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7.11.08 Issue #331 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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Does Your Function Serve The Big Picture?
Creating Mission Statements

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as I live it is my privilege—my privilege to do for it whatever I can.” —George Bernard Shaw

In the dental office, each team member has strengths to build on to become better performers and to meet the objectives of the practice. Weaknesses can be defined as areas that need further training or additional skills to be proficient at getting the job done. People in every workplace talk about working as a team, building the team and being part of the team, but few truly understand how to create the experience of teamwork or how to develop an effective team. In the broadest sense, belonging to a team is feeling part of something larger than you and being responsible to that larger purpose.

What is the “larger purpose” in the dental office? The root is the dentist’s mission statement of what his/her practice represents to himself/herself and to the community. A team cannot be supportive of a purpose unless it has been defined. Even though the employees have specific job duties, such as answering the phone and scheduling patients, and are identified as either front office or back office workers, they are still unified with the other organization members to accomplish the overall objective. The bigger picture drives your actions; your function exists to serve the bigger picture.
Let’s say that the bigger picture has been defined by the dentist/employer as the practice mission statement. It reads:

My practice mission is to continually and tirelessly work to promote the total health of my patients, my staff, my family and the community as a whole and, furthermore, to provide education and understanding of the benefits of quality dental care in a professional and clinically superb environment that my patients and community can look to with confidence.

My vision is to create a supportive professional dental team that shares my mission and works with me side by side to promote patient education and implement and support the delivery of excellent dental care in our community, resulting in a satisfying and stable working environment for all.

The last part of the bigger picture equation is setting the goals to get the mission accomplished. An important goal for the team would be to bring out the mission and vision statement every six months and reconnect with this important practice philosophy. The first line of the mission statement resolves to “work to promote the total health of each other and the patients. Is the team supportive of each other in carrying out daily tasks? There are days when you just don’t feel well and it is good to know that co-workers will rally around you and help you get through the day.

Does the team recognize when a patient is not feeling well and take the extra time to make the patient comfortable during the appointment? Total health encompasses not only teeth, but also a patient’s emotional, physical and spiritual state.

The next line of text in the mission statement, “provide education and understanding of the benefits of quality dental care,” represents a goal of continuing education not only for the patients but also for the team. The team should embrace continuing education as a vehicle to perfect their performance of clinical and business duties and to improve communication with patients on how dental care can improve and enrich their lives.

Without education, the team quickly becomes stagnant and out of touch with what is happening to the clinical and business side of dentistry. In this world of ever-changing technology, what is new today quickly becomes old. If a patient asks you what you think of laser dentistry, dental implants, Vizilite or optical scanners, how are you and the team going to answer if you don’t have the education to back up your reply? Promoting the spirit of education creates energy that mobilizes the team toward improving the skills to motivate patients to accept recommended treatment.

When the practice is operating from its mission statement, it defines the big picture from which the team develops its larger purpose.

McKenzie Management Advanced Training programs are designed to help the doctor and his/her key team members define and mobilize their big picture for the success of their practice.

For more information about McKenzie Management’s Advanced Training courses, email, call 1-877-777-6151 or visit our website at
Interested in having Belle speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.

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