Has the pandemic fragmented and disorganized your team?

by Roger P. Levin, DDS

In the last few weeks, I’ve been speaking to many orthodontists throughout the country. One recurring theme in all my conversations has been the team.  More specifically, that the team seems to be fragmented and disorganized with many team members even needing guidance to remind them of the protocols that were in place before COVID started. Perhaps this is not happening in your office, but there are many concerns regarding teambuilding that did not exist before the pandemic. People are nervous, anxious, challenged, concerned about their futures, their children, and their families. On any given day different team members can behave differently as new challenges come and go.

So how do you keep your team together through all of this?

Don’t stop reading when I mention that it really is all about having a mission. The best way to bring your team back together is to establish a real mission. A mission is your single most important purpose. It is what drives people at work to do a great job. It is what allows people to be part of something bigger than themselves. A mission is not only your purpose, but the soul of the practice.

So, think deeply about your real mission. What are you committed to above all else?  Write that down.  Don’t worry about the words at first. We believe that mission statements should not be over two sentences. Anything over two sentences will never be remembered by the staff and will end up being put on a nice sign somewhere that no one ever looks at. Two sentences can be repeated, used to make points, talked about, and can become the soul of the practice.

Mission statements have become public relations activities with little meaning. Most teams cannot recite the mission statement because they don’t believe it, they haven’t read it in years, they don’t think about it, they don’t care about it and many times it may simply be too long. Mission will keep the team together.

Everyone needs a purpose. Otherwise they are just working for a paycheck which means you will have their minimal effort, no sense of culture and gradual (or frequent) turnover. Many employees cite “lack of mission or purpose” when asked why they change jobs.  Don’t let that be the reason you lose good team members, especially now.  People want to work for a mission-driven organization, whether they consciously think of it that way or not. Let them find it in your practice. OP

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the chief executive office 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 Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit levingroup.com or email rlevin@levingroup.com