Become the Indispensable Superstar
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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Want to get the very most out of your job? Want to love coming to working every day? Want to become one of the most valued members of the team? Who wouldn’t? Many employees are pretty good at what they do, but they often don’t recognize the importance of their attitude, their relationships with co-workers, and the value of being someone the practice can truly depend on. Any employee can become the practice powerhouse. Start first with the basics.
- Be a team player. Being part of the dental team means stepping in where you are needed without complaining or saying it’s not your job. It means getting along with others and bringing a positive and helpful attitude into the practice everyday, from the moment you walk in until the moment you leave to go home.
- Demonstrate a solid work ethic. If you are expected to be at the office 15 minutes early for the daily meeting, don’t think it’s okay to stroll in five minutes late. It’s not. If you’re given an hour for lunch, take an hour, not an hour and 10 minutes. Even if you had to work 10 minutes into your lunch hour yesterday and feel you’re entitled to it. Avoid the personal phone calls and the temptation to check your personal email at work. The hours and minutes of the workday are not yours to do with as you please. They belong to the doctor and the patients.
- Learn something new. Read the journals and learn about best practices in the dental office. There are numerous resources available from online newsletters, to dental society publications, to professional journals that can give you tips and ideas on how to improve every practice system from how to track production, to more effectively using the computer system, to controlling overhead, to creating a superior new patient experience, and the list goes on and on. Constantly look for ways in which you can improve both your own area, as well as, practice systems as a whole. Share what you learn with the team either through copies of articles, offering to conduct a mini-workshop during a staff meeting, or over a lunch and learn with co-workers.
- You’re not perfect, and it’s okay to recognize it. Be open to constructive criticism. We all have strengths and weakness and oftentimes they are one in the same. The get-things-done gal, Jackie, may be the one who doesn’t give up until the job is complete. She’s driving through to the goal and nothing is going to stop her. Doctor said he/she wants to be scheduled to meet a certain production goal every day. And Jackie rises to the challenge, doctor will make that and more! Only problem is Jackie has doctor running non-stop from dawn till dusk. When doctor says this isn’t exactly what he/she had in mind. Jackie takes offense. There’s room for improvement in all of us. Direction, guidance, and even criticisms can help us become more effective contributors to the team. Be open to continuous improvement. It’s more than a catch phrase, it’s a way of life and work.
- Develop an ownership attitude. Take full responsibility for those systems you are responsible for and commit to making them highly efficient and effective. Provide solutions, not problems. If you are aware of a system, such as collections, that is not as effective as it needs to be for the practice to control overhead, don’t ignore it and wait for the doctor to intervene. Offer to research best practices for collections and bring back a proposal for how the office might implement a more effective collections system. If the practice has a string of new patients coming in and never returning, offer to head up a sub-committee to identify ways to improve the new patient experience. Improving the practice as a whole is everyone’s job.
The dentist doesn’t have all the answers. Take the initiative to explore new ways to conduct business, increase profitability, and improve systems overall. You’ll be well on your way to becoming the indispensable team player.
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