“Do you see what I’m saying” is a curious but common phrase normally used to ask if someone understands or agrees with you, especially if you have not expressed yourself very clearly. We hear it all too often, “My team just isn’t on the same page as I am.” Or, “I’ve told my team a hundred times, they just don’t get it.”
Kirk recently shared a humorous experience while speaking at the Wisconsin Dental Association dental meeting. His awesome wife, Sarah, gave him a grocery list and sent him to the store. While he was there he kept searching for one specific item on the list; “cheddar sour cream.” He asked the employees, scoured the refrigerated aisles, but to no avail, he came up empty-handed. After arriving home, Kirk confessed he couldn’t find any cheddar sour cream. Pointing to the list he explained to Sarah that the confused look on the employees’ faces made him feel crazy when he asked about cheddar sour cream. She then clarified by asking, “Kirk, what are my favorite chips?” Cheddar and sour cream chips was the correct answer.
Similar to Kirk’s experience with his wife’s list, we have an opportunity to set ourselves and our teams up for success when we are clear about expectations, numbers, goals, and vision.
If employees don’t understand, they are less likely to follow the company’s direction. When employees are unclear about what the company wants to achieve, they are less likely to feel motivated to work toward company goals. For this reason, it is important to communicate goals and expectations clearly.
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself to ensure you have clarified and communicated your vision in an easily understood way.
Who are we?
This question should be simply stated in 2 Cores: Core Purpose and Core Values. Core Purpose: why do we show up to work every day? Core Values: who we are and our guide to how we behave.
Where are we going?
Identify your one and three year targets. Here are our goals; this is where we are going. These items must be specific and measurable to create passion and excitement.
How are we going to get there?
What quarterly and individual priorities will move the team towards your goals in a structured and manageable fashion?
Who is going to do it and who is going to do what by when?
If everyone owns a particular item, no one does! Every priority needs a champion, and these quarterly priority champions will assign tasks to team members and themselves, and attach deadlines to each. Creating a clear plan with deadlines is a must.
Are we winning or losing?
You can monitor your progress by utilizing a strategic and unique practice scorecard with specific KPIs and tracking systems. Without a tracking system in place, you may not know the score until it’s too late.
The answers and actions taken around these 5 critical questions create the framework that will run and organize the pulse of every meeting, it will organize how you hold your team accountable and help you and your team to see goals, issues, and action items clearly.
In one of Kirk’s recent Master Classes, The Secrets of the Top 10% of Dental Practices in the US: The Data and Disciplines on the Best Practices, he stated: “One of your single greatest advantages as a practice or as a company is to create organizational health. The companies that are healthy and smart become very powerful in the marketplace. We see this with practices all the time. And yet, so many dental practice owners ignore this.”
Kirk goes on to add:
“Don’t try to be nice. The problem that I have — this is my number-one problem. I’m trying to get better at this — is that nice and clear are not the same thing. I try to be nice, but then I would fail as far as clarity goes. And I would trade one for the other. So, clarity is often the best prescription for any challenge. Be super clear. Don’t focus on trying to be nice. The nicest boss is the one who’s the clearest. When you’re working in a professional environment, nice is great, but clear is even better.” Organizational health and your ultimate success as a practice owner start at the top, with every team member truly “seeing what you are saying.” The documentation of the 5 questions above will ensure total clarity, and with documented clarity, your vision as a leader truly is seen!
About the Author: Heather Crockett is a Lead Practice Coach at ACT Dental. She is also a dental hygienist, motivational speaker, and writer. With over twenty years of serving in different roles in dentistry, she combines her experience to provide our community with best practices for a better life.