I love music, especially jazz. Listening to jazz has taught me a few lessons about getting the most out of work… and life.
Jazz Lesson #1 – Take Five, and Relax. Some jazz is totally relaxing. Dentists have stressful jobs and occasionally need renewal. To bring a measure of calm into a busy day, take 10 slow, deep cleansing breaths between patients. Or, during your drive home after work, shed the daily stress and unwind (maybe even listen to some mellow jazz on the sound system).
Jazz Lesson #2 – Amp Up Your Energy. There are times when you need a shot of endorphins to power you through a long afternoon. Just as hot jazz can get your blood pumping faster, you can learn to flip an internal switch to energize yourself and meet a challenge… like presenting a big case.
Jazz Lesson #3 – Get in the Groove. There are moments in jazz when the musicians and the listeners come together in pure enjoyment. Dentists face challenges almost every day. This patient loves the veneers, that patient doesn’t like the denture. Watch for and grab the great moments—small or large—in your life. Take the time to really enjoy the highs, and the lows will fade away.
I’ve written a book and many articles about what dentists can learn from Fortune 500 CEOs and other highly successful business leaders. Here are three simple techniques that I was discussing recently with practice owners in our leadership training course. If you think leading a team well is all about barking orders and demanding better results, these suggestions may surprise you.
1. Always be the example. This may be the single most important thing you can do as a practice leader. Your behavior at the office should exemplify what you want to see displayed by your team.
2. Compliment each staff member every day. I’ve seen it countless times… dental team members who are complimented actually perform better because they know they’re appreciated. (This technique also works quite well with patients.)
3. Spend your workday “catching” members of your staff doing something right.When you see someone performing just the way you want them to, don’t take it for granted. Reinforce the good behavior by letting the team member know that you noticed.. and that you appreciate a job well done.
Major league sports is big business. Look at the NFL… a $14 billion-a-year operation with intense fans who keep it growing every year. How do teams manage to reach such high levels of success?
First, they run continual marketing campaigns to sell tickets. They start long before the season begins and create a groundswell of interest. Some fans spend decades on waiting lists in the hope that seats will become available.
Second, major leagues create excitement and enthusiasm among fans. When I met the head of ticket sales for the Baltimore Ravens, I asked him why people (including me) still go to games when they can stay at home and watch comfortably on a big flat screen. He said that it’s all about energy. Part of his job is to ensure that there’s a level of energy at the stadium that makes fans want to be there rather than at home.
Here are the lessons for your practice. First, have excellent, ongoing internal marketing strategies to increase patient referrals and keep new patients coming to your practice. And, second, make sure you and your team have positive attitudes so that, every time patients come in, they experience incredible energy, enthusiasm and excitement.
There’s a simple rule to keep you out of trouble when talking with staff members or patients. The rule is: Don’t discuss sex, religion or politics.
The reason is that all three subjects can be controversial, offensive or inappropriate. Comments that you think are interesting or humorous may very well be disturbing to someone else. Each of us has our own cultural and personal standards in these areas, and you risk ruining a practice-patient relationship—not to mention losing a patient, triggering negative social media posts, etc.—if you venture into these taboo topics.
There’s a fine line between an innocent remark and sexual harassment or embarrassment. Don’t take chances. Just skip anything related to sex altogether.
Religion, in its way, can be equally sensitive. There are many different beliefs and levels of intensity. Some people may find your religious comments perfectly acceptable, while others might be offended. Best to avoid this subject altogether.
And then there’s politics. People have become very polarized politically and often dislike it when others disagree with them. If you feel a need to express your views, reserve it for friends, family or cocktail parties… which, of course, could still be dangerous, but at least it won’t cost you patients!