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Improve your practice: set your course

This article uses information from the insightful book by the long-time dental consultant, Bianca Dornan at Practices Made Perfect. If you would like access to the entire ebook, click here to download it for free.

Staff at your practice (or any company) can be sorted into 3 basic categories; drivers, survivors, and hiders.

Drivers are employees that do things for the good of the company, even if that means they have to do things the hard way. They look for ways to improve the company and are engaged and invested in the successes or failures of your practice.

Survivors are those who want to do what’s best for your practice, but may not go out of their way to seek out ways to do things better. Survivors can be very helpful employees but likely need a little more motivation and coaching from their management.

Hiders are the underachievers of the bunch. These are people who are doing the bare minimum to complete their job, resist change and are unaffected by successes and failures of the practice.

Fortunately, these labels are not for the people themselves, but rather for the level of engagement that those people are feeling. That means that if you feel like you have an office full of Hiders, there is still hope. There are changes you can make to convert those same people into Survivors or even Drivers. Likewise, if you are working with some Drivers, it’s not guaranteed that they will continue to be Drivers forever. In both circumstances, work needs to be done to maximize your employees.

The best way to push your employees away from being hiders, and towards being drivers is to make sure that they are invested in the direction that your practice is heading. The best way to do that is to be clear and concise with where the company is headed, and exactly what each person/team/role needs to accomplish.

Setting your practice’s direction – When setting the direction of your practice, do not focus on what you want to do. Instead, focus on WHY your business is operating. Your employees and customers alike will be drawn to a ‘why’ much more than a ‘what’, making it easier for each group to engage with your company. When setting your ‘why’ don’t rush it. Think long and hard about a ‘why’ that truly and genuinely represents the reason your company is operating. This ‘why’ if used properly will emanate throughout your company from top to bottom.

Once you have your ‘why’ get support by giving your staff goals that support your ‘why’. When they can see how their set of goals fits into the much larger direction of the company, they will feel like they are making meaningful contributions.

Setting your goals – The often repeated, and still the best way to set goals is to use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym.

S – Specific. Ambiguity creates confusion.

M – Measurable. Success should be pass/fail with no grey area.

A – Attainable. Keep goals grounded in what’s possible.

R – Relevant. How does your goal relate to your ‘why’?

T – Timely. By what date/time should this goal be completed?

Creating a ‘why’ and setting SMART goals are certainly not the only ways to push all your employees towards becoming Drivers, but they will definitely help. Try implementing this at your practice and see what profound effects it could have on the way you operate.

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