By Roger P. Levin, DDS
Leaders by nature love to share knowledge, information, and expertise. In fact, one of the hallmarks of a great leader is that they always spend time educating and teaching others. That is why you so often see retired fortune 500 CEOs take part-time teaching positions after they complete their business career. In a sense, successful CEOs always have to be teachers.
Orthodontists that create a culture of ongoing education and information dissemination will build better teams, and better teams build better practices. The challenge for orthodontists is that they are so busy with patient treatment that they lack time for teaching or taking advantage of “teachable moments.” This is one of the reasons that many orthodontic teams stagnate, and when a crisis such as COVID-19 emerges, they don’t have the ability to pivot in new directions to help the practice stay at high levels of productivity.
Here are three suggestions that will help you become a better and more consistent teacher for the benefit of your team and, ultimately, the practice.
- Set a specific goal for how often your team should receive new education. If you want your team to receive a consistent flow of relevant information, give them a blog, article, or link to something interesting once a week and ask them to be ready to discuss it with the entire group. For example, you could give them the information on a Tuesday and ask them to be ready to have a short three or four-minute discussion about anything they learned that could be applied to the office at Thursday’s morning meeting. This will help your staff to begin focusing on learning, self-improvement, and practice improvement.
- Find gurus or mentors. Do you know certain people or organizations that bring excellent information to the orthodontic specialty on a consistent basis? If so, go to them because so much of their information is now free. For example, our firm has a “Tip of the Day” that comes out Monday through Friday and a YouTube channel with 24/7 access. There are also many other firms that offer their version of free education and information. You should access this information, share it with the team, and continue to get to these gurus and mentors as long as they are useful to you and your practice. By regularly accessing specific individuals and organizations, you’ll have a better chance of maintaining consistency.
- Dedicate 15 minutes of the monthly staff meeting to specific education. Take the time to plan the meeting out in advance, creating the best possible agenda, which should include a monthly topic. The topic could focus on customer service, clinical productivity, training on a new piece of technology, or whatever is deemed to be important for that month.
An orthodontist wears many hats, and one of them needs to be teacher. This will keep your team stimulated and motivated to improve practice performance.
Roger P. Levin, DDS is the CEO and Founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 practices to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written 67 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the U.S. and around the world. To contact Dr. Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit www.levingroup.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.