Motivation Doesn’t Work in the Dental Office

Well, let me clarify. Motivation absolutely does work in the short term. Almost any cool trick that you can learn from the business world or a practice management consultant can work for a while. There are two basic metaphors for motivational strategies. You can use the stick, which is representative of a stick or rod that you might use to beat down your staff into submission. Examples of the stick would be varying degrees of punishment for various digressions from the modus operandi of the doctor. This could be docking pay, cutting wages, taking away benefits, public admonishment, or any other way you can beat you crew down into submission. Sure this will work in the short term. Who wouldn’t want to do better if their very job was threatened? The problem that you will run into with this strategy is that if the punishment is too severe, you will run the very high risk that the affected persons will begin to look for another job. I mean, this is not Russia. People have choices.

Besides the stick, the other tool you can use to motivate is called the carrot. You know, like all those old cartoons where they held a carrot on a pole in front of a donkey to ride it. Carrots in the dental office can be money, bonuses, privileges, and all manner of perks that you can dream up in your imagination. This is certainly the popular way of management these days. In some ways, this way of management has so pervaded dentistry that some people think that they can bonus or gift their way out of almost any management situation. The harsh truth is that money simply isn’t the motivator that it is made out to be. Let’s consider basic human nature mixed with some basic facts. Money is a worthless piece of paper with some ink on it. It is the way that we trade for goods and services in this economy, so it is viewed as valuable. Now, people may say or even think to themselves that they want money, but what they really want is the experience that goes along with the money. They want the freedom to purchase stuff that the money brings with it. So, for a while, money will motivate. However, here is where most doctors make the mistake. They think that the staff’s mind’s work the same way that the doctor’s mind works. No way, Jose.

The Doctor is bound to the practice. They usually view themselves and the practice as one and the same. The same cannot be said for the staff. Sure, they may have very strong bonds formed with the other members of the staff that might hold them there through some rough patches. But, don’t think for a minute that you can manage them with an iron fist forever. Eventually, you will have to find out what makes them tick.

Find out their secret motivators and you will finally learn just how good your dental practice can be.

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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