To transition from dentist to business owner, we need to be backed by a team. But with teams comes complexity. There are different personalities, desires, and preferences that all need to come together toward a singular goal: the success of the dental practice.
Creating the perfect team is often a trial and error situation. For many business owners, it can take years to create a business culture that nurtures success. However, today on the blog we have a few tips that can help accelerate the process.
The Performance and Culture Matrix
This is a 2×2 matrix that measures performance on the vertical axis and culture on the horizontal axis. The employees in the top right quadrant are the office superstars – they’re the perfect performance and culture fits. They’re great at their job and their personalities fit well into the office culture. These employees are your A-team.
On the bottom right are the B-players. They are already a great culture fit, but they might need a little work on their technical skills. A C-player is on the top left of the matrix making them very technically competent but not a strong culture fit. Finally, D-players are on the bottom left of the matrix and they are neither a good culture nor performance fit.
Often, C-players can be the hardest to handle on a team. They are clearly amazing at what they do, but even though we thought they might also be a great culture fit, it doesn’t quite work out that way.
Recognising which quadrant each of your employees falls into can help you understand where there may be future tension or conflict. For example, B players might have a lot of potential within your business if you can offer continued education, seminars, additional training, mentorships, or whatever it might be that they need to polish their skill set.
You have positions. Not people.
Creating an organisation chart will play a massive role in your hiring strategies. With the right organisation chart, you can create positions and expectations. Then using your chart as a guide, you can fill those positions with the best people. This often works better than trying to change the organisational chart to suit the people within your business already. Using a chart like this serves the business and the greater purpose of your business, which in turn serves your team.
You can think about it this way: on a soccer team you’ve got a goalkeeper, you’ve got a striker, and you’ve got defence players. While the striker is flashy and gets all the credit because he or she scores the goals, without a goalkeeper, you won’t win many games. Each person on a soccer team has their specific role for a reason. When they come together as a whole, it creates a successful team. Putting each player in a position that suits their strengths means each player can contribute to the success of the team and therefore their own success.
Creating an organisational chart can help you define positions so that everyone knows their expectations and can meet them effectively.
Have a deep bench.
Once you have your organisational chart set up and your team in the positions best suited to their strengths, you can start to create a contingency plan. In short, you can create benchwarmers within second charts. These are people that are up and coming through the ranks. They are trained in new positions and can help fill in gaps for other people. When employees go on holiday, go on leave, or transition out of the company, their roles and duties still need to be accomplished. This is when benchwarmers are wonderful.
Sometimes employees will be out of the office unexpectedly so it’s a good idea to have contingency plans in place for who can move into those roles as needed.
Live your core values. They become your business culture.
Going back to the performance and culture matrix for a moment… Culture is one of the keys to building a successful, world-class team. One of the mistakes I often see is that while most dental practices will have a mission statement or a set of core values, they become simply marketing on their business website.
Your core values should be what drive your company culture. It shouldn’t just be a plaque on a wall or a mission statement gathering dust. It can be a living, breathing document that grows and changes as your business and team do. You can get your team involved. What do we do? How do we do it? Why do we do it? What is important to us?
Keep your integrity and lead from the front.
Hold yourself accountable. When you and your team know your direction and your core values, it will help keep your ship afloat during a storm. Everyone knows right from wrong. Everyone knows integrity. As a result, when you know something’s right, you can easily keep going and if there’s something wrong, you can make a change.
This is easiest to do when you lead from the front. As a business owner, it can often become all-too-easy to end up locked away in an office doing paperwork and appear unavailable. However, it is important to stay present in the business. If the garbage bags need to be taken down, you can take them down. (On the flipside, if there’s something only you can do, someone else can fill that role).
Creating a world-class team is perhaps the most important step to creating a world-class business. Dental practices will live and die by the people that work within them. If you aren’t being thoughtful about the people you hire, the culture you cultivate, or the roles you lead, then these decisions will happen without your guidance.
Creating a great team is a little bit science, a little bit art, and completely worth taking the time to master.