Coach’s Corner | Team Retention

One of the recurring themes I heard in 2021 was the struggle to find team members. Sadly, I do not think those struggles are going to be going away anytime soon in 2022. For those of you who have participated in my Coach’s Corner for a while, you know I do not view the world from a negative perspective. I choose to view things from a positive standpoint which is why I will use this month’s Coach’s Corner to discuss how to retain your team. 

Let me back up for a moment and say there is a huge difference between having employees and having a true team work with you.  I define employees as a group of people that work for an organization.  They may have a goal to accomplish but do not understand how their role and responsibility is related to the rest of the company. Employees will complete tasks that are assigned to them but will not care how that relates to anything else in the organization. They just want to check off their to-do list. 

Contrast that, with what I believe, a dental team should be. A dental practice team is a group of people working together cohesively towards the clearly defined and stated goals of the doctor. There is a very high level of patient satisfaction while knowing that all members of the team are accountable to each other using their individual strengths to enhance the performance of the team. A team will sacrifice for each other. As the doctor, you will not have to ask someone to take care of something, it will already be done. A team takes responsibility for their individual actions and are accountable to one another and the doctor. 

The doctor, whether they want to or not, is the leader of the team. Your leadership plan will dictate how your team will accomplish the goals you have set for your practice. The problem arises when the doctor does not have a clear plan or no plan at all. It is impossible for a true team to work together and accomplish goals if there is not clarity and understanding on how they are to do it. That is what your leadership plan is about. 

I have worked with hundreds of practices across the country and that is the number one thing most practices are missing. The most basic is your mission which brings everyone together on the same page. Next, your leadership plan, or as I like to call it your gameplan, is paramount to getting your team to work as a team – that is foundational to your practice. There are many segments that need to be present in your gameplan. The next segment is your vision. I have a unique way of putting that together in such detail it will become a part of your business plan. Your culture is the next segment that needs to be addressed. In a nutshell, I define culture as what is or is not acceptable. 

As you can see, your gameplan needs to be set up in a particular way, just like you would set up for a dental procedure in a particular manner. I make analogies all the time about how a process is needed for clinical work as much as process is needed to lead your team. Discipline is needed for both. The difference is one you have studied for many years in dental school and the other, leadership, requires you to learn to make your practice successful. Leadership is even more challenging since you are working with people or human behavior.  

You can see why having all of these critical segments in your leadership gameplan is a necessity. By spending the appropriate time in creating your leadership gameplan, this will help you not only retain the team members you currently have but will also help you hire the correct team members with the appropriate skill set.  

I know from working with my clients that the struggle is real right now. Let me help you by organizing your leadership gameplan. You can reach me either on my website, www.victorydentalmanagement.com or email  lynne@victorydentalmanagement.com