My Delivering WOW team members are some of the most trustworthy, knowledgeable, and motivated people I have ever met. They know marketing, dental practice management, and effective ways to help practice leaders grow.
They are successful with Delivering WOW and active in the dental industry. For example, one team member works at a multi-location dental practice. During her first year, she grew the hygiene department 104%. In the last 18 months, she added millions of dollars to the organization through hygiene production alone. She also decreased cancellations and no-shows from 30% to less than 10%. The list goes on.
Her success with Delivering WOW and in her current position suggests she turns everything she touches into gold. While it is true that she is talented and hardworking enough to do so, she would be the first to tell you her career wasn’t without its challenges.
As leaders, we can help team members fly or clip their wings and hold them down.
Earlier in her career, this amazing team member moved across the country to take a job. When she started, she was told not to say or do anything for the first ninety days. Her bosses told her to be a “fly on the wall” and just observe operations during that time.
Twelve days into her job, however, she was called into the president’s office and fired. She was told that management didn’t think the position was right for her. They complained that she hadn’t made any decisions to help the company during the first twelve days. She had moved across the country and her husband had quit a job he held for a decade to move with her.
After defending herself as having followed directions, she was given one more chance. Needless to say, she completely lost trust in the leadership team. They told her to be a fly on the wall and then tried to fire her for doing so twelve days later. After taking a break to compose herself, she told one of the leaders how disappointed she was. She then decided to go back to the office do her best work, although it was hard to trust leadership after that. Eventually, she left and found new employment where she felt better supported and did incredible work from the start.
While she was able to turn a negative situation into a positive, not every team member is as self-motivated and determined as she is. She only stayed there long enough to be noticed and recruited by her next employer.
Build a positive environment to get the best work out of every team member.
What did her new employer do differently to get her best work? Why did her earlier employer tell her to be a fly on the wall and then fire her twelve days in? Simple. The difference between the two companies is the environment the leadership team built.
The environment at her old employer caused her to feel fearful. She would sit and question her emails multiple times before sending them out. She wouldn’t take risks or reach beyond the direct responsibilities of her position. She would not take any risk. She was miserable.
The environment at her new employer gave her the freedom to take risks and make decisions she felt were best for the company. She did not have the same fear of being fired for minor offenses.
How to build a positive environment that gets the best work out of every team member.
Leadership expert Simon Sinek talks frequently about the impact of environments on productivity. In short, Sinek says if people trust leadership and feel safe and supported, they will do their best work. If not, they will do just enough to not get fired before they can find another job.
Building an environment that gets the best work out of your team is much simpler than many dentists expect. Generally, you only need two things to build a supportive environment.
First, you need consistency in what you measure and the metrics that matter. Let your team know what is most important, and systematize as much of your day-to-day operations as you can. By doing so, each team member will know what they need to do to succeed and will have simple strategies for completing the most common ones. That frees them up to direct their creativity toward helping you build your practice.
Second, you need to manage people. You need to lead people well. With systems in place and clear metrics being measured, your team will understand the goals for their position. But team members work harder for leaders they trust. If you tell them to be a fly on the wall for the first ninety days, do not threaten their jobs twelve days later for not doing more. That is a surefire way to lose trust. Your team will do just enough to not get in trouble.
If you are consistent and trustworthy and show people small failures won’t make them lose their job, they will do whatever they can to help you achieve your practice vision.
Continued improvement in systems and measurements plus your ability to lead people will create an environment in which every team member feels empowered and does their best work.
Are you building a supportive environment in your practice?
The only way to get the best work from every team member is to build an environment built on trust and support. As practice leaders, we all must continue to develop our leadership skills in addition to implanting systems and processes to support our operations.