Napoleon Hill once said, “Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.” Too many times dentists find themselves in that situation when it comes to staff management.
For example, a hygienist fails to keep up with her sterilization duties for over a week, which causes the assistants to pick up the slack. The assistants inform the dentist, but instead of addressing the oversight with the hygienist, the dentist avoids the issue, hoping it will get better. But it doesn’t, and in the ensuing weeks the working relationship between the assistants and hygienist greatly deteriorates. Patients even comment on the bickering they hear. The assistants talk to the dentist, and again he avoids addressing the problems, telling everyone to just work it out.
What started out as a coachable issue mutated into a stressful situation that will be much harder to resolve. When it comes to staff management, this is the typical damage caused by procrastination. Every team member will experience missteps, whether it’s not following up on insurance claims in a timely manner or failing to remove hard-to-reach stain on a molar. Yet each misstep, when addressed in an effective and timely manner, represents an opportunity for growth. Unfortunately, as Victor Kiam once said, “Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.”
Consider for a moment how many opportunities have been lost through procrastination. The good news is prior missteps can serve as motivation to commit to a new path. When dentists are proactive with their leadership of the team, coaching takes the place of avoidance. Challenges are addressed when they are still manageable. And those opportunities to coach the team make the practice even stronger.
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