Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great” tells us, that in order to survive in today’s business world, we must get the right people on the bus, the wrong people OFF the bus, and the right people in the right seats. The patient experience is a direct reflection of the dental team. They are the ambassadors for dentistry and case acceptance.
Building a team of leaders takes reflection, effort and requires selecting people that are a good fit from the beginning as opposed to choosing someone and trying to get them to fit over time. It is important to define the characteristics that constitute the “right person” for your environment and team. Dental leaders often make the mistake of hiring in their own image because it seems easier to hire people just like you as opposed to building a diverse group. A well balanced group of different personalities, skills and behavior styles will meet the needs of the diverse patients you serve. Another common mistake made is choosing someone solely on their past dental experience. Although this can seem easier, dental experience is only as good as how their last employer led them.
So how do we make the right hire or addition to our team? Know what type of person is a good fit, what character traits you want them to have and what role they will play. Involve the other team members in helping with selection so they can have vested interest in their success. The primary facet of a person and how they will serve on the team begins with their Attitude about life. It is the based on their energy they carry around. The next most important is Relationship and Communication, their people skill. Third are their Skills, role specific duties and dental knowledge
Beginning with attitude, defined as the manner, disposition, feeling or opinion toward a person or a thing, it is expressed in a person’s choice of words, tone of voice, body language and posture. It is someone’s overall look at themselves through their self esteem and confidence that creates the way they see their job and life around them.
Attitude is most difficult to change or modify as it comes from a person’s past experiences, trauma, upsets and beliefs. It drives behaviors with positive outlook, problem solving abilities, how they relate to others and overcome adversity. Make sure you are clear on what they think or feel about success, money, achievement, acknowledgment and morals of right and wrong. These aspects are more important than educational status, dental skills, appearance and experience in another dental environment.
Questions to identify a person’s Attitude are:
• Are they clear on their own strengths and weaknesses?
• What is their upbringing and socio economic status?
• Do they focus on others or are they self-absorbed?
• Do they play well with others and go the extra mile to meet the team objective?
• Are they self-starters with a positive outlook?
• Are they open to learning and ways to improve themselves
• Are they comfortable with change?
The second characteristic is Relationship and Communication skills. These are especially important as dentistry is a human capital health care business constantly serving others with 85% of success relating to emotional decisions and meeting human needs. Communication is comprised of 10% words and verbal articulation, 30% tone of voice and how they express themselves with 60% of a message being communicated by body language. Non verbal cues to look for are how they greet you, their facial expressions, how they carry themselves, listening skills, posture and overall feeling when others are in their presence.
Some assessment questions may include:
• Are they “people” focused and have a genuine interest in building relationships to gain trust?
• Are they articulate in their speaking and can they express themselves clearly and defend a position they believe in?
• Are they good listeners or do they interrupt?
Once a person’s attitude and communication skills are assessed then the time comes to look at their Skills with the role specific duties. It is important to have a clearly defined job description for the role. This will allow you to determine if the member will adapt to new ways of doing things, follow protocols and systems. Are they coachable and able to accept feedback? Are they comfortable with being held accountable for their role? Do they ask for help when needed? Do they take pride in accuracy and quality of their effort?
The right people are everywhere, the key is to find, attract and retain the right person for you and your unique team and practice. With proper selection, training, support and regular feedback the right person can take your business results to new levels of measured success.
Until next time … live each day with purpose.