Hire Slowly and Fire Quickly.
Usually, in dentistry, it’s the other way around.
Usually dentists, as business owners, tend to hang on painfully to team members who they should be letting go quickly.
We’ve all seen it.
Whether we are owners ourselves, or whether we are fellow team members.
Our practice keeps people who really are not doing the best thing for the practice.
This may include team members who are “going through the motions” as well as team members who just do not “get it”.
Team members may be going through the motions because they are not comfortable with the direction the practice wants to go or they are not comfortable with the directives they are receiving from above.
Maybe the practice has a new direction?
Maybe the practice is now promoting a new or different treatment philosophy or treatment modality that the team member is not in agreement with.
I’m not sure why those team members are not on the “same page”?
Because those team member’s duty really is to tow the company line.
Just like in the army, they need to follow orders.
If they don’t agree with the direction that the practice is now heading, treatment wise, and they are not the owner, what gives them the right to pass judgment?
And then there are times when team members simply do not get it…
We’ve all seen it.
There are team members who feel that their boss, the dentist, is charging too much and making too much money.
And so they apply the “virtual handbrake” to the practice.
When questioned privately by the patients these team members do not support the dentist’s diagnoses.
They fail to apply discipline to appointment scheduling and to appointment rescheduling and cancellations.
By their own actions and inactions they sabotage the success of the practice, by getting on the financial side of the treatment equation without ever considering the health consequences of delay and inaction.
They feel “sorry” for the poor patient without even asking whether the patient can manage via other means.
We also have onboard terrorists who work in the Dental Practice.
They behave in the same manner as the scorpion in the tale of the frog and the scorpion.
They’re as nice as pie when they need to be but they’ll backstab and purposefully sabotage and destroy if it means they can stop someone else, or the practice itself, from succeeding.
And then, there are sometimes those who mean well, but simply just do not have the skills required.
And though it’s always nice to be supportive of these people, if they’re not up to the role they need to fulfill, then they’re simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and we need to let them go.
Whatever the reason that an employee is inappropriate, most dentists will hang on, and hang on, and hang on, and hang on to the grim death, rather than pull the trigger and let that person go.
No, they hope and they hope and they hope that this employee will miraculously change for the better.
And I’m here to tell you that 99% of the time, sadly, change for the better does not happen.
We need to be on top of this thought.
We need to have the ability to fire quickly.
For everybody’s sake.
Because we do not fire quickly, we then drag on and drag on and drag on, so that when we finally have a change of team member thrust upon us, we end up on the short end of the stick and we end up needing to find a replacement quickly.
And that’s wrong too.
Often we are then rushed to choose the first candidate, or one of the first applicants, who looks like they might be OK at doing what we need them to do.
And again, this often ends in disaster.
We hire without the right background checks and reference checks being conducted.
We believe what is written in the CVs, and funnily, we believe what we are told during the interview.
We ignore telltale warning signs that we later recognise, after the event, as being true red flag indicators that danger is imminent.
But we ignore those.
Because we need to have a body there answering the phone, assisting our dentists, or cleaning our patients’ teeth.
Who cares about the references?
We should have…
I think that dentistry, by itself, lends itself to employment failure because of all the reasons I’ve mentioned, as well as because that most often, the employer is always working with his eye away from the business [and on the patient] and therefore is nearly always unable to fully supervise the integration of the new team member into the practice operations.
And so we so often set ourselves up for imminent failure.
As practice owners, if we can hire slowly, with correct interviewing and employment trialing protocols, then we can drastically reduce the errors we make by hiring too quickly.
And if we then hire appropriately, we then find we have less reason to fire quickly.
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