Are you working with employees or team players?

May 20, 2016

Remember the Skeleton Dance? You know: the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone... Many of us learned it in school to help illustrate how the parts of our body work together to function. This song, with just a few changes, can just as well apply to your dental practice, the telephone’s connected to the appointment book, the appointment book’s connected to the daily production, the daily production is connected to the net income…

Remember the Skeleton Dance? You know: the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone... Many of us learned it in school to help illustrate how the parts of our body work together to function. This song, with just a few changes, can just as well apply to your dental practice, the telephone’s connected to the appointment book, the appointment book’s connected to the daily production, the daily production is connected to the net income…

It’s not quite as catchy, but you get the point. Everything in your practice is connected to everything else in some way. If the front desk schedules an appointment 30 minutes too short, then you run behind, other patients wait, dental assistants are frantic, and you are stressed. There are few activities that don’t affect someone or something else in your practice; therefore, it is critical that all your “body parts,” aka employees, work together as a team. If they do not, then you are stuck with attrition, complaining patients, money pits, disharmony, less production, lower collections and a poorly performing practice.

Unfortunately, effective teamwork is easier said than done. Following are 10 questions to help you evaluate how well your team works together.

Related link: How do you define teamwork?

  • Do all your employees offer to help, and then actually help, other employees before leaving the office each day?

  • When your employees have downtime during the day, do they stay in the office working on practice-related duties and projects or leave the office to attend to their personal concerns?

  • Do all your employees clean their own instruments, work areas and common areas, as well as help others when they are caught up?

  • Do all your employees attend and participate in team seminars, training sessions, conventions and events?

  • Are all your employees aware when the practice is running behind schedule and go outside their “job duties” to help everyone catch up as well as comfort any waiting patients?

 

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  • Do all employees religiously follow the practice’s uniform system?

  • When something goes wrong in the practice, do each of your employees take accountability for their part and help find a solution or do they typically point fingers and blame it on others?

  • Are all your employees always on time for work, team meetings, morning huddles, birthday celebrations, after-lunch patients, seminars, etc.?  

  • Does each employee have a copy of your Employee Handbook and their detailed job description?

  • Do all your employees know and adhere to a list of “team commitments” (behavior standards) they sign and agree to follow?

Related link: An NBA lesson in teambuilding

If you didn’t answer “yes” to all of these questions, then you are working with a bunch of employees who just happen to be working on the same playing field, not team players. This situation can drive you and your high-performing employees crazy. The results can be extremely detrimental to you, your practice and your patients.  Developing your employees into a high-functioning Self-Managed Team can change your life.

Is that little voice in your mind still singing the Skeleton Dance tune? It certainly sticks in my mind like glue. The real question is does your practice’s Skeleton Dance sound like this: The neck bone’s connected to the foot bone, the foot bone’s connected to the hand bone, the hand bone’s connected to the toe bone, and that’s where it all breaks down? If so, take action now because you have latent potential just waiting to take you higher up the success ladder with less stress and greater rewards.