Don’t Expect Your Dental Staff to Do it All Themselves

I hear from doctors all across North America that our programs work, but it’s just so hard to get the staff on board. This is a foreign concept to me. When I want to start a dramatic program in our practice, I usually get all the primary staff on board with little or no perceived effort. Why, then, do my colleagues have trouble with this. I asked my clinical team leader why she thought that this was the case. I remember the conversation very vividly. I said, “Why are all these dentists having so much trouble getting their staff on board with new ideas when we just don’t? Are you guys just scared of me?” Then, she opened up my eyes to the world of dental staff brain works. She said, “No, we’re not scared of you. We just can tell that when you come up with a new project that you have done your homework and that you know in your mind that it will work. We trust you to know that you will change something if it looks like it isn’t going to work the way you want it to. Also, you never give us a choice in the matter. We know that you will always keep your word, so if you say something, we know you will actually follow through and do it.”

Oh. That’s a whole new can of worms.

Let me see if I can pull out a few pearls from my own mind and let you see if you can use them to help you motivate your staff.

1. You don’t scare your staff. Even if you threaten to fire them, they probably aren’t going to be scared to death. Sure, you may be able to bully some of the employees some of the time, but for the most part, they have other options. I think we all know that we can exert some form of mild intimidation in an implicit way and get away with it, but outright threats will likely be met with such covert resistance that all benefits will be lost.

2. Doctor, do your homework. I don’t mean that you should tear a sheet out of this month’s dental magazine and throw it down at the next staff meeting and say, “Do this.” No, you are going to have to figure out the ins and outs, present them in a knowledgeable fashion, and be prepared for resistance. Think of this as case presentation for the staff. You know they need it, but they don’t.

3. Stand by your word. Always keep your word. Never back down. One note of caution, though, be very stingy with giving your word. As all of us with kids know, discipline and keeping your word are easier said than done.

So there you have it, 3 things you can do to help get your staff on board on almost any project. Combine those strategies with an understanding of your staff’s secret motivators and you will enter the world of superstar staff.

Once you discover the secrets that your staff members are hiding, you can break down the barriers that have sapped productivity and caused squabbling in your practice for so long. One of the greatest findings of Dr. Griffin during his consultation with dental practices has been that once everyone is aware of the few little things that have been nagging at them, they can resolve longstanding issues and enjoy fun, profitable growth to superstar levels. You can get your free CD explaining the 5 most common Staff Secrets at

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