Think Like a Doctor, Part 2: How to Get Staff Involved in Shaping the Future of Your Practice


In Part 1 of this 10-part series, we talked about how many Periodontists make the mistake of asking staff for input in moving the practice forward. You might think of it as a way of spurring engagement and getting staff to feel at home in their role, but it actually has the opposite effect. 

Remember, once most dental staff learn their trade, they typically won't change how they do things. They fear change and learning new things because they don’t want to seem incompetent, and worry they won't have the training to achieve it.  They also think (and rightfully so) "Why would I want to fix something that doesn't seem broken and has gotten me by just fine for so many years?"

Asking an employee for their input when they haven’t gained many new insights into new technology and industry advancements in the last 10 years is a recipe for disaster.  In addition, you may be thinking they know what's best for them and since they are the ones using the tools for daily tasks, they should be able to decide which tool to use to do their jobs.  However, this could be holding you back. How can they really be sure "what" to use and "how to use it", when they may not know the "why" behind it?

Here’s what you can do to address this:

Set Goals

Personal investment is critical in a Periodontal practice, as it shows you appreciate their work and care about their careers as much as your own. Work with your staff on ways they can improve their role and how it will contribute to the mission and vision you’ve already shared. 

Helping your staff to set personal goals takes a lot of the pressure off of learning new things and being held to a higher standard than what they’re used to because it focuses on them as an individual rather than the capabilities of the team at large. Plus, it gives you an easy way to monitor their progress and know exactly what they’re contributing.

Empower Decision Making

We’re covering this topic in more detail in an upcoming post in this series, but it’s worth mentioning now that empowered employees are engaged, employees. They start taking ownership of problems when they can make a decision about them rather than handing them off to someone else. 

It also forces them to flex their critical thinking muscles and start proactively finding solutions instead of just waiting for them to appear.

Reinforce Your Vision

The future of your practice goes back to your mission and vision. We started this series with the vision in mind because it will ultimately guide you and your staff on the decisions you make. Employees should never lose sight of the greater goals they’re trying to achieve, so keep your vision at the forefront of your practice so that each staff member will know how they’re contributing. 

In case you missed it, my new course goes into more detail on how to clarify your vision and reinforce the value of the team to keep engagement high - go check it out here above and watch for Part 3 on how to put your ideas into context for your staff.

PANDA Perio now offers a master course for easy implementation. This enhanced course is called “How to teach your staff to think like a doctor." We utilize the regular training components of PANDA College and incorporate an extra 10 step series to help strategize implementation in less time by showing you how the team thinks and what they need to know in order to effectively get the inside scoop about how you think. This strategy puts everyone on the same page and empowers your staff, in turn, creating cohesiveness and lowered stress.  We also offer the standard full course curriculum that comes free with purchase on any license of PANDA Perio. 


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