Want to strengthen your team? Teach them to think like leaders

By Sally McKenzie, CEO Printer Friendly Version

The stronger your team, the more successful your practice will be. That’s why it’s so important to hire the right people and then provide them with the training and tools they need to excel. And part of that is teaching them to think like leaders.

That’s right, you need to train your team members to think like CEOs. What does that mean? First, make sure they know how valuable they are to the practice. Help them understand they’re not just another cog in the wheel, and that they have a stake in practice success. This will motivate them, resulting in a boost to practice productivity and your bottom line.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re no longer the practice CEO. You’re still the leader, and it’s up to you to provide team members with guidance in the form of job descriptions, continual feedback and training. As their leader, empower them to take ownership of their systems and give them the confidence they need to tackle small problems before they become big problems that damage the practice. They’ll come to work feeling more energized and satisfied with their roles, and will actually look for ways to improve their performance.

More benefits

When team members are engaged and understand their role in the practice, they’re less likely to leave. They see how valuable their contributions are and actually enjoy their workday. Unhappy employees, on the other hand, count the hours until it’s time to go home and become a distraction that brings the rest of the team down. They start looking for a new job, leaving you with a hole to fill once they find it. Remember, a stable team is one of the cornerstones of a profitable practice. Creating a team of CEOs will keep your employees connected to the practice.

Once you have trained your team members to think like CEOs, they’ll be more effective—enabling you to spend more time with patients. They’ll also be able to give you feedback that will help you improve the practice. To solicit this feedback, I suggest you ask your team of CEOs a few tough questions. This not only creates that CEO mentality, it leads to positive change that improves practice efficiencies and saves you money.

Not sure what to ask? Here are three questions to get you started:

“What is it time to get rid of?”

As the dental industry continues to change, it’s now critical for practices to keep up. Procedures that were routine 10 years ago might be antiquated today. If you’re still using those procedures, you’re behind other practices—and patients will notice.

Many dentists have the “this is how we’ve always done things” mindset and are resistant to change. The problem is, this mentality often leads to inefficiencies that waste your time and money. Asking team members about how they think the practice can be updated will help you see new ways to improve the practice, attract new patients and grow your bottom line.

“What would you change if you were paying the bills?”

It’s important for both you and your team members to pay attention to specific budget targets and to evaluate large purchases. Doing so can help you eliminate unnecessary expenses. Here’s an example. Let’s say no one is accountable for ordering supplies, so everyone places orders at different times. If no one is communicating, I guarantee team members are ordering items you already have. Making one person responsible for this task will help ensure you’re not ordering supplies you don’t need, saving you money.

“What systems are working well and how can they be improved?

Ask team members to report on their systems to let you know what efforts are getting positive results. I suggest doing this during monthly staff meetings so everyone hears about these successes. Take the opportunity to discuss what makes these systems successful and how you can implement similar approaches in other areas.

While it’s great to take a positive spin, it’s also important to talk about where systems are falling short. Again, that keeps everyone on the same page, and gives the team the opportunity to discuss what improvements should be made. Task someone with putting the changes in place, then take another look at the system during the next meeting. You should see improvements. If not, work with the team again to adjust your approach.

Sitting down with your team to answer these questions will go a long way toward improving your practice. It also shows team members you value their opinions. Here are a few other questions you might want to ask:

-What steps would you take to help patients say yes to treatment?

-What would you change to help the practice provide better customer service?

-What processes would you adjust to help the practice save money?

-How can we enhance patient care?

Your team members have a lot to contribute. Train them to think like CEOs and they’ll feel more empowered. You’ll have a stronger team with employees who are always looking for ways to improve their performance and move the practice forward. 

Until Next Thursday - Please Share this Newsletter

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
Interested in having McKenzie Management Seminars speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.
Be sure to find us on Facebook! Facebook Page