Four Staff Rules

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Finding and keeping the right staff is key to your dental success. Staff can make or break a practice. An OK staff will have OK results, while a superior staff will help you achieve superior results. Because an excellent staff is such an important key, establish rules to ensure success. As a result, when transitions do occur, new staff members will walk into a successful environment. What follows are some simple and important rules that every staff member should agree to uphold:

  • Allow no subgrouping, which is the official name for gossiping or speaking poorly of others when they are not present. Subgrouping drains productivity. When staff members talk about other staff, vendors, or patients, teamwork and trust are destroyed. The rule is, “Never initiate a conversation about someone that would stop if he or she walked into the room.” Do not accept information that is destructive or trashy. Your staff should not have time to gossip. Business gurus say, “Work is never noisy.”
  • Become 100 percent accountable for your actions. This means knowing your office numbers and creating a different plan if the numbers are slipping. If your new patient flow is under 10 a month, what is your reputation in the community that is keeping people away? How can you change that image? If you are below the national average of 7 percent in laboratory work, what can you do to increase it? If you make a mistake with a guest, be accountable and create an action plan to ensure the mistake will not be repeated. Accountability means stepping up your focus and energy at work.
  • Upgrade the dress code. Guests make quick judgments about your dentistry based on appearances. Bag the scrubs. Go with black pants and colorful blouses with long white lab coats. Successful staffs are now cross-trained and need to appear competent in both business and clinical areas.

Dress for the position. Matching sweaters or blazers with embroidered names and logos will catch a guest’s attention in the office and that of other diners when you lunch as a team. Male doctors should wear bright long- sleeved laundered shirts and stunning ties, pressed pants, polished shoes, and a white doctor’s jacket. Female dentists impress guests with good-looking pressed pants, bright tops, and long white lab coats. Another idea is for staff and doctor to wear matching sweaters.

  • Learn the important skills of listening and speaking. In sales, the person who truly listens with empathy and places himself or herself in the guest’s shoes is the winner. The competition is constantly studying sales, upgrading their skills, and practicing. Join Toastmasters to learn to speak well and use proper grammar. Practice manners and protocol.

Doctors need to create an atmosphere of accountability and praise to encourage staff success. Together with the team, doctors should create no more than 10 covenants as guiding staff principles. If, after several months on the job, the doctor has doubts about a new team member, his or her gut instinct is probably right, and the sooner the leader acts upon it, the higher the team will reach. Brian Tracy, noted business motivator, said, “We hold onto staff about a year after we know the right decision.”