To me, T.E.A.M. means “together employees achieve mastership.”
It’s a convenient acronym. But it’s more than that. In order for it to work leadership has to
make sure its team has the tools to succeed. Training, education, attitude and money are
the building blocks. Take away any of those elements and your team is just a gathering of
Experience has taught me that people, who both want and need employment, are the ideal candidates for building a great team. I’ve seen how people who hate their jobs and those who don’t need their jobs are never really fully committed to them.
Commitment, loyalty, trust and a desire to work are the ingredients for fantastic employees
who become integral parts of amazing teams. And at the risk of sounding somewhat agist -
and having been a former member of this cohort - I’ve found people in their 20s go through
so many of their own changes that the odds of them still being with your team into their 30s
is not great. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give young people opportunities. But do so
knowing that your job is probably seen as a stepping stone to something bigger and better.
The average dental office will have fewer than ten employees. That works in the owner’s
favour. Managing and coaching a small staff provides excellent opportunities for
mentorship and skills development while also delivering exceptional service to the patients.
But that tidy size comes at a price. Fewer staff means difficulties in times of family
commitments, illness and such. However when you have a real TEAM they pull together
and help each other out - so that your patient experience doesn’t have to suffer.
Another quality I look for when building a team, is a person’s marketing, sales and
business experience. Knowing the field of dentistry is a nice but not necessarily essential
skill for an employee to have. If forced to choose between someone who is knowledgeable
and one who has great sales and management skills, I will always pick the latter. Clinical
skills can be taught; teaching management and sales are much more difficult.
That doesn’t mean your team should be devoid of dental experience. You will always need
to have individuals with a background and knowledge of the dental business and dental
hygiene. I would be lying if I said it is easy to find such individuals; in fact, it is extremely
difficult. In some cases, it may appear impossible, but it can be done.
There is an old adage in business that for every $10,000 you pay a person, you should
spend a month to find the RIGHT person. What that means is that if you’re going to pay
someone $50,000 a year, you should be willing to spend five months on the hiring process.
I can’t emphasize that enough. It is a critical step in accomplishing your goal of developing
the ideal dental business. Not selecting the right individuals when putting together your
team will result in an enormous cost to you and your organization over the long run.
If this sounds like a lot of work - it is. But it’s the kind of work that if done right, will be pay dividends every day you open your doors.