give feedback.
360 feedback enables leaders to learn about their workplace behavior from several sources within the organization. It is collected electronically and with confidentiality. For feedback raters to be candid, they must have anonymity. The survey questions in a 360 cover a broad range of leadership competencies. The person receiving feedback also fills out a self-rating survey that includes the same questions that others receive.
The purpose of the 360 feedback is to identify your strengths and weaknesses in order to increase personal or team effectiveness. The most effective 360 feedback processes focus on observed behaviors that can be modified. The aggregate summary report provides information about whether intentions are matching impact. That is, do others see you as you see yourself? Do others see you the way you want to be seen?
The outcome of a 360 is invaluable behavioral insight—knowledge that all leaders need to have about the way people perceive them. By having increased awareness of their competencies, leaders can identify crucial actions they should continue to demonstrate and behaviors that they should stop. By inviting employees to give feedback, there is a greater climate of trust within the leader’s “circle.” They realize that she/he is striving for continuous improvement. In turn this can incentivize employees to focus on their own development.
There are standardized surveys as well as customized methods for 360 feedback. The advantage of standardized surveys is that they have been well researched and are known to assess leadership characteristics. In addition, standardized surveys may have normative data that have been collected from multiple sources, which allows for comparisons. Customized 360s are just that—they are developed specifically for one organization. A customized 360 feedback questionnaire can be useful if designed to fit the exact needs and organizational development objectives. However, given the cost and time involved to customize a 360 feedback questionnaire, psychometrically sound (reliable and valid); off-the-shelf questionnaires are well worth the trade-off.
360 feedback is usually conducted with the support of a facilitator. That person is trained in the interpretation and use of 360 data. She/he helps to create an individual action plan to build on identified strengths and to develop new leadership competencies. The goal is to make your leadership more effective and your practice more successful.
Dr. Haller is available to coach you to higher levels of performance in your practice. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in having Dr. Haller speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.
McKenzie Management received a call from an office manager, Suzie, who was aware the hygiene department in her practice needed improvement.
Because she had read many McKenzie Management E-Newsletters she was aware of what the hygiene production numbers should be. She also knew their numbers were not on target. In fact, their numbers had been declining for several months and she was concerned. Though she was able to make a basic assessment, she did not possess the knowledge required to make the numbers go the other direction.
She recognized she was going to need all the solid information that she could get because the doctor she worked for was not in favor of consulting services. He thought things were going along just fine, but Suzie knew the facts did not support his thoughts.
Another concern was the manner in which one of the hygienists, Heidi, was practicing. She did not attend any continuing education courses unless she absolutely had to and was not abreast of current methodology. She was a friendly, “chat and polish” hygienist concerned with how the families of the patients were doing and where Johnny was going to college and if Sara was getting married. This type of information exchange certainly can develop patient relations, but the conversation cannot stop there. Dentistry needs to be brought into the conversation. After all, isn’t this why patients have their teeth professionally cleaned and examined? If dental situations, particularly periodontal conditions, are not evaluated and discussed it is irresponsible and not in the patient’s best interest.
On top of this the doctor had fallen into the same pattern as Heidi the hygienist. He too had more of a social focus and less of a dental focus during the examination. He was relying upon the hygienist to let him know what she found. Oh, she did fill him in on the patient’s latest personal news, but when the doctor did not hear any dental concerns from the patient or the hygienist, he dismissed the patient with a casual, “See you next time!” There was never any talk regarding periodontal disease, pocket depths, etc. Heidi did not feel comfortable enough to bring up the issue of periodontal disease. She had been seeing these folks for years and had not discussed anything other than personal issues while cleaning their teeth. How was she supposed to tell the patients they have periodontal disease?
Luckily for Suzie and the entire dental team, her concerns were addressed. She received information and support from the McKenzie Management team, so she was able to convince the doctor to participate with McKenzie Management utilizing their Hygiene Enrichment Program . The following is the practice analysis data.
There were 2,004 patient charts in file cabinet, but only 1,154 active recall patients. 850 patients had not been retained over two years.
Post-consulting data (for the 4 months following consulting program):
The numbers tell the story of success but the most important improvement came from the patients. Because the doctor, hygienists and the rest of the team learned how to change the systems affecting patient care, a measurable difference in patient acceptance and compliance took place.
Need help with implementing new systems in your Hygiene Department to ensure patient acceptance and compliance? Email email@example.com.
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