I love it when someone gives me a new way to think about how to make our dental practices better. I've been readingSeth Godin's Bloglately and I like his idea ofTribes. Tribes are groups of people working together to affect change. They work to make things better. Think about how that can apply to dental practices and dentistry as a profession.
I get frustrated. I get frustrated when I hear a dentist complain that he can't find a good staff, can't ge t them to do what he wants them to do, that they basically show up, stay for 8 hours and go home. I hate to hear about staff that take up so much time worrying about petty gossip, in-fighting, jealousy, hierarchy and other nonsense, that there is really little time for practice building, working on building patient service or actually giving care to patients. In the end, everyone whines and no one wins, including the patient. Whining begets more whining until something explodes, implodes or wastes away. Been there, done that, I know the subject, tense and verb.
I get frustrated. I get frustrated when I hear employees gripe behind the dentist's back, behind the dentist's wife's back, behind the assistant's back, behind the hygienist's back, you get it. I hate it when employees tear down rather than work toward a solution. Useless griping solves absolutely nothing. Telling Mary that you hate it when Dr. Jones stays in the operatory talking to Mr. Wright about his golf game after the appointment is over doesn't change anything. Letting Dr. Jones know that you could stay on schedule better if he walked into the hall with Mr. Wright so you could clean the room will have a better outcome. Shooting him dirty looks will only confuse him and make him defensive so don't bother trying that either.
I really get frustrated. I really get frustrated when I hear dental assistants complain about their salary, their respect, their responsibilities, when they won't do anything to help themselves. Guess what? No one should expect a raise just because they've logged another year. No one should expect to make as much as Sally, RDH, just because they think they are just as important or work just as hard. Things like this don't change just because you don't think it's fair. By the way, I'm not saying it is fair, I'm asking, "Whatcha gonna do about it?"
I get inspired. I get inspired when I see someone clearly state what they will expect from the people who work for and with them, and then follow-up and along and make sure it happens that way. I love it when they don't overlook poor performance, apathy, pot-stirring and laziness. I love it when they not only lead, but encourage others to lead, as well. Call them emissaries, apostles, evangilizers, marketers, do-gooders, whatever, if they are leading change for good, it's a tribe that is well worth joining.
I urge dental assistants to stand up and work toward mandatory certification. It's the only way to end the "I can just hire someone from McDonald's for a lot less..." comments and create a more professional, better trained tribe. I urge dentists to hire certified assistants or at least insist that their insist work toward and attain certification.Lot's of people who want a fast job that looks interesting might think they can just walk into a dental office and learn how to suction. Career assistants know it's much more than that. Dentists who employ career assistants know it, too. So why don't more of us care about building and growing respect for our profession? Don't whine, work toward that goal. We can make it happen, we just have to want it bad enough.
We waste so much. We waste time, energy and talent when we complain endlessly, wait for someday and keep putting up with just enough to get through another day. We let fear of change, fear of loss and fear of the unknown trap us into just good enough, or less. We don't have to. We can say, "Enough! This is a new day, a new way, a new tribe. We can make our dental practices places of inspiration and dedication that will leave employer, employee and patient with a feeling of well-being and pride. So, what are you waiting for, lead or follow, but let's get this tribe growing.