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Episode #501: Setting Up your Team for Success with clearly Defined Roles, with Adriana Booth

the best practices show podcast Nov 21, 2022

Don't “waterboard” your team — onboard them. And the best place to start is before you even hire them. You need clearly defined roles and job descriptions, and Kirk Behrendt brings back Adriana Booth, an amazing coach at ACT, to reveal a few simple ways to ensure clarity and to break down the onboarding process. Your team wants to be successful in your office. So, help them! To learn how, listen to Episode 501 of The Best Practices Show!

Episode Resources:

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Brené Brown: https://brenebrown.com

Loom: https://www.loom.com

Main Takeaways:

Learn and implement the 3-3-3 rule.

If your standards aren't in writing, they don't exist.

Your job descriptions don't need to be 10 pages long.

Remember that specific is terrific, and vague is the plague.

Have your team members weigh in on their job descriptions.


“It is so important to clearly define our expectations, our roles, and our duties for our team members so that they can feel successful. At the end of the day, we all want to be the best we can be. And as a team member, knowing what our manager, our boss, our owner or doctors want from us so that we can hit those marks makes us feel like a success.” (2:43—3:13) -Adriana

“A lot of times, dentists get so upset because, ‘So-and-so is not doing their job.’ Well, the truth of it is, as team members, you're not given a clear line of sight on how to succeed in a dental practice.” (3:19—3:32) -Kirk

“When you do find the right people, you want to onboard them, not waterboard them.” (3:37—3:43) -Kirk

“Of all the teams I've worked with in the six-and-a-half years I've been lucky to work with Kirk, I would say going into coaching, maybe five percent of them even had a rough outline of clear job duties and descriptions. And I would say zero percent of them had an onboarding plan.” (4:31—4:49) -Adriana

“Depending on who you listen to, it takes the average team member — employee in any company in the United States — about 12 weeks to fully be stepping into the role. Now, think about it — 12 weeks. That is a long time. And so, I would say it’s probably longer in dental offices because they don't fully understand the role at all, if ever. So, one of the things is creating a countermeasure for that, helping people succeed right away. And we have what’s called our 3-3-3 onboarding.” (5:13—5:46) -Kirk

“Another statistic that I read recently is it takes the average business about six months to unwind the wrong team member for your practice. Think about how costly that is. So, number one is finding the right person. Number two, give them the rules. And helping them adopt the system right away is one of your biggest keys to success.” (5:48—6:08) -Kirk

“As a team member . . . I want to succeed if I'm coming to work in your office. I also don't want to come in and fix everything. I want to come in, know the rules, work the rules, and get really good at this whole process so that I can help and be the right type of team member.” (6:09—6:27) -Kirk

“I want to give our listeners a tiny bit of homework. Now that you've heard the stats, think of the last person that you hired and how long until you basically pushed them off the deep end and made them swim. It wasn't 12 weeks. It probably wasn't even 12 hours. And think about when did you follow up with them, ‘How is it going? What can we help you with? Is there anything we missed?’ It’s probably a small percent of you. So, these are just two small opportunities to start thinking, ‘How could I do a little bit better?’” (6:32—7:08) -Adriana

“When we think about the 3-3-3 rule, we want to break down our onboarding. What do they need to know in three days? What do they need to know in three weeks? And what do they need to know in three months? And I don't mean “need to know” like we’re just going to dole out little bits of information, but to be proficient at, to be aware of, to be able to do in that role.” (7:09—7:33) -Adriana

“At the end of the day, we are all people pleasers. Maybe not outwardly, but we all want to make someone else happy, whether it’s a patient, our coworker, our boss. So, think about that when we’re onboarding also, is, ‘How could I serve this person, and how can they serve someone else?’” (7:35—7:57) -Adriana

“Clear is kind. Brené Brown said that, and I think that's absolutely true. Don't try to be overly nice, but be super, super clear. We like saying specific is terrific, vague is the plague. It helps people succeed.” (8:04—8:17) -Kirk

“As a dentist, when you're hiring people, you have to evaluate them against the standards that were established at the beginning. And if they're not in writing, they don't exist. So, a lot of this is emotionally charged.” (8:19—8:32) -Kirk

“It’s funny because I've had some teams that’ll say, ‘Oh, we have our job descriptions.’ And I look in our shared Google Drive — and they're so awesome at putting all these things in there so that myself or their coach can see it — and it'll just look like an ad that they would throw up on Indeed. And I'm like, ‘Oh, I'm so sorry. Let's restart this.’ I want to see what's expected from that team member in their duties, their tasks, what they're responsible for, what we can hold them accountable to, not just, ‘You're a hygienist, so you scale and polish.’ They already know that. What else? What are the other things that we do here at Kirk Behrendt Dentistry? What are our standards? That's what we want to have outlined in a job duty and descriptions.” (10:14—11:03) -Adriana

“When you're designing this, you have to do two things. You have to create a Function Accountability Chart of what your future practice would look like. That's really important. Don't take what you have and mold it to what it might be a little bit better. That's not a good way to look at it because you're going to slow down your progress. When you can take a 30,000-foot view at your practice and say to yourself, ‘How do I get where we need to go, and what does that structure look like?’ now, you can start moving towards it . . . The second thing is to do exactly that in those roles that you see in a Function Accountability Chart. What would each person have to be responsible for in each one of those spots? And then, outlining them as specifically as you can. And then, collaborating on them as a team to make sure that your sentences make sense to another human being.” (11:55—12:52) -Kirk

“When you find the right people, be super clear about where we’re headed and what are you responsible for as we move forward.” (13:18—13:27) -Kirk

“Most dental practices operate on a few simple things that have to be done by each team member in each one of the critical zones in a dental practice. So, don't think that in a dental practice a job description is eight, nine pages long. It’s not. If it’s longer than a page, email it to me and I'll make it a page. There are a few things that make a big difference here, and if you can get people locked in on the few things, they can make a big difference in each one of those roles and collectively create a greater good.” (13:43—14:21) -Kirk

“Right person, right seat. How do you set that up for success? Functional Accountability Chart, job duties, and descriptions. Also, it goes back to leadership. How can we create leaders within the practice? The one way we can is to set them up for success. Give them the tools to excel, and to get better, and to be a leader inside your organization.” (14:35—15:00) -Adriana

“If you have a big practice, it’s often a good exercise to have everybody write down what they do. That's a good place to start — but don't stay there. Then, week over week, you can upgrade them, improve them, clarify them. And I promise you, if you stay focused on that process, over the period of eight, nine weeks, you'll have locked-in job descriptions that everyone can agree on. And that's the cool part. When you have them weigh in on this, your team members, they can buy in instead of just delivering it.” (15:29—16:03) -Kirk

“When I ask my teams to start this, you're right, I want to hear from their viewpoint what are their job duties and descriptions. It tells us a lot. Of course, I can come in as your coach, I can hand you some examples that have been created by awesome clients in our community. But I want to know your viewpoint because I also want to know, what are your primary, secondary, tertiary responsibilities. And that's a really easy way for us to see, what does that team member see as the most important parts of their role. And if we have a little bit of a miss there, it’s a great way to have a conversation as, ‘Let's reverse this a little bit.’ And this is where a lot of our systems are born. We see maybe someone thinks that recare is a primary. ‘Well, what's our recare protocol?’ ‘Hmm, we don't have that.’ ‘Awesome. Let's add it to our list.’ And we can create so many great things for the practice out of a job duties and descriptions list.” (16:20—17:19) -Adriana

“The easiest way to look at this is, ‘What have I done recently?’ And then, adding a couple layers of what we covered today and, ‘How could I do this a little bit better?’ We’re just asking you to take incremental changes, and it will make a really big impact on your practice and for your team members.” (21:40—21:57) -Adriana


0:00 Introduction.

2:04 Adriana’s background.

2:34 Why this is so important.

4:17 Statistics on the onboarding process.

6:28 The 3-3-3 rule.

7:59 Standards need to be established.

10:05 What does a job description look like?

11:51 Things you need to do to set your team up for success.

21:33 Last thoughts and how to get in touch with an ACT coach.

Adriana Booth, BS, RDH Bio:

Adriana Booth is a Lead Practice Coach who partners with dentists and their teams to cultivate leadership skills, build practice growth, and streamline business practices. After spending nearly two decades in the dental industry working with top-notch dental teams, Adriana came to ACT to share her passion for professional growth, high-level training, and systems creation with our clients.

As a dental hygienist with a love for continuing education and personal growth, helping a practice become successful is at the heart of her passion for dentistry.

Adriana has a B.S. in Dental Hygiene from West Liberty University/O’Hehir University. By being involved in several Columbus, Ohio, study clubs, Adriana maintains strong relationships within her local dental community. She enjoys a variety of fitness activities, family time, good books, and at the top of her list, her fur babies. 

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