The best and most successful dental practice owners are relentlessly on the lookout for areas that need improvement.
They know the value of a key business principle that ‘everything counts!’
They may see a blown light globe that needs replacing or an untidy staff room. Or it may be bigger things, such as a downturn in appointment bookings or increased patient complaints.
Regardless of the size of the issue, they all need to be addressed.
However, there is a flip side to this. When was the last time you commented on something that was going RIGHT?
“Someone organised the storage cupboard. It looks great!”
“We have seen an increase in new patient numbers this month. What are we doing better?”
“I had such an enjoyable day in the surgery today. It was stress-free. Thanks for working so well together.”
It is widely acknowledged that employees respond better to encouragement and positive reinforcement than to criticism. Emphasising an effective system, a great employee performance or upturn in turnover will result in these scenarios being repeated because people naturally move towards that which feels good, and away from that which feels bad.
Reward the behaviour you want repeated.
With the football finals coming up rapidly, contemplate this: when your team kicks the first goal in a match, what do the supporters do? They cheer wildly; they don’t sit with arms folded and say “we budgetted on this goal”, or, “this goal is why we pay you!”
I’d like to set a challenge for you. For a whole week, boost your positive reinforcement of what is going right in your practice. For every situation that you want to be improved, match it with two areas that you are happy with. Extend this to what you observe during the day. If you hear your receptionist doing a great job handling a patient, tell her. If a difficult treatment on a patient was made easier thanks to the forethought of your dental assistant, tell him or her.
Getting the balance right with the type of feedback you give your team improves your perception of what is happening around you, contributes to team happiness and ensures your practice is constantly improving.
P.S. For ease of grammar I use ‘her’ and ‘she’, but please interpret this to indicate both male and female.