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Seat me for Success

Running a business is hard and creating a successful practice takes more than just a visionary with a dream. But you can choose to make it fun by surrounding yourself with a great group of people, and one secret for a thriving practice is getting the right people in the right seats. It is one of the most difficult things you will ever do, yet I promise it will also be one of the most rewarding. 

As coaches here at ACT, year after year, month after month, from doctors all around the country, we hear. “I don’t have the best team.” When looking at the team you have built, consider the following:

  • First of all, remember, no one has the “perfect” team.
  • Second, it’s your number one job to build an amazing team.
  • Third, Kirk has said many times “Nothing kills a great team member more than when you consistently tolerate a bad one.”

So, how do you build that amazing team with all the right people and get them in the right seats? What can you do to determine if someone is the “right” person and how do you find the right seat for them?

Right Person

This one is simple. The right people for your practice share your core values. Period. I love what Kirk said in his most recent Master Class on this subject, “The right people aren’t brilliant, walking around, waiting to bless you with their talents. They just share the right core values.” We believe your core values are vital to the success of any business. (Just how important are core values to your practice? In this podcast, Kirk, Jenni, and I discuss this very subject!)

How do you know if you are hiring the right people for your organization if you haven’t determined your core values first?  The answer is, you won’t. If you haven’t taken the time to decide what your core values are, do it today! On the opposite side of the “right person” spectrum, the wrong people for your practice do not share your core values. If you know what they are, you know if they are being violated. It’s that simple.

Right Seat

We love Gino Wickman’s definition of “right seat” in his book Traction. The right seat ultimately means that the team member is operating in their unique ability. What are they truly good at doing? It means they GWC. GWC = they get it, want it, and have the capacity for the role. 

  • “Get it.” Don’t overthink this part. It’s very clear who gets it and who doesn’t. Not everyone gets it, and that’s ok. Figure out who does and then place them in that seat.
  • “Want it.” They like the job, they understand the role, and they genuinely want to do it.
  • “Capacity to do it.” Capacity speaks to the intellect, skill, knowledge, time, and emotional intelligence an individual has to commit to the role.

You may very well have a “right” person in the “wrong” seat. If so, what is their actual unique ability? Where would they be seated for success in your practice? Another amazing piece of advice from Kirk is, “Keeping people around just because you like them is extremely destructive. I’ve done it. You want to make sure everybody’s got a purpose.”

It is your essential role as leader of the practice to check in with the individuals on your team regularly. Hire, fire, review, and recognize people around core values and unique abilities. Lean on your core values to help you make decisions, whether easy or tough. People can change, but usually only a little. Understand when someone is not working out, and be prepared to address the problem honestly and directly.

Talk about your core values during the interview process when hiring new team members. Ask interviewees if they like regular feedback with the opportunity to improve. You’re not a great leader until you develop other great leaders.

Dr. Barrett Straub shared his thoughts on this with us as well, “We’ve got to be extremely clear about what a core value is, what it means. And you as the doctor and the business owner have to make sure it fits your heart. The whole idea of core values is not for you to fit your team’s core values because team members are going to come and go. It’s got to be, ‘Here are my core values,’ and I’m going to attract the team and the patients that believe what I believe because this is my business. That sounds a little harsh, but it’s 100% true.”

People and culture are two of the eight pillars in our ACT Way coaching process. When you aren’t sure how to proceed with putting the right people in the right seats for ultimate success in your practice, call us. We will direct you to the tools and resources to ultimately seat your team for success!

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.


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