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12.21.07 Issue #302 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Stop This, And Go from Good to Great in ’08?
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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In just a few days, 2007 will draw to a close and the door will open on 2008. Naturally, it’s the time to evaluate where you are and where you’re going. For many dentists, you can look back on the past year with pride because you’ve enjoyed substantial success. The goals you set for yourself and your practice are right on track. The tough changes you knew you had to make you did, and now you are enjoying the reward.  

For others, you’re more than ready to shake off the dust of this year and start making your way down the road to the next. You’ve promised yourself that 2008 is the year you’re going to make real positive change in your practice. You’ve come a long way, but you’re in a holding pattern and have been for longer than you care to acknowledge. It’s not that the practice is failing or that you don’t enjoy what you do; it’s just that you know your practice could be so much more productive and so much more rewarding.

It’s time for you and your team to shimmy up that ladder of success from pretty good to truly fantastic. But to get there, you not only have to keep your eye on the goals, you have to take a close look at who’s implementing them. Turn the mirror on yourselves, if you will. Oftentimes, in practices that are good and have the potential to be great, the systems are functioning reasonably well, but it’s the interpersonal infrastructure that’s buckling. 

Let me explain. You and your team’s subtle day-to-day behaviors may be the tether tying you down. These are the seemingly minor interactions that quietly chisel away at practice goals and undermine your success. Although they’ll never be listed on your profit and loss statement, they have a profound impact on your bottom-line.

I suggest that before you craft that list of goals for ’08 and start making plans for what you want to do next year, step back and consider what you should stop. It may be time for you and your team to pledge Not do a few things. Try these for starters: 

  • I will not be the nattering ninny of negativity. I will not complain about my personal life, my job, my colleagues, my boss, the patients. Nor will I shoot down another’s idea by telling them, “It won’t work. We’ve tried it before. You haven’t been here long enough. Give it up. It will never fly.”   
  • I will not blow my stack. If I am angry, I will not take it out on my team or my colleagues. Just because everyone knows I have a temper, doesn’t mean it’s okay for me to display it.
  • I will not withhold thanks and recognition. I will not ignore the good things that my staff and colleagues do. I will not tell myself that they don’t deserve thanks because “they’re just doing their jobs.” Nor will I hog the credit for good ideas that are the result of my efforts as well as others.
  • I will not play favorites. Even though I prefer some staff to others I will treat everyone with dignity and respect and demonstrate that I value the opinions of all – not just those who agree with me.
  • I will not engage in the construction of destruction. I will not make destructive or cutting comments about others – the doctor, the staff, the patients, the salespeople, or anyone else.
  • I will not pass the buck. I will not blame my teammates, the traffic, the weather, the doctor, the patients, my ex-spouse, my children, or anyone else for my inability to effectively carry out my professional responsibilities. 

Although these behaviors come so easily that we’re hardly aware that we’re engaging in them, they stifle the opinions and voices of the team, and lessen others’ investment in the success of their systems and the practice. Left unchecked, they undermine the ability of the practice to move forward in accomplishing its goals.

So, this New Year, before you resolve to do this and accomplish that, think first about how you can better yourself and your team by simply stopping a few unproductive behaviors.

Next week tackling goals, starting with production.

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