When it comes to advice on being successful, whether you talk to a Fortune 500 CEO or a basketball coach, they’d both tell you the same simple truth: You’re only as good as your team. It’s no different for an orthodontist. The best orthodontic offices simply have the best performing orthodontic teams. Selected as one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds by Forbes, Jim Collins authored Good to Great, a #1 bestseller which examines why some companies make the leap to superior results. Collins makes it very clear that success is more about who you employ than what services or products you offer. Any orthodontist would be thrilled to be surrounded by a group of people who are motivated to do their best, inspired to come to work, and continually growing in their positions. In order to get the most out of your staff, you must take the lead on motivating and inspiring them.

Motivate and Inspire Your Team

Orthodontists may be inclined to blame their orthodontic teams when performance is lagging. Instead, doctors should recognize that they are 100% responsible for their team’s performance, and work hard to motivate people to move in the right direction. You can motivate and inspire your team in many different ways including:

Recognizing good performance. Many people spend their lives being criticized and not being appreciated, so recognizing people for their work means a lot. When you acknowledge people, try to be very specific. It could be the front desk person who filled in the schedule, or the treatment coordinator who identified a very important and productive case. Whatever the good deed, it’s worth your recognition.

Be a positive leader. Come to work every day with high energy and enthusiasm and you can revolutionize an orthodontic practice in a very short period of time. It can start with how you talk. Keep in mind that anything negative can be said in a positive way, so why not use a positive approach? Negative commentary tears people down, making them defensive and scared. Positive commentary builds people up and makes them feel happy and joyful. Happy teams are more motivated to provide higher levels of customer service.

Building a true practice culture. Building a practice culture requires real planning and thought because it needs to fit your vision for the practice. Do you want a high-energy, positive orthodontic team that enjoys coming to work and spending time together as they grow in their professional lives? Or are you more concerned with offering the highest level of clinical care in a comfortable setting? Perhaps you are dedicated to serving underprivileged populations. Whatever your culture is, the key is to define it clearly and establish it through messaging to the team. For example, I know of one orthodontic practice that has 15 key attributes that define their culture. They talk about one attribute every day in their Daily Business meeting and reference all key attributes throughout the day. A clearly defined culture gives team members a higher calling to live up to and you’ll find that people will rise to the challenge.

While not every team member can be motivated, most of them can. Another way to guarantee that you have a motivated orthodontic team is to hire motivated people. Part of your interview process should focus heavily on whether or not a candidate is a self-motivated person who is willing to grow.

Building a great orthodontic team takes time, planning, and hard work. But the rewards are well worth it. As orthodontics becomes more competitive, one of the greatest advantages a practice can have is a motivated, inspired, and energized team. When you’re surrounded by this type of team, your practice and life will be incredibly enjoyable and so will the lives of the people around you. OP

Roger-Levin_062016_croppedRoger P. Levin, DDS, is executive founder of Dental Business Study Clubs—Dentistry’s only All-Business Study Clubs, the next generation of referral marketing for specialists. For more information, call 833.DBSCLUBS or visit dbsclubs.com