Building a results-orientated team
Tracy Stuart says rewards can reap results and encourage your team to work and perform better
Do you lie awake at 4am with your eyelids wired open? Do you find yourself still in work mode during your weekends, unable to let it go?
If you do, then welcome to the club of business owner or manager! Perhaps when you close for the day your team exodus is more reminiscent of rats fleeing a sinking ship, or they rush out at the end of play on a Friday like their pants are on fire to enjoy their weekend of freedom. This may leave you, the business owner or manager feeling you are in a pretty isolated place, as you are left with all the ‘other’ responsibility to deal with.
In fact, most of those guys who just hot footed it out the door, have no idea what ‘other’ responsibility is or that it even exists! Many of them know they came in in a good mood and have been busy all day, so what have you got to look so subdued about? In fact, you had a bee in your bonnet about something as you were bustling about! Undoubtedly they think it goes with the territory. You know, that territory where some sort of evil magic takes place that has turned you into a blinkered result orientated stress-head.
Subliminal it might be, but team behaviours such as this are also fuelling one of the biggest reasons for your 4am insomniac moments and behaving like a bustling stress-head! The result of which leaves you staring at the ceiling at 4am wondering –
• How can you get more clients through your door?
• Team attrition – how can you stop it as you know you can’t afford to increase salaries?
• You are working longer hours but the profit is static – why?
• How are you going to get any time off as you can’t afford a replacement?
• How are you going to handle the loan review with your bank manager?
• Can you afford to employ another dentist?
• Too many gaps in the diary but how can you fill them?
In my experience a cast-iron solution to this problem lies in a well thought out and implemented reward programme. It won’t turn ‘moaning’ Myrtle into your star employee, but it will provide a whole gamut of solutions including a more rapid and sustainable growth in your profits and the accountability may mean Myrtle leaves for pastures new.
Let’s start with a simple definition first. TEAM stands for:
‘A team is a collective of people (not just you) with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job or project. A team becomes more than just a collective of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members.’
A results-orientated team
Imagine a sliding scale for a minute where a great cohesive team is 10 points and 0 is where you don’t have a team at all but a group of employees. Answer honestly where you think your team fit before reading on.
Regardless of where you pitch your team within that sliding scale a team focused on results can still get massive improvements in the results you are currently seeing. However, its effectiveness will be marred the closer you consider you are to the mid-point and below. Nothing is impossible to fix but there will undoubtedly be some very clear cut things in other areas that need to be addressed too before you can truly appreciate its effectiveness in its entirety. If you need help here – please get in touch – contact details are on this page.
In fact, a results-orientated team will also improve your sleep pattern too and have you spending far less time waking in the wee hours thinking about your balance sheet! If you are looking for a silver bullet to fix your dental practice and the results you are getting, there isn’t one. There are some key things that you can do that will improve your results – what you have to do is implement them!
A rewards/bonus programme is a proven and really effective way to regain control of your life, your sleep and your business! Not only that, you will also reap the benefits of making your team feel valued both as individuals and as the collective they are. When you get the right rewards/bonus programme in place you will find their focus is heightened and becomes closer to emulating your own. In fact with the right mechanism in place they will be raring to go with more motivation than you ever thought possible!
There is always resistance within the dental fraternity to bringing in any reward/bonus programme and not least because the boss sees it as throwing yet more money at something that is costing him/her dear already.
With the right scheme this is easily remedied and I can certainly give you more detailed guidance on this as space here is limited to do this justice. It does require a certain clarity and openness from you as the business leader to set up the right programme initially, but with the right advice that really isn’t as difficult as it probably sounds. Your rewards programme should support and mimic the goals of your short, medium and longer term goals of your practice and will accelerate your progress in achieving them.
Once you have the programme outlined and focused on what it is you wish to achieve, it is important to discuss and share your ideas with your team. Seek their opinion, they may put ideas forward you had not considered. It is important they feel part of it; after all it is for them so it must motivate them and give them a reward they truly value.
Set up in the right way, it will encourage committed team players to stay focused whilst discouraging those with lame excuses of falling sick or poor time-keeping. Furthermore, wherever I have implemented rewards programmes the cessation of sickness and poor time-keeping has been synonymous to the point of being non-existent.
Suffice it to say with agreed goals and timescales in place, each member of your team can effectively be involved and play their part in achieving them. With this very honed and targeted approach, you as the business owner will have harnessed the additional energy of your team to get behind your goals too. With the promise of the reward you will be amazed at the positive motivational effect this has on your team and in making them pull together collectively. You will also find they are far more conscientious and motivated to achieve the result you are after too.
When implemented correctly it won’t cost you a penny you can’t afford. I can vouch for this having implemented many rewards programmes and can assure you, the correct programme will reap you growth in your profits which up until now you have probably been struggling to attain. Actually, it will also provide you with incredibly positive solutions to ALL the bullet points in the list above!
Another reason I hear for not implementing a rewards programme is that you have some very high performers in your team. Therefore, it would be unfair on those lesser mortals as it would only serve to leave them feeling peeved on the side-lines.
Not at all. A dental practice is a small business and it has to be inclusive from the practice manager to the part-time Receptionist taking into account everyone’s role in the customer service experience. If you have not yet realised that your clients buy into your team and make their appointments based on that experience long before you as the dentist can tell me the colour of their eyes, then you best stop reading this now as you are wasting your time.
Just to re-iterate, ‘A team is a collective of people (not just you) with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job or project.’
A carefully planned, and thought out rewards programme will encourage and reward every member of your team, from the part-time to the full time if they have contributed towards achieving the common goal.
It’s so important when considering implementation of such a programme that it serves the collective team and does not create derision. Rewards programmes, especially in small organisations such as dental practices, should be for the benefit of all. The right programme will create cohesion in teams where previously none existed.
A reward in itself
An effective rewards programme can be a great recruiting tool for attracting the right people and can be your panacea to staff attrition too. Remember that all too familiar feeling of having to recruit new people? Just as you overcome one hurdle and find the right person (you hope) it feels like another is off to pastures new.
There are many hidden costs inflicted on your business when you find yourself on the recruitment roller coaster yet again! It erodes valuable time. Time you would otherwise have spent fee earning for your Practice.
It requires further investment from the outset as new team members must be fully trained into the company ethos so they can replicate service levels and meet expectation. Many practices operate a successful buddy system to maintain standards until the fledgling team member is fully versed and ready. This can mean loss of performance from the lead buddy for a while as they take the time to do this.
You would be amazed at the difference an effective rewards programme will bring to this area of your business too. Companies frequently report that staff attrition has become a thing of the past for them. This also means that the investment in the creation of mind-blowing customer service training is compounded. Instead many practices have to settle for starting from scratch each time and never really making any headway into elevating the success of their practice in this way.
The result of implementing an effective rewards programme is organic growth within your business brought about by fully utilising and motivating the people you are investing in from the outset. Your team. Make them feel valued. Make them feel motivated. Share common goals. Forget dragging everyone else along behind you kicking and screaming, leaving you exhausted and awake at 4am! Your team (because this will weld them as a team) will be driving their own sections forward to the good of all. Your practice can at last be a collective performance working toward a common goal with shared rewards.