Dr. Roger P. Levin brings you the most thought-provoking topics from the Dental Business Study Clubs, a new organization focused on the business of successful dentistry. Each month, Dr. Levin will explore an aspect of the business of dentistry in detail.
When you think of Microsoft, you think of Bill Gates. And when you think of Apple, you think of Steve Jobs. But neither Gates nor Jobs built these successful iconic U.S. companies on their own.
In any business, there is no one person who does it all. Your overall success is a direct reflection of team performance and your ability to sustain that success overtime. Looking for ways to grow your practice? Improve your team and you'll improve your bottom line.
These three strategies can help you improve team performance.
1. Have clearly defined job descriptions and roles
I was attending a human resources seminar at a business school and the instructor made the point that most businesses lack a clear picture of what each team member does. This is certainly true in dental practices. Rarely do we find practices that have clearly defined, easy-to-understand job descriptions. And if you haven't taken the time to clearly define your team's required tasks and targets, you can't expect your team to accomplish their duties effectively or even at all.
Consider the critical role your front-desk person plays. It's a high-profile position in which people are often overwhelmed from multitasking and being interrupted all the time. Is your front-desk staff aware that they are responsible for having 98% of all patients scheduled at all times and collecting 99% of all money owed to the office within 60 days?
While it's logical and obvious that scheduling overdue patients or collecting money is a critical function of the practice, if your front-desk staff doesn't understand that they're accountable for these duties, then it may not be logical or obvious to them.
In multiple practice analyses, we've found overdue patients and accounts that have not been followed up on in months. A clearly defined job description will give your front desk team what they need to meet their daily, monthly, and annual targets and goals.
2. Identify skill sets that need to be mastered
Team members don't always have extensive background or experience in their position. Even long-term staff members often fall into patterns of doing things the same way without rethinking more efficient or effective ways to get things done.
You should always look for ways to improve staff performance. Seminars, online courses, books, and study clubs all offer opportunities to help boost your staff's dental knowledge. Once an educational action plan has been established, benchmarks for performance should be evaluated as well.
3. Build a powerful practice culture
When you ask typical dental staff members to define the practice culture, they generally have trouble explaining it. They know that they are there to take great care of patients, support the doctor, and so on, but they don't have an overall grasp of the unique culture of their practice.
The power of culture should not be underestimated. It helps people determine how they act and respond to different scenarios. When team members understand that the practice is based on fun, they will tend to be more fun. When a culture is focused on complex cases, team members tend to be serious about that type of dentistry.
As the practice leader, think about what kind of culture you want for your practice. Is it a high-quality clinical culture of performing comprehensive and complex cases? A customer service oriented culture? A fun culture?
Maybe, it's a combination of all of these cultures. If you cannot verbally express your culture, take some time to think about how you can define, build, and communicate it to your staff on a regular basis.
Look at your team
If you're looking to improve your practice, look no further than your team. The three team-enhancing techniques mentioned above will have an immediate impact on team performance and, ultimately, your practice growth.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the executive founder of the Dental Business Study Clubs.
The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.