3.25.11 Issue #472 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Nancy Haller, P.h. D.
Leadership Coach
McKenzie Management
coach@ mckenziemgmt.com
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How Does Your Team Score?
Nancy Haller, Ph.D., Leadership Coach McKenzie Management

Take an inventory of your team. Do team members openly and readily disclose their opinions? Are team meetings compelling and productive? Does the team come to decisions quickly and avoid getting bogged down by consensus? Do team members confront one another about their shortcomings? Do team members sacrifice their own interests for the good of the team?

Although no team is perfect, the best dental practices constantly work to ensure that their answers are "yes." If you answered "no" to any of these questions, your team may need some work.

Dentistry is a service business. Although you may have excellent clinical skills, your success will be limited unless you have a high performing team. Patient retention and new referrals are dependent on how it “feels” to be in your office. And that feeling comes from how well your team is working together.

A team is not just a group of individuals. A team is what happens between individuals - how they communicate, resolve disagreements, and support one another. Everyone makes an important contribution to the practice. Team members trust each other enough to address problems openly and respectfully. There are minimal distractions from the primary focus, which is meeting patient needs.
Successful teams have better results because the combined knowledge and skill set of the group surpasses that of any one individual. Consequently, strong dental teams get more done in less time with less cost. This is a HUGE competitive advantage. Despite the benefits, good teamwork is hard to achieve. The book, Five Dysfunctions of a Team, continues to be highlighted on the business best-seller lists for good reason. In this leadership fable, author Patrick Lencioni illustrates the importance of strong teamwork. Here are the five functions that every team must address to succeed.   

1. Build Trust
Trust is the foundation of teamwork. In a team, trust is about vulnerability. Building trust takes time, but the process can be accelerated, such as with team retreats. Like a good relationship, trust must be maintained and fine-tuned over time.

2. Master Conflict
To resolve differences requires direct and respectful communication. It is only after trust is established that teams are capable of engaging in constructive and sometimes heated dialogue. In dental offices where team members do not address important issues directly with one another, valuable energy and time are wasted with bickering and griping. Patient care suffers and so does your bottom line.

3. Achieve Commitment
Commitment requires buy-in and clarity. It is only when teams learn to handle conflict constructively that they can come to agreement on the most important practice goals and objectives. Commitment also means honestly supporting one another and the decisions of the team. Clear direction combined with unified effort yields accountability.

4. Embrace Accountability
When a team establishes trust, successfully resolves conflict, and honestly commits to a clear plan of action, the group will become responsible for itself. Team members willingly remind one another when they are not living up to the standards of the group. Accountability on strong teams occurs directly among co-workers. Of course, the dental leader must model a willingness to confront difficult issues.

5. Focus on Results
When everyone is focused on collective goals, the business thrives. Ego, personal career development, money and departmental desires become secondary to the primary mission of the team.

The first step toward solidifying the individuals in your office is to determine which of the five areas you need to develop. Start with the most basic and build on that. The rewards are plentiful. Functional teams don’t get bogged down by personalizing or blaming. The team avoids wasting time talking about the wrong issues and revisiting the same topics over and over again. Functional teams make higher quality decisions and accomplish more in less time and with less distraction and frustration. Finally, satisfied employees rarely leave offices where they are part of a larger goal and a cohesive team.

Does your team need a coach? Email Dr. Haller at coach@mckenziemgmt.com

Dr. Haller provides training for leadership effectiveness, interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building. If you would like to learn more contact her at coach@mckenziemgmt.com

Interested in having Dr. Haller speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.

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