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10.21.05 Issue #189  
What Teams Want, Dentists Need

Sally McKenzie, CEO
The McKenzie Company

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Performance reviews. Ah yes, you remember that item. It pops up on your task list about once a year. Call the employee in, pat them on the back, give ‘em a hearty “atta girl” or perhaps an “atta boy.” Tell them about the generous raise they’ll receive and send them on their way. Another year over, another performance review complete, and there you have another surefire way to de-motivate your employees, discourage improved performance, and send overhead rocketing skyward. No wonder a fair number of doctors dodge them.

Meanwhile, dental practices from Maine to Washington and every state in between lament their continual difficulty in attracting and keeping quality employees. They look to the standard incentives, such as bonuses, raises, time off, etc. They don’t even consider implementing systems designed to encourage employees to set goals and to take ownership of key areas,  or giving them a voice in the decision-making process – essential steps in building a team that is invested in the success of the practice. 

What if you could take the performance review – a seemingly perfunctory exercise – and turn it into your power tool for inspiring your staff as well as attracting and retaining the very best employees. What if you could transform this oft-viewed exercise in futility into the ultimate motivational instrument that will spur both productivity and individual commitment to your practice and give your team the professional edge that you’ve long-desired but never thought you could achieve.

All that from a performance review? Yes, all that and more. I make that assertion because over the past several months, McKenzie Management has surveyed and interviewed hundreds of individual team members. What we’ve found is that the most successful practices and the most effective employees thrive in those environments in which team members’ individual performance objectives work hand in glove with the doctor’s practice philosophy. We’ve confirmed that auxiliaries excel in those situations in which the employees have job descriptions stating different responsibilities. And we’ve documented time and again that both business and clinical employees flourish when there is an overriding expectation that team members are accountable for specific responsibilities.  

It should come as no surprise. After all, most of us are far more likely to be successful when we know what is expected of us, when we have goals we seek to achieve, when we are part of an overall effort to attain a common objective, and when we know that our voice matters.

Now I can hear some of you saying, “But Sally, we have performance measurements and they’re not working like we thought they would.” Oftentimes, practices base the measurements on areas that are clearly and easily quantifiable such as collections ratio, accounts receivables, production, number of new patients, etc. But what about those employees that have little or no influence on the outcome of those areas? What about the pressure placed upon the business staff who almost single-handedly have to meet certain practice objectives month-after-month. What about the feelings of resentment that bubble up when team members don’t feel everyone is contributing to the outcomes but receive the same rewards? And therein lies the problem.

The most effective performance measurements are based on individual jobs and they focus on specific job-related goals and how those relate to improving the total practice. Used effectively, employee performance measurements and reviews provide dental teams and individuals far more than a cursory overview of one person’s ability to carry out what they think are their responsibilities. They offer critical information that is essential in your efforts to make major decisions regarding patients, financial concerns, management systems, productivity, and staff.

Next week, using performance measurements to create the self-directed team.

If you are interested in Performance Measurements and reviews, visit our web-site at: Performance Measurements

If you have any question or comments, please email Sally McKenzie at

Interested in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club? Click Here.

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McKenzie Management's Seminar Schedule
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Nov. 18-19 Griffin, GA Endo Magic Root Camp 877-478-9748 Top Issues Sally McKenzie
Dec. 1 Cincinnati, OH Cincinnati Dental Society 513-984-3443 Breakdown Sally McKenzie
Jan. 26-28 Dallas, TX Dallas County Dental Society* 877-777-6151 Top Issues Sally McKenzie
* The McKenzie Company will be exhibiting at this location

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