Dealing with staff issues: why your team loves the bad apple

Oct. 26, 2010
Do you have a "Debbie or Darryl Downer" in your practice? Gary Kadi explains why your team has a love/hate relationship with “Double Dee” and offers five steps to eliminate the problem.

By Gary Kadi

This may seem totally counterintuitive but consider that your team loves the “Debbie or Darryl Downer” in your practice. Yet, they may complain about him or her. You believe you cannot do without this person because usually he or she knows how to leverage him/herself as invaluable and irreplaceable because Darryl/Debbie is a rock star in closing cases, collecting money, or assisting. But Darryl/Debbie gossips, fuels negativity, shows up late, and leads the band in a multitude of practice- and team-killing activities.

The cost of overstepping Deb or Darryl is huge. The reason why the rest of the team subconsciously loves people like this is that they distract the attention and responsibility off them. They set the bar low for expectation. You let Darryl/Debbie (DD) get away with low standards, so without speaking a word, the rest of the team gains automatic permission to lower their standards. Understanding this blind spot and overcoming this problem is paramount in the new model of practice management.

5 steps to eliminate your Double Dee

Step one: Take your power back and draw a line in the sand — Have a team meeting and let DD know you appreciate him/her for who he/she is and what he/she has accomplished up until this point. Let DD know that from this moment on “It is no longer acceptable to have a culture of negativity, gossip, drama, accounts receivables ...”

Step two: Setting the new bar for the future — “Ladies and Gentlemen, going forward this is the new baseline for how we are going to operate. Our practice purpose is to be the pioneers for total health and wellness, which will create value to each other and our patients so that we collect at least $_____. When we collect this minimum amount, then you will share in the financial growth.” (Read “Million Dollar Dentistry” for The TRIPLE WIN BONUS System).

Step three: Gaining agreement — All upsets and inefficiencies in practice and life occur for two reasons: there is either a missing agreement or a broken agreement. Ask your team if they agree to move forward with you and get on the bus of which you are now at the helm. This is a paradigm shift from telling and forcing people to comply. When you ask and they agree, then they are choosing to play ... which creates a different motivation.

Step four: Set up your manager to 3M your practice: Measure, Monitor, and Make it go right — You must inspect what you expect, and you cannot do it unless each person has a tangible DPO (Daily Primary Outcome). This is only one measurement per person so that you don’t spend loads of time measuring things that have no purpose. This turns your payroll into a profit center and allows you to swiftly diagnose the source of your inefficiency.

Step five: DO NOT STEP OVER broken agreements — The manager is responsible to address the issue when a team member or doctor isn’t keeping his or her word. This will be tested right out of the box. The more you pay attention and come face to face with those who break agreements, the more peaceful, fulfilled, and profitable you will become.

Author bio
Gary Kadi is a speaker who inspires and an author who challenges. He is the founder of NextLevel Practice, an education-based firm that supports general dental teams in implementing Dr. Kadi’s More Than Making a Living curriculum. His groundbreaking book, “Million Dollar Dentistry,” is requisite reading for doctors at every stage of their careers. Dr. Kadi is passionate about the mechanics of designing practices that make a difference and positioning dentists as pioneers of total health and wellness. For more information, visit