There is a tremendous difference between making a living and making a life. I have spoken about that concept often to dentists over the years. However, this is a topic that applies equally to your team members. Making a living conjures up images of trudging off to work, doing mind-numbing things to collect a paycheck. Sadly, this is what going to work feels like to many dentists and if the dentist feels that way, the staff feels even worse! One of the things I’ve noticed is that a dentist making a living has a staff (staph!), while a dentist making a life has a team. A dentist and team making a life on the other hand look forward to going to work because they know they are making a difference in patient’s lives and also in their own.
I think of this entire subject as creating a culture of success in the practice. There are no real shortcuts to creating this culture of success, rather it is through continuous effort that results in this positive culture. One of the great advantages that I have in my work is that I get to visit some incredible dental offices throughout the world. This experience allows me to gather ideas and concepts that I can then apply to my teaching in courses and also in my coaching work with clients. Just yesterday I had this very experience with a new client in Las Vegas.
I was visiting this client for the first time and observing a typical day in the practice. One of the things I observed is that this dentist has a truly amazing team of people who work their tails off to provide awesome clinical dentistry, great customer service, and they are constantly working to achieve specific goals for the practice. About mid-morning the office received a phone call informing them that the husband of a team was in a car accident and being transported to the hospital. The dentist insisted that the team member go to the hospital to be with her husband. Despite being short handed, the team rallied and everyone pitched in to make a great day. It was like watching a baseball team playing with 8 players……yet they won the game! Beautiful to see.
As I was visiting with the dentist and learning more about his practice, I learned about his Team Trip Program. Here’s how it works….Every month the practice achieves the monthly collection goal, 1% of collections are deposited into a travel fund for the team to go on a trip together. They decide as a group where to go. Since he has started this program this team has gone to Cancun, an Alaskan cruise, a Mediterranean cruise, and this past March they took a 10 day trip to China! How cool is that?
For these team members, working in this practice is much more than a job, it is literally a pathway to a great life. I don’t know what you are going to do with this information, but I am gathering travel destination information for our next team meeting at LifeSmiles! Keep Smiling!