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382: What and How to Delegate- Nitty Gritty

Ah, the forever art of delegation. If you think you’ve mastered this, think again! In this episode, Kiera talks why we so often avoid delegating, how to know what to delegate, and how to delegate in the first place. 

This practice will build trust within your office, and build people up! Action items coming out of this episode:

  1. Make a list of all the tasks you have

  2. Delegate three tasks that can truly be passed on to another person

  3. Have your entire team do steps one and two!

Give people the opportunity to thrive and watch them work their magic.

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Podcast Transcript:

Kiera Dent:

Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast. I'm your host, Kiera Dent, and I had this crazy idea that maybe I could combine a doctor and a team member's perspective, because let's face it, dentistry can be a challenging profession with those two perspectives. I've been a dental assistant, treatment coordinator, scheduler, pillar, office manager, regional manager, practice owner. And I have a team of traveling consultants where we have traveled to over 165 different offices, coaching teams. Yep. We don't just understand you, we are you. Our mission is to positively impact the world of dental, and I believe that this podcast is the greatest way I can help elevate teams, grow VIP experiences, reduce stress, and create A Teams. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast.

            This is Keira, and you guys, I have been on the road, coming off of our Dental A Team summit. Hi. If you missed the summit, I'm sorry for you. It was so much fun. We had, gosh, we had almost 400 people there. We had an average of about 150 people watching live. Our dream came true of being able to watch people with their teams, learning together, growing together, building dream boards together, building the vision of their practice together. I went to a practice right after summit, saw their goal board sitting right there in their morning huddle that they had all signed together. Just the massive traction that we were able to get was so much fun. So if you guys missed it, be sure to get ready for summit year two, next year. We're debating if we're going to do it virtual, or in-person, we actually got quite a few mixed reviews. We had over 85 reviews that came back, which I feel for an event is insanely great. And on them, they literally were split, a virtual or in-person, of what people wanted, or both.

            So, pretty excited for next year. And something I wanted to dive today is something that we actually chatted about at summit. And it is the art of delegation. And it's been hot on my mind, probably because Tiffany and I had so much fun doing it, and because I think that delegation is just something that we often don't do. So when Tiff and I went through this at summit, we talked about, "What are our filters?" We actually sent some swag boxes to all the offices, which were so cute. You guys, everything we do in Dental A Team is fun. I loved our boxes. They had chocolate, they had party blowers, and sunglasses, and just a ton of fun that we were having with all of our teams virtually, and somebody even said their favorite part about summit were our swag boxes. So I feel shout out to that. We had some cute little sayings on them and everything. But in those we put sunglasses on because we wanted to remind people that we all have filters.

            So we asked people like, "What's the first thing that comes to mind when we say puppies?" Puppies was a real popular word. Also when we talked about America, "What's the first thing that comes to mind with America?" What about the first thing that comes to mind with case acceptance? What about insurance?" Okay. I hope you guys played along, and if not go back and really write down your filter. Because at the end of the day, our filters impact our treatment planning, they impact our exams, they impact our case acceptance, they impact our delegation. Filters actually are just made up.

            I remember I had a coach and she said, "Kiera, what is a workweek? It's just made up." And it stopped me. And I thought, "She's exactly right. It really is made up." Same thing with our filters, they're just made up. If you think America is scum, that's something I heard yesterday, or freedom, or red white and blue, at the end of the day we're all right. It just depends on what you choose to put as your filter, because you're going to believe your filter.

            They say human beings have an innate desire to make ourselves right. I heard that at a Tony Robbins conference, jotted it down, because we're always looking for ways to make ourselves, right. If you say, "Oh, patients, they only want to accept what treatment is covered by insurance." You will find a way to make yourself right. If you say, "Patients always want to accept treatment because they love having healthy mouths." You will find a way to make yourself right. Just like when you go to buy a brand new car, and you see it all over the freeway, you have a way to make yourself right. Like, "Oh, this is the most popular car." All of a sudden you see it everywhere.

            It's that... I can't think of the word right now, you guys, it's a little early over here, but it's basically, it's the self-fulfilling prophecy. There we go. Where we're trying to make ourselves right. Like, "Oh, today's going to be a bad day." Well, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy when at the end of the day, it was a bad day. Or a great day. So we want to make ourselves right. I think it goes back to our survival instincts, that we've got to find a way to make ourselves right.

            "We're going to find food." We find food. All these different things. For me, I say there's always a solution, and you guys better believe I'm in clutch. Yesterday. We were looking at... I was struggling because my flight time was at a certain time, I'm like, "This isn't going to work." Lo and behold, all of a sudden magical flight showed up that's at the exact time, nonstop, direct home, easy. And the girl I work with, she's like, "Keira, how did you find that?" And I'm like, "I don't know." I just believe there's always a solution, and I will find it. I have a way to make myself right. Also, I've been reading the happiness project, and in that book they cited a study that said people aren't actually lucky. They just believe they're lucky, and they find a way to prove themselves right.

            So how does this apply to delegation? Well, it applies because half the time with delegation, it's our filters that are actually preventing us from delegating. Hear me out on this one before you say like, "Hmm, I don't agree." Which is great. That's your filter. It's fine. All you have to do is, if your filter is empowering, or the story you choose to believe, "I'm a lucky person." That empowers me. So keep writing that story. If I say, "Today is always a bad day, or I always have bad luck." Does that empower you? If not, change that story, change that filter, and get a different result. I don't believe they're failures. I believe they're just results. What are the results, and what do you actually want from it?

            So on that same thread, let's go down this a little bit further with delegation. The filter you believe is, "I can't delegate because I can do it better than other people. I don't delegate because everybody else is so busy. I don't delegate because no one can do it as well as I can. I don't delegate because I don't have time." Please say that that's you, because that one just makes me giggle. That's exactly why you should be delegating. Other reasons people don't delegate, a loss of control. "I don't delegate because I'm afraid if I delegate, what will my job or position be? I don't delegate because I don't have time to train them on it. I don't delegate because..." Whatever it is, please, please, please ask yourself this question, why don't you delegate?

            For me, I don't delegate because of a few things. One, I'm afraid people won't like me if I delegate. I feel like I'll be like the mom who's asking them to do things. And I feel really guilty about it. I also am deeply afraid of rejection. I don't want to ask them and not have them do it. I also think that I'm going to have to micromanage them, follow up with it. So I just take it on. Well, just the other day I felt myself do this, and there is raging frustration within me. I had delegated something to someone else, they didn't follow through on it, I asked, followed up on it, and lo and behold, guess what? They said, "Oh no, I haven't gotten to it." And I was like, "Oh, no problem. I'll do it."

            You guys, I stewed about this for a good solid 30 minutes while I was driving. I was so frustrated because I'm like, "I delegated that. I gave you proper duties. I checked in to make sure it was done." But this is where I slipped, and it was, I was scared if I held them accountable to it, that they would not like me. So instead I just looped it back in.

            All right. So that's me. I just went really, really open with you guys as to why I don't necessarily delegate. All I have to do is look that filter in the face and be like, "Kiera, is that really true? If you delegate, that means people won't like you? Is that a story, or is that a fact?" It's a downright story guys, and that does not empower me. I asked Tiffany, "Hey Tiff, does it bother you if I delegate?" And she's like, "No." We also spun it of, oftentimes by me not delegating, I'm telling my team subliminally that they're not good enough for me to delegate it to. Also, I'm not even giving them an opportunity to get these projects.

            Also watch what we're planting seeds on. I heard it in an office the other day, they walked in like, "Hey, sorry to bother you, I know you're so busy." You just planted a seed of, "You're so busy." When they may never have even thought that they were so busy. So we might be planting subliminal messages without even realizing it, by how we ask. So with delegation, at the event, we talked about making sure that you're crystal clear on what you want to delegate. Being direct and concise, "Hey, Tiffany, I need us to create this scorecard, and I would like it done by Friday." I'm very clear, I'm very direct.

            I can also give her a few things, "We want to do this because we need to roll it out by this date." That way she has a little more context, versus me just coming and dropping it. And then from there, Tiffany then can say like, "Absolutely, I can get that back to you. I would need to get back to you by Monday. Friday, I've got a few things going on. Does that work for you?" Then I get to decide, does that work for me? Yes or no. Or, "Hey, no, I actually need it on Friday, let's look at your list together, what you already have on, and let's see what we could reprioritize so we could make time to get that scorecard done."

            Hello Dental A Team listeners. All right, one of my absolute favorite quotes is you are always one decision away from a totally different life. So what life do you want to have? Do you want more accountability? Do you want a team that's trained? Do you want to have somebody who thinks outside the box and create just for you? Do you want to have a coach? Do you want to have team training? Do you just need somebody to kick you in the rear and get you going? Okay, don't worry, I'm in every single one of those boxes and that's why we created Dental A Team Silver, Gold, and Platinum. It's going to be customized team training for you, on the terms you want. So Silver, Silver is more for accountability. Gold, Gold includes all of our online training plus the accountability. And Platinum includes all of that and in-office. You guys, I would strongly suggest you go join Dental A Team Gold today because you're always one decision away from a totally different life. So what are you waiting for? Hop on over to thedentalateam.com today. You guys, we only have so many spaces, so get over there today and sign up for Dental A Team Silver, Gold or Platinum.

            So that's how you ask for it, is in a direct, concise, clear manner. The other person should say, "Absolutely." So this is feedback for all teams and, and everyone really, if somebody comes and asks you for something, first of all, recognize it might be awkward for them to ask you, so try to say yes as often as possible. Have the filter of, I say yes as often as possible, and I make sure I have clear boundaries around it. I'm not going to over promise and under-deliver. So if I know I have a whole stack of items on Friday, well how about I guarantee I'll get it back to you by Monday. And when I give you guys my word, I truly try to own that. That's my integrity within me. So that way I have confidence within myself that I really will follow through with you on delegating.

            I know there's some people listening like, "Oh, the angels are singing." Like if people really would follow through on what they say they would do, that would be amazing. So I hone in on that all the time within my company. If you say you're going to do it, follow through. Period. Don't give us lip service, follow through. And if not, scale it back to where you actually can.

            So now I want to teach you guys how to know what to delegate. Okay. So do a quick brain dump. This could be time journaling. It could just be a dump of all the projects and tasks that you need to do, and would like to do. Then you're going to go back and actually look through it, and see what tasks are only tasks that you can do. And you've got to be really honest. Sometimes I have a little bit of an ego, not intentionally where I just want to feel important. Reality, I want to feel important. And so I might not delegate, or I might think, "I'm the only person that can do this." When in actuality, guess what, there are other people that could do it just as well, if not better, than I could, and I need to give them, and want to give them, the opportunity to do so.

            So that's how we figure out what we need to delegate. Then we go and we ask in a direct, concise, clear manner. The other person then lets you know, "Yes, I can do it. No I can't. By what day?" And then I make sure that the person I delegated to, they're the ones following up with me. So, "Perfect, okay. On Monday, can you please have that on my desk on Monday?" "Yep. No problem. I got that." Done. Delegated. They're going to follow up with me.

            Now, how do you remember everything you delegated? There's a lot of different pieces you can do. Some people love Trello, some people love Asana, some people love Basecamp. I personally am a Gmail girl. You guys, I feel like I'm old school, I feel like email is almost the equivalent of just writing it down in a notebook. It's fine. It works for me. I use Boomerang, which is an add on for Gmail. And what I do is I send myself an email that's going to Boomerang back to me the day that this should be given back to me. So for example, if I asked Tiffany to create this scorecard for me, she said she'll get it back to me on Monday, I go send myself an email that will come to me on Monday that says, "Check to make sure Tiffany gave the scorecard."

            I don't send it to Tiffany on purpose. I don't want her thinking I'm always going to create reminders for her. She said she would do it. She needs to come up with a way to remember it. I just want to make sure I have a way to remind her, or check in with her, in case it's not on my desk on Monday. This then creates the follow-through loop that you then can tell people when you delegate, you really do want to hold them to those standards. Otherwise, if you don't hold them to the standards, you're going to be delegating all day long with nothing ever coming back to you. So that's my personal model of how I follow up with all the projects I'm sending out. Also, we have a weekly meeting, our level 10 traction meeting, and we have a lot of things on there of action items that they said they would get done, and we follow up to make sure that they did get done.

            If they didn't get completed, we ask, "Why? Did you take on too many tasks? Did you forget? What are you going to do this week so they're not forgotten?" I'm really crystal clear on this you guys, because otherwise we can't delegate. And that's why I call it the art of delegation, because I think it's an art. I think you've got to work on your words, and the way you phrase it, and your follow-up, and making sure that it actually comes back to you. I will challenge you when you say, "Oh, I have so many things. It's hard. It's easier for me just to do it." That's you maybe having a little bit of ego and not wanting to release control. Give people an opportunity to thrive, and then let them surprise you with how well they do. I'm going to say that again. Give people the opportunity to thrive, and then let them surprise you with how well they do.

            All right. As your action item today, I've given you a lot of tools, I want you to, one, make a list, figure out what you can delegate. Two, I want you to delegate three tasks. If you want to notch this up to the third item, get your whole team to do this together. Everybody writes down what they have, what they would like to delegate, and then kind of have a hodgepodge mix-around, because there might be a lot of people that actually have available time, that could take on tasks, that love to do it, they just were never given the opportunity. So we might be able to delegate a bunch of tasks, or find out someone else is already working on it, when you do this together as a team.

            So, at a minimum, each of you... I'm going to say delegate one item today, because when we learn a principle and execute on it immediately, we have a better chance of remembering to do so in the future. You guys, delegation, I think, is a forever art. I don't think it is a one and done. I think you'll forever be working on it. But there's our tips on how to delegate for you guys, and I'm so excited for you. If you guys found this podcast helpful, please leave us a review. I've been seeing them, you guys, thank you so much for them. I'm going to actually just read you guys one. I loved this one and, let's see, I'm going to pull it up for you guys. I wasn't planning to do this. It's fine. I'll do it right now.

            So on there it is, it said, if you... Hang on, I'm going to pull this up for you guys. Okay. It's titled, Perfect for a Morning Commute, "I look forward to listening to new episodes on my morning commute. Topics are always timely, applicable and inspiring." Thank you. Thank you. Another one I loved was, Valuable. "If you're in the dental field and you are not listening to this podcast, you should be. So much value for the lives we lead in the dental industry." So you guys, thank you so much for those. I truly appreciate that. And you guys pop it in, share it with a friend. That's how we're able to positively impact the world of dental. All right, you guys, thanks so much for listening. Catch you next time on the Dental A Team podcast.

            And that wraps it up for another episode of the Dental A Team podcast. Thank you so much for listening, and we'll talk to you next time.

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