“Service is the desire to put the interest of others before ourselves.” – John DiJulius III
This weekend just gone I was given the opportunity of living this ideology.
Now, I’m often concerned that people think the idea of giving service is simply a catchphrase.
Something overused yet rarely followed.
And sure, there’s the belief out there that people only do things for an ulterior motive.
“You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”
is the antithesis of the DiJulius quote.
And why wouldn’t you expect that sort of belief about the back scratching, to be more the norm in a society where WIIFM is at the forefront of most people’s mind.
[WIIFM = What’s In It For Me?]
This is why, when a business, or a Dental Office chooses to be a servant to it’s customers, and be a true service, it stands out from other businesses in its town and other businesses in its industry, because it is indeed being truly different.
A dental office acting on the principle of giving, rather than taking, will always be the dentist sought out by the people in that town who really care.
And isn’t that a nicer thing to be known for?
Wouldn’t you much rather be known for your service and your care than be known as the cheapest dentist in town?
Because in every town, in every industry there will always be twenty to twenty five percent of the population who are happy to pay for your service and who *DO NOT EVEN CARE* what your competitors are charging.
Because they’re happy with your product and appreciative of the service that you provide.
And it’s when we operate our business from this premise and from this mantra we have the opportunity to really enjoy the gift of giving service.
Because in doing so, it allows us to charge what we are truly worth rather than what we feel is comparative or comparable to what our meanest competitors are charging.
And with that higher fee and that fee buffer or cushion that we create, we know that we will attract a more appreciative client or customer.
Which means we can now spend more time with those people and so give them more service.
It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy…..
So here’s my story.
This weekend I attended an annual meeting of the finest speakers and consultants and writers in the dental industry.
It’s a meeting that I have attended for six years now in a row.
It’s an American meeting, and strangely, I’m usually the token Australian present.
So this year, here’s what happened.
At the welcome cocktail function, I was introduced to one of the keynote speakers, who by coincidence, was also an Australian like me, though unlike me, she was now living in the USA.
Interestingly, as we conversed, she let me know that speaking to a dental audience was new for her, and that she was very interested in the possibility of booking more engagements in the dental industry.
I asked her whether she knew many of the attendees, and she let me know that she did not.
And so I went to work for at her service.
At the end of the function I had introduced our speaker to four significant dental industry key people with whom she could connect with following the meeting.
I was her maven.
The fun thing about my role that evening was the satisfaction that I felt in offering a helping hand, and being knowing able to open a few doors.
But that’s not all.
The following morning, after listening to our keynote speaker and her content, I was able to suggest a specific very popular meeting for her, and with the stroke of one email and an SMS, I put that meeting planner and our speaker in touch with each other.
Both were very appreciative of making that immediate connection.
I felt like Melanie Griffith in the movie Working Girl.
I was excited!
Now, I hope it all works out.
But I’m sure that what I did with those introductions will be a catalyst for bigger and better things.
I was amazed at the feelings of goodwill created by my having put the interests of others ahead of my own.
Because I had no interests other than for a happy ending.
How can we do that at our Dental Office?
How can we put the interests of others ahead of our own?
How can our team members do the same?
I know there a myriad of opportunities to do so…
We only need to open our minds, and our hearts, to the process.
One of my greatest sources of inspiration for me comes from the input I receive my participants at those very workshops.
You see there’ll be many times throughout the day where those attending will, at various stages, each have what I call a *light bulb moment* where all of a sudden the lights come on for them, and the penny drops….
And the planets line up.
It’s rewarding to see participants leaving at the end of each workshop armed with an arsenal of useful tools and binding principles that they can take back to their practices and put into action immediately on the following Monday morning.
It may just be a phrase, or a better way of saying something.
It may be something new?
Or it may be something old that they’d heard before but had somehow forgotten to implement…
Or something they used to be doing that now for some reason they were not doing…
Or it may be a whole new way of doing something…
And best of all, it may be more than only one thing.
But even if it were only one new idea, only one small change, it would be enough of a change that to implement it immediately would result in great variances and improvements in the results achieved compared to implementing the change at a later date…
Or compared to not even implementing the change at all.
A friend of mine used to always say:
“None of us are smarter than all of us.”
And that phrase is exceptionally true at my workshops.
Sometimes some of the best information comes as a result of the group digressing during one of the many questions from the floor.
And sure, you can read a book, read a blog, listen to an audio, or watch a podcast, but there’s something to be said about the dynamics of a group in a group discussion.
When my team built their own version of their Ultimate Patient Experience, and when my clients’ teams build out their versions, it’s the group discussions that really bring the whole thing together so much better than if someone simply got up in front of them and said:
“This is the way we’re going to be doing things from now on.”
Because dictatorship more often than not does not work well.
And the resultant anarchy or mutiny is not pleasant to deal with.
Sure, there needs to be leadership and direction.
But it’s with the right leadership and with respected choices and directions, that we can lead our team to a place where they will come up with the most innovative and effectual contemplations.
And that’s got to be better than any lecture.
The interactions and inter-reactions of team members to each other’s suggestions and comments when we discussed the machinations of each of their roles during each of their individual stages in the Patient Experiences were indeed priceless.
The resultant aggregation of information based upon the multiple inputs and suggestions creates a product uniquely different for each of the practices that I have the privilege to work with.
In a far more positive way than an out and out lecture does.
I’ve found that dental office employees tend to respond in a much better manner when they are initially stressed, rather than when they are simply “going through the motions” of mediocrity.
In my practice, and in other practices that I work with, some of the most inspiring responses from participants have come during the team think-tanks, as we’ve gone over the roles of the team members searching to create those unique points of difference for their patients.
Knowing how to draw the best from your team is the key here.
Using the philosophy of giving them more information does not always result in the best outcomes.
After all, the concept of feeding the horse more oats does not in itself create a faster horse.
A team inspired to create its own change will indeed perform its own metamorphosis.
Creating an environment for those changes is the key.
Masterminding at work, as well as with other like-minded teams who are “on the same page” is a crucial difference that sets the great practices apart from the good practices.
Including the team members in the process is important in creating a better outcome for the team.
If you want to have your team join my Ultimate Mastermind Programme send me an email to david@theUPE.com with the Subject Line: Mastermind
I hope I’m as sharp as him when I’m in my seventies.
Recently John had to give up tennis.
You see, after he fell out of a tree that he was pruning when he was eighty-nine, he’s never physically recovered, and he said his regular tennis doubles opponents were always playing it down his blind side.
And so tennis for John became less fun…
One of the things I love about John, and his tennis, was that up to the age of ninety whatever that he was still playing, John continued to have tennis lessons from a tennis coach.
Until it became physically impossible for him to cover all of the court, John wanted to make sure that his shot making and his stroke play were both as good as they could be.
You see John knew the lay of the land.
As a WWII POW, he’d been through a bit.
And what he knew about his tennis game was that if he didn’t keep on top of it, with as much help as he could get, then his game would get away from him.
His tennis coach was there to keep John accountable and to make sure that he was performing to his best potential.
Now it would be nice if we could all have our own personal tennis coach.
To keep us on top of our game.
But what about a business coach?
How many business owners go through their business life without professional assistance, and advice and accountability?
And then get to a sticking point, or a wall, where everything starts to unravel.
There are plenty…
For me, as a weekend amateur golfer, I always found that I performed best when I had my golf swing regularly checked and monitored by a professional on a regular basis.
That’s how my golf game stayed at its best, and as a serious ten marker, I always was able to walk the tightrope between a game on song and a game ready to self destruct.
And those of you who’ve played golf at that end of A-grade know the frustrations of a game that teeters between the joys of perfection and the jaws of desperation.
One time, in the space of five days, I shot 79 on the Tuesday, 91 on the Wednesday and then 74 on the Saturday.
All on the same course and all played on the same handicap [of 12].
So what’s my point?
It’s the same in our businesses….
One day we can be sailing along quite nicely, and then the next day, the next week, the next month, well, things are different.
And for the worse.
And you wonder to yourself what the heck just happened?
Because you thought that you had it nailed…
But you didn’t have it nailed….
You just thought that you did.
Having a coach, an ear, a mentor to bounce ideas off may have been an advantage when things have gone south…
Because sometimes there is a second set of eyes, or a second lot of grey matter who’s able to think outside the box, and also think independently and without emotion about what is best, and what is happening.
And what needs to happen.
A good golf coach can spot the weaknesses in your swing a long time ahead of when they start to manifest as problems that are so ingrained that they become very difficult to correct.
I like to think that with all my dentist coaching clients that I take them to a point that is better than when they started.
And I do…..
But I more often than not realise that although I take them to a better place, that sometimes along the way that place can be precarious, and they can indeed be on a knife edge precipice that needs even more assistance to maintain position..
Most of the time, the initial improvement is just the beginning…
There’s usually so much more that’s needed to maintain what has been built so that it stays built.
And can be built upon…
So in dentistry, just like in golf, there’s rarely a quick fix that stays fixed.
It’s long term mentoring and commitment that wins out in the end.
It’s a fact of life that lottery millionaires more often than not blow their millions in a very short time.
It’s said that if all the wealth in the world was evenly distributed, that within one or two years it would soon be back in the hands of those who originally had it…
And it’s the same with quick found gains.
In golf, and in business.
Only with commitment and accountability do we see those who have gained it keep it.