11.23.07 - Issue # 298 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Dr. Nancy Haller
Dentist Coach
McKenzie Management
coach@ mckenziemgmt.com
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Develop a Gratitude Attitude in Your Practice

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
- William James

It’s Thanksgiving. The holiday dedicated to the celebration of our blessings.

Consider how things might be if you gave thanks every day…communicated appreciation for all the good things others do for you in your practice.

Think about all the people who inspire and help you. In addition to your staff, there may be a vendor who goes the extra mile. Or the mail carrier who has a great sense of humor and adds levity to stressful days. You may feel grateful for their service but is your appreciation obvious to them?

Perhaps you have fallen into the trap of griping (even if only thinking it) about the shortcomings of your employees. Of course your scheduler could chat less and focus more on filling holes in your day. Your clinical assistant could be a better organizer. Reduced tension between the front and back office would be grand.

Be careful. Each grumble puts you into a mindset of depreciation. It’s akin to the half-empty vs. half-full perspective. The former provokes feelings of loss – something’s missing - while the latter leads to feelings of optimism.

At any given moment, each one of us has complete control over what we think. We can enrich the quality of our lives. By raising the level of appreciation in your office you open yourself up to a more bountiful practice.

An attitude of gratitude strengthens employees, makes them more efficient. It heightens morale. It increases teamwork. It makes the office more pleasant. Employees treat patients better. When people feel valued they are more creative and productive.

You say “they know how I feel”, but it’s essential that they hear you say it out loud. True gratitude needs to be personal and genuine. Furthermore, it's not just saying thank you, but how you show it that makes all the difference.

Fostering appreciation in the workplace begins with you, the dental leader. You can make the difference. You can take the responsibility for carrying the spirit of appreciation each day to your practice, letting the power of gratitude revitalize your office.

Appreciation poured into your practice is like water and food to flowers; it helps everything blossom and grow. Things become fresh and alive again. Today, as always, people are craving to be appreciated!

Five easy ways to say thank you:

Write a note of thanks.  Consider how uplifting it would be for your employees if you sent them notes of appreciation, in your handwriting, in an envelope, with a stamp on it!  It needn’t be long but it must be sincere.

Surprise post-it notes. Imagine how great employees would feel coming back from lunch to find a note of gratitude taped on their monitor or to their desk. You can make someone's day by leaving a message thanking them for who they are or the great work they do.

Gift certificates for movies or car washes.   These simple gestures don’t cost much but demonstrate that you value what others do for you, that you’re thinking of them.

Food.  Nearly everyone appreciates bagels and coffee in the morning, or being treated to lunch. Order in a yard-long sub sandwich and watch the smiles on your employees’ faces. Consider an afternoon make-your-own-sundaes. 

Giveappreciation bucks’.  With a little time you can design a fun reward system in your office. Play ‘dollars’ are distributed for good service so that employees can opt to buy items in the practice ‘store’. The selection might include a special parking space for a week, a longer lunch break, or leaving an hour earlier. You establish the valuations so these are reasonable.

Imagine how different your workday would be if ALL your staff expressed genuine appreciation for each other. With the power of gratitude at your disposal, you can bring a new spirit of appreciation in your practice. Try it for a month at your office and see what happens.

True appreciation isn’t just a perfunctory "thank you". It's a meaningful gesture backed by sincerity of purpose that involves feelings. Gratitude is appreciation for the little things, an emotion that opens us up to seeing life in a more positive light. It produces feelings of excitement and joy. It makes the workplace more meaningful, for you and for everyone around you.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Create a practice environment that sustains employee commitment and patient satisfaction. Contact Dr. Haller at coach@mckenziemgmt.com.

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