Thursday Troubleshooter: How does the team get the dentist to share their enthusiasm?

New ideas excite the team but not the doctor

Trouble July 11

QUESTION: What is the team to do when we are totally motivated and excited about the practice and our potential, but the dentist will not get on board?

ANSWER FROM JUDY KAY MAUSOLF, Founder of Practice Solutions Inc:
I suggest that the office manager schedule a meeting with the doctor to discuss future goals and direction for the practice. The doctor may feel under attack if the entire team questions him or her.

In this meeting, it is important for the office manager to approach from a mindset of care and concern, to avoid judgment and criticism, and to keep the conversation open. The office manager should share the ideas and excitement from the team. Share the benefits of what’s in it for the practice if their ideas are carried through. Ask the doctor what his or her goals and objectives are for the practice. Often times the doctor is on board, but he or she just doesn’t know how to reach the goals. Listen to the doctor’s response because ultimately the practice belongs to him or her. If the doctor is not on board with where the team wants the practice to go, it will continue to cause frustration and eventually destroy your relationships. One of the keys to great team relationships is having an aligned vision for the practice. If the team and doctor cannot get in sync, it may be time to align with a doctor with a similar vision.

ANSWER FROM LISA MARIE SPRADLEY, the “Front Desk Lady” of TCB Dental Consulting:
It is so easy to get excited about a new marketing strategy or product that team members think can help elevate thepractice to the next level. Perhaps the team even discussed it in an practice meeting and thought the doctor was on board, only to have the doctor shuffle his or her feet about making the final decision to commit. This leaves the team feeling like their input is not valuable, and it can cause bad feelings and lead to a lack of participation by the team in the future. If the team is truly excited and ready to promote the practice, they should write down a list of ideas that they think will benefit the practice, and give it to the office manager or leader to present to the doctor. This could be something as simple as a community service project, or something more involved such as planning to attend continuing education together or investing in new equipment for the operatory. The doctor can then look at this list and choose one or two ideas, or perhaps modify an idea to make it work better for the practice. By approaching the issue in this way, the doctor will feel involved, and the doctor rightfully has the final say. Successful teams work together, and this leads to other ventures that will keep the momentum and enthusiasm growing.

If, however, the doctor is not interested in sharing the team’s excitement or does not encourage their involvement in the practice, then it may be time to move forward in another practice. When we love what we do, we should always be able to feel the joy of being a part of a team that shares the same values and goals that we do.

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