One of the greatest mistakes I have seen countless managers and business owners make is convincing themselves that they will be able to influence everyone's beliefs.
This is something we hear again and again after dentists come back the Monday after their first time at Facially Generated Treatment Planning, only to be greeted by blank stares as they try to explain their enthusiasm for a new way of approaching dentistry to their staff. There will always be those who are natural leaders, those that people seem to just follow no matter what, but for the rest of us, one strategy I have found is to focus on changing the actions of your staff.
Be Proactive with Your Staff
What do I mean when I say you should start focusing on the actions of your staff? I am suggesting that you should determine what actions you want to see your staff take to move the needle forward on the goal you set for your practice ahead of time. By making one small change at a time your staff will not feel like their whole world has been flipped upside down and they will be more likely to do what you have asked.
The additional benefit of focusing on actions is from something called cognitive dissonance. This is a well-tested theory in psychology that essentially states that the human intellect cannot handle our actions and our beliefs being in conflict. If we do something we don’t believe in, our belief structure will change to align with the actions we have taken. In the case of your staff, if you want their beliefs to change do not waste time on intellectual arguments or external motivation – just change what they do. Eventually, as they perform the actions you want you will see their beliefs change.
The key to making this strategy work is to make changes incrementally; this will help ensure that what you are doing is in the best interest of the patients and the practice. If you move too drastically, it will create resistance. If what you are doing appears to cause harm, your staff will leave. The key to making big changes in the practice is to keep the end goal in mind, break it down into small measureable steps and be patient.
In future articles, I will explore additional strategies to get your staff moving in the direction of your new goal.
Adam McWethy, MA-HRIR, SPHR, is the Director of Human Resources and Faculty at Spear Education