….an immense population of dentists are functioning absent any sound values and ethics of money, time, or organizational operations--they are just winging it….
As an offered example, as an experienced manager of over 20+ years, 15+ of which has been as a practice manager and now part of a team of consultants, I have witnessed dentists who have systematically destroyed their business, organizational culture, and morale. I have also witnessed dentists who were unwilling to heed professional advice either internally from me as their Chief Executive of Management, or externally,
As a personal example, while serving as a practice manager, I was responsible for the overall running and continuity of the practice, to include work flow. In one office, I often had to deal with the fostering of collaboration between each staff member, to include the doctor/practice owner. I found that many within the team were not versed on the key elements of practice operations, which included understanding and being able to handle and deal with client/customer needs outside their area of expertise. This lack of ability directly affected the continuity of services to clients, as clients were referred to multiple internal departments to answer what turned out to be simple questions needed to make a final decision associated with the doctor’s recommendations. This lack of continuity resulted in the loss of revenue and client confidence, some of which whom ultimately chose to find another office. Cross-training is one way to ensure that each team member can attend to client needs, without the loss of continuity in services and anxieties associated with client pass-off's.
Job enlargement, sometimes called horizontal loading, is an approach that potentially increases job expansiveness and skills by having the worker perform supplementary and diverse tasks, but all at the same level of responsibility and challenge. Job rotation is also a form of horizontal-loading, as the responsibility level of the tasks stays the same. The rotation (e.g., working with other doctors and or practice managers to learn their techniques and systems of operation, etc.) can be arranged according to almost any time schedule, such as hourly, daily, or weekly schedules. An important element to successful job rotation and cross-training in non-certified positions, is training and commitment, particularly in a small dental practice, as work relationships and verified skills are critical to successful collaboration and the ultimate accomplishment of desired overall practice outcomes and goals; starting with formulating and maintaining trust. However, how does trust play out in the team, in the context of available literature, industry practitioners, and support organizations, in terms of performance and productivity, one might wonder?
True Trust, in the context of the team, as it relates to performance and productivity specifically, is required to create the condition and team culture and demands transparency in each team members attitudes, contributions, and interactions (Dyer et al., 2013; Lencioni, 2002). Each team member, according to practitioners
Most practices have recognized the value in having patient electronic files (e.g., easier for providing information to insurance providers and sharing patient needs to other collaborating dental offices, etc.). However, the question is, how to convert and how long would it take; for example, do they have to scan them all starting from patient file A through Z? You may be saying that is too much work and you will never finish, but me and my team have a way for you to do this without being overwhelmed.
Systems and Policies
Almost every office I worked at, concerning policy formulation and implementations, either did not have, were outdated by years, or did not pertain to the practice altogether. One practice I worked for had a policy manual, however, it was 12 years old! Furthermore, many of the practices, in my experience, did not even have a manual to begin with, and what was even more troubling, the doctor(s) seemed to not even care or take action; relying instead on verbal directions as their alternative. I have even created and presented policy manuals and systems, on my own off time, and still received no support, gratitude, or implementation; needless to say, I do not and would not work is such a work environment ever again. Many expressed, or implied through a lack of action, that they were not affected by not having any policies or systems, as by not having any, they, as a result, give more discretion to fire non-compliant employees. When trying to create a collaborative culture bonded in trust, they could not be more wrong!
Policies and procedures are among the first things company leaders need to establish. Policies provide needed information for the record that protect both the dentist and their staff. Policies are stated rules and standards that, if done effectively, elevate any ambiguities related to business operations. At its core, policies interconnect an organization’s culture, values, vision, and overall philosophy. They are considered a course or principle of action
Policies also lay the foundation for labor principles, while also providing some rules for decisions and actions, if needed, regarding any violations or suspected deviations from job descriptions, performances, or requirements. In short, policies create a clear and level planning field which allows for the creation of trusting relationships through transparency, while equally laying out solid ways to measure success for both the business and its collective staff.
Organizational leaders resist feedback for any number of reasons, stemming from personal issues, professional issues within or outside of the organization, or a combination thereof. From a personal side of things, one example could be that leaders personally identify with more of an authoritarian type style of leading, and despite seeing the negative implications of their current approach through feedback, emphatically resist changing. Professionally speaking, the leader may, for instance, perceive that the costs of the presented recommendations (i.e., feedback) is too high, thus, resist. Another example could be that perhaps the posed feedback challenges the status quo, a condition that the leader has grown very accustomed to, thus they resist the requirements for learning new things. Change management practitioners also provide the field of organizational development a few reasons why leaders or people resist feedback. For example, scholarly practitioners Dr. Dean Anderson EdD and Dr. Linda Ackerman EdD advocated that resistance to change can stem from a threating of any one or combination of what they referred to as human core needs. In fact, in their collective text Beyond change management: How to achieve breakthrough results through conscious change leadership, Anderson and Anderson states that “we each have six human core needs” (p. 140), when it comes to dealing with change initiatives as a member of a team within an organization; Table 1 represents the six human core needs as outlined by Anderson and Anderson.
If you, or a colleague you know are in need of ideas or motivations for getting organized as a workforce team, Organizing Resolutions with Starks can assist. We advise and work hand-in-hand with our small business clients, to create balance and control in their organization, and we do this through uniquely tailored organizational team strategies!
Curry, L. A., O’Cathain, A., Clark, V. L., Aroni, R., Fetters, M., & Berg, D. (2012). The role of group dynamics in mixed methods health sciences research teams. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 6(1), 5-20. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com.
Dyer, J. H., Dyer, W. G., & Dyer, W. G. (2013). Team building: Proven strategies for improving team performance (5th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Harvey, T. R., & Drolet, B. (2006). Building teams building people: Expanding the fifth resource (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education.
Lencioni, P. M. (2002). The five dysfunctions of a team: A leadership fable. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.