TODD HOLMES | CO-FOUNDER AND PRACTICE COACH
Why do some practices embrace change and growth easily while other practices have difficulty? This question lingers in the back of the mind of many doctors when they think about their goals. Often, it is a concern that the team may resist or be incapable of growth that causes some doctors to doubt that their vision can be achieved.
In over 25 years as a practice coach, I can tell you with certainty that I have never met an endodontic team that is simply incapable of growth and improvement. The vast majority of endodontic team members genuinely care about patients, and they genuinely want the practice and doctor to be successful. With the right leadership, they are ready.
However, many teams have deeply entrenched processes and dynamics that can hold them back. That is to be expected. There is a lot to do in a practice on a daily basis, and a small team has to work out who, what and how everything gets done. This gets repeated year after year until it is automatic and habitual.
Change and improvement means breaking away from set routines, and the most effective way to do that is to align the team to a new vision that is exciting and worthwhile. That is what team alignment means, and the energy and commitment of the doctor is so important.
There is a simple truth in leadership that what you care and focus on (as the leader) is what the team will care about and focus on. If you are focused on consistency, the team will work to standardize everything. If you are focused on low stress, the team will do everything they can to avoid stressful situations. If you are focused on micromanagement, the team will ask for your guidance on every little detail.
Teams align themselves to the energy field of their leader. Happy leaders tend to have happy teams. Process-driven leaders have process-focused teams. And, vitally, visionary leaders have teams committed to improvement and growth that is needed to achieve the vision. Without that guiding energy and commitment, it’s much more challenging for teams to step out of their comfort zone.
I always enjoy coaching practices where the doctor has a very strong and clear vision. The tone, energy and anticipation of success that the doctor brings into the practice every morning is inspiring to the team. When the doctor can articulate their goals to the team, they create a very positive environment where growth can thrive.
Of course, vision and inspiration are only the start. When you engage the team in this way, you have to do more than just communicate a vision. You have to provide the resources and guidance that teams need to actually change and grow successfully.
That’s where a practice coach really fills a need in the growth of a practice. We help doctors define their vision in a way that the team can get behind it. We help teams shift, step-by-step, from old habits to a new approach designed to achieve that vision. It’s a very exciting, fun and positive process for the entire practice!