8.10.12 Issue #544 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Nancy Haller, Ph.D.
Leadership Coach
McKenzie Management
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Coaching Your Team to Gold
Nancy Haller, Ph.D.

Over the past two weeks we've been enjoying Olympic coverage of world-class teams competing for the gold medal. Although these amazing athletes make it look easy, peak performance doesn't just happen. Great teams must be built and maintained. What can you do to build a world-class dental team and keep it in top shape?

Know your Purpose
You might dismiss this statement, believing it to be trite. Or you may think that it’s a colossal waste of time and energy to go beyond “I’m a dentist.” Nothing is farther from the truth. Your mission statement is the essence of your vision and the foundation of business planning because it articulates your purpose. By defining the core elements of your practice, you align your staff. Employees gain clarity. This enables them to make accurate decisions because actions can be compared against the mission statement to assure they are furthering practice interests, or hindering them.

Do employees know the purpose of your practice? Ask each one individually. If you have communicated your vision clearly, their answers should be very consistent. If not, schedule time for your team to write a mission statement collectively.

Pick the Best People
Sizable sums of time and money are spent on assessing Olympic athletes. They compete on many fields to prove themselves. Teams use psychologists and personality testing to make the most informed decision. McKenzie Management's Employee Assessment Test enables you to identify peak performers so you can hire wisely. Our test is the only one that has been specifically normed for the dental industry.

Be an Effective Communicator
Effective communication is essential for winning the gold. This starts months and even years before the Olympic cauldron is lit. Coaches formulate plans for different scenarios. They also meet with their players frequently for alignment with those plans. Then they review practice sessions and competition meets, and they make necessary adjustments.

Being an effective communicator requires good listening and observing skills. This information helps you to understand your employees and what they need from you to execute well. Morning huddles are important and so are monthly staff meetings. It also is wise to hold individual performance reviews with each team member. These should happen quarterly, or more often if employees are learning new “routines.”

Clarify Job Responsibilities
Olympic teams are envied because each person does his/her job with precision, craftsmanship and attention to detail. Be sure that your team members know their specific job descriptions. If your staff are performing well, follow-up with feedback. Let them know they are on track. Be sure to illuminate what's working. Show each team member the value of their contributions to practice successes.

Just like a winning coach, let your employees know when they miss a play. Fairly and respectfully, identify the gaps between expected and actual performance. Listen openly to what they tell you. Involve them in finding solutions. Establish clear performance standards, goals or objectives. Help them to improve in areas that need attention. By teaching and training your employees, you enable them to align with your expectations. When each person understands and executes his/her role, it leads to a winning team.

Develop Team Synergy
Synergy is the phenomenon that occurs when a group achieves greater results together than they could accomplish individually. Creating team synergy in your office starts with clarity of direction. It also comes from intense training and time together. It doesn't mean that everyone is each other's best friend. But if there is competition between team members it's healthy, not destructive. The competition pushes each to do better.

As the dental team leader, your responsibility is to assure that these goals are being met, collectively and individually. In addition to staff meetings, schedule time for your team to be together outside the office. Conduct a team retreat that encompasses training with fun activities that unify employees. It will keep your team fresh and motivated to perform.

Be a Determined and Tough-Minded Coach to your Team
Mental toughness is a prerequisite to Olympic team success. Intercept doom-and-gloom thinking when you've had a hard day. Exceptional coaches don't shrink from setbacks. They're willing to sacrifice for themselves, and for others. Challenge negative beliefs and pessimistic forecasting. To build a winning team, keep your employees focused on getting their work done, even in times of chaos and uncertainty. Your team will reflect your actions. Be resilient.

Winning the gold is about inspiring your team to give their best effort. It's tough work unifying individuals into a cohesive group. It takes time, coordination, and the right mix of personnel. It takes planning and preparation. Add to the equation personalities and conflicting goals or ideals and it becomes even more problematic to find a team of people that work well together - let alone on the fly at a moment's notice. But ask any Olympic team if it's worth it. Ask them if it's rewarding. You know the answer.

Dr. Nancy Haller is available to coach you and your staff to higher levels of performance. She can be reached 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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