Football season is upon us once again. I hope you’re taking advantage of some much needed downtime, relaxing with a friend and a beer or two as you watch the game. However, even as you chill out on the couch, take some time to reflect on what you can learn from football. After all, the Seattle Seahawks didn’t get to be last year’s Super Bowl champions by luck. They got there thanks to a combination of talent, hard work, strategy, and good coaching. As a dentist business coach, I encourage you to think of yourself as a coach for your practice team. Just as a football team needs practice, a game plan, and a nurturing environment, so does your business.
A football team starts every game with a huddle to discuss the first few plays and offer words of encouragement. Begin every morning with a daily huddle. However, instead of talking plays and touchdown strategies, you should address patient needs, scheduling, and other day-to-day business. Allow your team to have a say in the daily huddle. It is important to know what is going on with each of your employees. After all, if a football coach asked his quarterback to make a difficult play with a sprained ankle, the entire team would be in trouble. Open communication will ensure that your team functions together well.
Setting up Plays
A coach never goes into a game without a plan. He has specific plays in mind at the start of the game. The team has practiced these plays and knows them by heart. At the same time, a good coach will have additional strategies in mind if the first plan goes awry. You should have a similar approach to your practice. Never go into your day, week, or fiscal year without a plan of action for each aspect of your practice. Have specific goals for patient compliance, scheduling, marketing, budget, and other factors. Establish a detailed plan to achieve those goals, and share it with your team. At the same time, you have to be flexible. Just as a football coach will have to change his approach if his running back tears a ligament, you will have to adapt to meet patient and employee needs.
The mark of a good coach is not just his talent in developing a winning playbook. It’s also the ability to nurture and encourage his team. As a practice owner, that is your job as well. It is essential to establish a healthy, happy workplace. In addition to good communication, you should encourage growth and development. Give your team the chance to engage in ongoing education. Celebrate professional accomplishments and personal milestones. Be generous with your team as your practice budget allows. Establish policies that support your employees’ ability to raise a family and work at the same time.
With good communication, specific plans of action, and a nurturing work environment, you will have an all-star practice in no time. There may not be a championship game for dentists. However, when you create an atmosphere of growth, you will have a practice full of happy patients. That’s a win in my book.