Friday FINISH – April 17, 2020
Last week I wrote about Gratitude. Today we’ll cover part 2 of that topic as I share some things that have helped me become a better dentist, practice owner, father and husband through the ups and downs life sometimes throws our way.
One of Bill Gates’ favorite books, Enlightenment Now, provides a long list of reasons on why we generally have life pretty good in our world today. For example, IQ scores have been rising globally by 3 points per decade, thanks to generally better nutrition and a cleaner environment which has aided in greater brain development. Another example is that in the 1920’s, the average person spent almost 12 hours a week doing laundry, while today it’s less than an hour and a half per week.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself while you remain quarantined this week. One of the positive effects I’ve noticed with the COVID-19 changes, is that all of us are becoming a little more tolerant,
slowing down in our fast paced world, and becoming more thoughtful of others. As you reflect on your experience, think about what really gives you purpose in life.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Who around you do you love?
Do you love your job?
How do you REALLY feel about your practice, your patients, and your team?
What hobbies do you enjoy?
What recreation do you participate in?
What do you absolutely LOVE to do?
These are all important areas of your life to recognize, not just for what they are and who they involve, but reflection, gratitude and mediation are proven to boost your mental and physical health. If your answer is negative or not what you want it to be in any of these areas, there is no better time than now to make a change.
I could work more than I do if I had to, (not that it would be healthy to do so), especially in my practice because I love being in the “lab” of testing new ideas to grow my team, make our patient experience better, and finding new ways to hit our goals with relationship marketing. This is what gets me motivated to roll out of my comfortable bed early each morning.
The next question to ask yourself is, how do you show your appreciation?
One thing that makes a big difference in your practice is sending “TLC“ cards to your patients, team and suppliers. TLC stands for “tender loving card“ and it’s a simple thank you note that is hand written and mailed out or hand delivered. Send at least a couple of these out every week. In fact, I suggest you make it a requirement that your team members mail out at least three of these every month as part of their job requirement to be eligible for their bonus or incentive check. If anyone on your team has a bad or resistant attitude about saying thanks to your patients (who are their real boss by the way – the real source of their paycheck), you likely need to make a change and I just saved you thousands of dollars in lost production from negative attitudes.
If you don’t do something like this already, you will begin to notice the gratitude you and your team members have for your best patients and for each other when you have a mindset of formally saying thank you. With the massive wind of electronic communication swirling around us these days, handwritten notes are becoming more scarce, so they really help you stand out and express your true gratitude to your patients.
It’s important that you set the example as well. In my annual leadership planner I have a section each week where I will write down the names of people that I will send a TLC to. This also includes sending gifts or writing notes to my team members to show appreciation as well. We call these WOW! Cards.
You simply make a preprinted card that says “WOW!“ on it and then you write something appreciative about one of your team members and place it in their locker or inbox at work. I pickup silver or gold dollar coins at the bank and tape them to the card. Your team members will sincerely appreciate it, and it helps remind you about all the work that goes into taking care of your patients. If you aren’t doing this already, you should try it out and see what difference it makes to both you and your team members. Not only is it a huge morale booster for your team, but you will notice your culture and productivity in your office get a boost, because your team members will feel the core values of your office in action, and realize that what they do at work goes far beyond a paycheck.
Hang in there, hopefully this quarantine experience is over soon and we can begin stepping back toward our normal lives.
Until next time!
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