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435: Infuse Your Practice with Great Culture

Is your team still trying to overcome the Covid Crank? Or just continual bad moods in the workplace? Kiera is here to give tips on improving the culture in your office. She suggests defining the type of culture you want to have, modeling your business after other ones that you look up to, and adding the following to your morning huddles:

  1. Motivation Monday

  2. Tip Tuesday

  3. Core Value Shoutout (Wednesday)

  4. Thankful Thursday

  5. Fun Friday

If you want a positive vibe in the workplace, you need to infuse it.

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Podcast Transcript:


0:00:05.6 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, filler, 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.


0:00:49.9 KD: Hello, Dental A Team listeners, this is Kiera and you guys... Alrighty, let's chat about something that has been coming up a lot. That's right, team culture. How many of you are feeling the COVID crank? How many of you have teams that are feeling a little burnout? How many of you are like crushing it? Wherever you are, guess what? This podcast is for you. Because I was feeling it, I still sometimes feel it and a lot of our offices are feeling it, and sometimes I think that that's the beauty of working with a consultant or a coach, is you get to find out you're not alone. You get to find out other offices that are just like you. You get to talk to other dentists or team members that are just like you. We like to connect our offices together, so if you're interested in knowing if you're not alone and other people are like you, email us, [email protected] See if you are a great platinum or gold or silver client of the Dental A Team. We'd love to welcome you. So if you've been thinking about it for a while, be sure to pop in. We'd love to hear from you, we'd love to welcome you.

0:01:43.8 KD: So culture, a lot of our practices really are struggling with this culture. And I believe that you've got to infuse your practice with great culture. As I've been in business longer and longer, that means I'm getting older guys. Yikes, I feel like I had a midlife crisis this year. Truth, I turned 35 and I thought, holy cow, I'm halfway to 70. It really did strike me, and I've been in business for almost five years. It's been just over four and a half years, and the more I do business, the more I realize that culture is not a one-day game, it's being infused into your practice constantly. So this podcast, I really wanted to just hone in on how do you actually infuse your practice with culture, and again, I think it's every single day, and it really comes from the leader. Leaders, this is not something you can delegate. I wish you could, I wish I could. When I take my foot off the gas on culture, my company falls apart, so culture is my number one driving force. It's the number one thing I look for when we hire people. Guys, I have turned down a lot of people.

0:02:48.0 KD: I even got a bad review on our company because I turned somebody down who was not a good fit. That's okay. We didn't really interview them too much. It was the weirdest review I've ever had in my life, but that's okay. I didn't even talk to them. But the reality is, I'm not willing to settle on culture ever, because I did for the first three years of owning my company and I struggled. I didn't have people that were dedicated to my company. I didn't have people that would show up to work. Yep, that was exciting. I didn't have people that really wanted to be a part of our company. Instead I just had people that were being part of our company. It doesn't mean every single person over the last three years is not that way. I had some people that were amazingly dedicated, but that wasn't my driving force. My driving force was productivity and just getting people in and trying to reduce my stress, and I realized that it actually was creating a lot more stress. So when we talk about culture, first and foremost, I had to decide what type of culture I wanted to have.

0:03:41.3 KD: At first, we were the FIRE VIP. So that was fun, integrity, results, ease, all with VIP customer service. Those were our core values of our company. Then I changed them and I do not like what I changed them to, but at least it was a step in the right direction because I literally had somebody tell me to my face, "Kiera, if you hold me accountable, you don't make this company fun." And I was like, "Wow, I need to make sure I define fun a little bit differently because accountability should be looped in there where people actually love to be held accountable. They love to know how they're doing, they love to get feedback, and they love to give feedback because that's the culture I actually wanna have." Listened to a lot of podcasts. I've read a lot of books. It's something that I'm constantly infusing into myself, as well. I don't think I know all the answers, nor do I think I ever will know all the answers. There's a lot of really smart people out there. I just did the book club group with you guys. I'm constantly sharing books of good leadership books that are helping me, and I'd love you guys to share back.

0:04:36.4 KD: [email protected] Have you read an inspirational book that helped you with culture or leadership? Because I think it's a journey, it's a forever journey. And that's something that I actually have learned to love versus dread as a business owner of, do I love to infuse my company with culture? And it doesn't mean I've gotta do pom-pom and pep rallies all the time. It means, do I actually know what I want my culture to look like? So that's the first step. Second step is I actually built four companies that we model our company after, so that way we can actually visually see what our culture should be like. Our four companies are Disneyland, Amazon, Apple, and Google. Those are our four companies that we model after, and there's different reasons that we model after the different companies. We don't love everything about them, and we don't dislike everything about them, but there's certain things for each of those companies. And we talk about this every single week.

0:05:28.0 KD: I hate listening to podcasts, when people say these things and they don't actually do it. You guys can join us every single Monday. If it doesn't have a Monday, like this week, all the consultants were traveling Monday, so we bumped it to Thursday when we're all going to be together, but even if I'm not here, that meeting runs every Monday. You guys can check us every single Monday, our team lists off our core values, every single Monday they review what our core focus is, they review the companies we model after. That is infusing with it. I don't believe that it's enough to talk about it once a quarter. I think you've gotta do it daily, and at a minimum, weekly, talking about what you guys are focused on, where you're headed and what the culture is. But then we took it a step further. So this is gonna be the fun part where you guys can actually start infusing it. And that is through our morning huddles and we started to infuse it with culture. So what we have, and this is totally coming from one of my awesome offices who started it, and then we took it and made it our own. So you guys do it, as well. So Monday is Motivation Monday. Everybody comes with a quote or something that they can share for motivation on Monday. Tuesday is Tip Tuesday, so people bring a tip, something that's working really, really well, that they can share with our whole team.

0:06:34.5 KD: Wednesday is my favorite day. Well, Wednesday and Thursday are my favorite days. Wednesday is core value shout out. So what we actually do is every single team member has to participate on Wednesdays. Wednesday is the day where every person chooses a team member for core value shout out.


0:06:51.0 KD: Hey guys, so I don't know if you've heard the excitement, but you guys, I have become literally obsessed, like I'm telling you. I connect 10 clients a month with this company because what they're doing is literally changing their practices. The company is Modento. Modento does forms for patients. They do ringless voicemails to help with your re-care and unscheduled treatment plans. They have patient connection and interaction. Their forms go directly into your patient account, plus they also are able to send statements and they have treatment planning. You guys, they're like an all-in-one full-encompassing company, You guys need to connect with them today. They will change your practice. They will change your life. You guys, every practice that we connect them with loves, loves, loves them. So you guys, connect on over today, Let them know the Dental A Team sent you and I can't wait to hear your incredible experience with them.


0:07:46.0 KD: So they have to identify somebody of what core value that person's exemplifying. And they do it every single week. So I often do it on Monday in our leadership meeting, our company meeting, and then on Wednesday again for core value shout out. Yep, it's a lot. Sometimes people think I'm silly for doing it. Guess what? I'm watching my team literally embody our core values. Then Thursday is Thankful Thursday. Everyone participates on this and they say somebody that they're thankful for and why. And then Friday is Fun Friday. What is the most fun thing that you have done, or fun thing that you're looking forward to is what we share on Friday. That's culture, guys, and it's something simple, quick and effective that can be thrown into the morning huddle to really infuse it. You guys can do gratitude. I've seen offices do gratitude jars. I have a virtual company, I don't see everyone all the time, but that's something very simple. Big offices, small offices, startup practices, advanced practices, every one of you could add those five things to your morning huddles every single week. It doesn't take long. It literally is like two minutes, guys, for the whole team to go around and do those things. Break it up into small groups, have certain people selected to do it, but this is a great way to infuse it with culture. Then I also think it's important, I also do what I call Friday Five on Fridays.

0:09:00.7 KD: That has been one of the biggest game changers of our company. It has helped streamline communication, so everybody knows what's going on in the company. It also allows me a chance to recognize team members, and it also allows me to send a note of how I feel about the company. I've also considered doing a monthly core value, so maybe I would focus on, say fun, then innovate or die. And starting to have that as a monthly theme where actually every one of my Friday Fives, it's a quick email with five highlights, updates or shout-outs are what they are. Send it to the team. I write it on Thursday. I boomerang it to email it to my entire team Friday morning. It's true. Otherwise, I feel like I'd forget and have a reminder to email me every Thursday, so I don't forget to do it. But I celebrate the team. I talk about the wins. I talk about the struggles. I talk about the different things because I believe that that's culture. I don't think I should sugarcoat things. I also think that I should bring a great spirit and a great vibe to our company. I've also found that communication is one of the biggest killers of culture, so I want to over-communicate to my team. I wanna make sure it keeps them in the loop.

0:10:04.9 KD: I never knew if these things were actually making a difference or an impact. And just recently I've heard from some people, they say, I actually really look forward to the Friday Five. I wanna know what's going on, 'cause it's a quick capsule of what happened. Just think about it. I've been doing this for almost a year. Guys, we are into September. Shout out to my coach for telling me about this idea. She told me, "Kiera, you've really gotta start honing in on your culture. You've gotta start building it." Then we started talking about accountability in our company. My team came up with a way to hold each other accountable and how they wanted to be held accountable. I didn't do it, they did it. But I think culture, accountability, the vibe, people being bought in, those are the things that really matter. Some of it is me, leader to team. But a lot of it is also team-to-team, peer-to-peer, appreciation and recognition. That builds the culture. It has to be infused daily. It cannot be something that is just a one and done. It is something that you are growing and developing and fostering and working on and having your team come up with ideas.

0:11:03.8 KD: I also do a quarterly survey, and I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty terrified to have it go out. Gives me anxiety every single time. I don't know why. It's probably 'cause I love to be liked. I like people to like me. I don't like people to dislike me. I don't like to create rifts. I like to challenge ideas and come up with a great solution, but I don't like to hear problems. But that's actually not true, 'cause if I don't know the problems, I can't fix them. And I wanna have a continual company and culture where my team knows that they can come up with innovative ideas. They can take the initiative. They can get feedback because they know it's going to be heard and executed on. One of my favorite offices there in New York and I think they've got one of the best cultures. I go in, the dentist, the owner is nowhere present. I have a regional manager. She goes with me, and we literally go to every single practice and we set up quarterly goals. Those offices have full autonomy. Their job is to stay in line with the vision of the company and to stay in line with the core values.

0:11:56.5 KD: Beyond that, they have free reign, and they say yes as often as possible, based on what that office wants and what they need. Talk about an incredible culture of trust, of innovation, of creativity, of brilliance, that's the culture I wanna have. So I send out a quarterly survey. Yep, I do right before our team quarterly meeting. It is so scary and awesome at the same time, because I know I'm gonna get true feedback. I know we're gonna find out how our company's doing. I'm gonna get a pulse on how my team is doing on the things that they want, on the things that motivate them, on how they feel our team is doing. Are we headed in the right direction? Gives them a platform. I also do a monthly one-on-one with every team member. Yes, CEO Kiera who travels a lot. I set time for that. It's a full day. Maybe one day I'll delegate it to somebody else. As of now, I've found that that's a great way for me to connect in with every single team member. Also when I'm on the road, I try to do a weekly check-in with every team member.

0:12:56.9 KD: I'm not always perfect at it, but I want them to know that even when I'm on the road, I'm still available and I'm there to support them. Guys, it is a lot. As I say that, you might be thinking, how do I fit this in? And what I think about often is, how do I not fit this in? This is a thing that's going to solve more of my problems. I'm gonna have a team that's cohesive. I'm gonna have a team that's not complaining and hating their jobs. I'm going to have less turnover, which is honestly a human capital expense, and I'm actually gonna have a team that can drive this company when I'm not there, guided by the influence that I've already left. Why would I not wanna spend my time doing that? To me, that's the most important thing a leader can do. So I'm gonna challenge you to take on one or two. Trust me, everything I just listed off, I did not do on day one, or on day 365, or on day 275 or on day 900. It's been over time and I add a little bit and a little bit more, and a little bit more, and a little bit more.

0:13:50.6 KD: I set a process and a habit so I don't have to forget or think about it. How can you systematize this? How can you structure it? Alright guys, go infuse your practices and your life with culture. Build the culture you've always dreamed of. Make it a reality and let me know how we can help you. As always, guys, thanks so much for listening and I'll catch you next time on the Dental A Team Podcast.


0:14:13.0 KD: Alright, Dental A Team listeners, that's a wrap. Thank you so much for listening, and if you loved today's podcast, go leave us a review. It takes you five seconds and your review helps more offices, more practices, more team members just like you find out about the Dental A Team. Thank you guys so much for being part of my Dental A Team family.


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