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Build a better team

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

Why is nothing happening?

Have you experienced attending a great dental course. As you came back to the clinic full of enthusiasm to implement what you learned. Only to discover after 2-4 weeks how none of your wishes have come true?

Resistance to change

Let's follow the previous scenario. The owner of the dental practice has been on a course and is enthusiastically talking about the amazing changes that are about to take place. At the opposite end of the room, the oldest dental assistant is reassuring the youngest that they should just pretend nothing is happening. A fortnight later, the manager's enthusiasm has disappeared and daily life continues as usual.

80% of all social groups are resistant to change. So it's an uphill struggle to introduce change into our practice. That doesn't mean you have to give up beforehand. But accept that change can be difficult and time-consuming. Below, I'll give you a few tips for having a change-ready corporate culture.

Is the practice framework in place?

The starting point for my recommendations is based on the belief that all our employees are working hard to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

The challenge is often that we, as managers, have not been good enough at setting the framework for task performance.

  • For example, does the receptionist know what we think is important to talk to potential new customers about on the phone?

  • Do they know why it's important to listen for the reason behind the reason for the call?

  • Do they realise how much of a difference they can make in that first meeting over the phone?

If the team don't have a clear overview of their tasks and the context in which to carry it out, they are doomed to fail in our view.

But often the team actually do the job optimally, based on their own interpretation of the objectives of the tasks.

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Take the lead

When we have a clear vision for our dental clinic and our private lives, we have a leader's touchstone. We can set a direction others should- and want to-follow.

It is our dental clinic and our vision.

We are the leaders.

Make sure you stand out as a leader.

Make sure you have a very simple and clear vision, communicated often in both writing and speech.

Time for training

Set aside time once a month or once a quarter to train the team. I recommend spending 4 hours from 8-12, with the answering machine on and the front door locked. This is training time for the whole staff.

No time for training?

Accept the status quo.

What should be trained?

It may be new techniques the practice owner has learned on a course we want to implement. It could be communication skills or marketing approaches.

It could be the skulls of one of the dental assistants we want the entire team to be cross trained to perform (impression taking, IO scanning, photos, panoramic x-ray, equipment maintenance, development of new instrument handling systems, cad/cam stain & glaze, phone skills, SoMe strategies, patient hand over, patient experience protocols, etc.)

Everything can be trained and improved. However, it requires that we, as leaders, have prepared ourselves and have a structured programme for the 4 hours of the day.

Who should teach?

As managers, we often have an idea of how we want a task done. This MAY mean teaching and motivating our team ourselves.

However it could also be a clinical assistant who knows how to take optimal impressions or digital scans, for example.

She can then teach other team members the task including dentists, dental nurses and receptionists. In this way, we recognise the skills of the clinical assistant and give the other team members the opportunity to achieve the same recognition.

REMEMBER TO PRAISE A LOT IN PUBLIC. Everyone wants to be seen, heard and recognised. It motivates everyone enormously to improve when they are able to achieve honest praise and recognition.

If you're a little slow to make changes through training, or you're not comfortable stepping up as a trainer. You may choose to hire a consultant to do the job for you. Here, in my opinion, it is important to have an agreement on the follow up, at the latest 4 weeks after the training. This can be online, by phone or in person. Depending on the complexity of the material and the task at hand. Or the temperament, philosophy and workflow of the clinic.

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It is no use having our staff trained to do a task in a certain way if we do it differently ourselves. Our staff do not do as we say, but as we do.

Let me repeat myself: "Our team do not do as we say, but as we do."

It is important to recognise our own importance in implementing change. If we do not take implementation seriously and do not point out deviant patterns of action, we will never be able to implement change successfully.

Be patient

Don't worry. Be stubborn. All changes take time.

Sometimes changes take months or years to fully take hold. If we, as leaders, persist in the need for change. If we ourselves lead by example and praise our staff every time they try their best. And if we help them in a positive way when they fail. Then there is hope that we will:

1. Implement our desired changes and

2. Build a super motivated TEAM.

Changes in your practice

Need help implementing change in your practice?

I am passionate about helping dentists have a better everyday life, where the clinic supports private life and creates the freedom to live out dreams.

Please feel free to send me an email and share your thoughts with me.

Your information is confidential and will be treated accordingly.

Kind regards

Jesper Hatt DDS

T: +41 78 268 00 78


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