Are All Your Team Members Reading From The Same Playbook?

Are all of your team members reading from the same playbook?

There’s nothing more frustrating I think than watching a sporting team that’s disjointed and not connected.

Well, except for being *ON* that team and trying to run plays that some team members have forgotten or not even bothered to learn.

To the contrary, as an Australian, I find beauty in watching NFL and seeing replays from all angles with the chalkboard overlaid, as each team member fulfills their duty to ensure that the set play is enacted to completion.


The contrast, in these two scenarios, is as distinct as black and white.

Surprisingly, a good friend of mine who teaches Sales Skills tells me that most *Businesses* out there either do not even have a playbook or have one but rarely refer to it.

So much so, he says, that college football teams leave most businesses for dead when it comes to Policies, Procedures, and Structures and Systems.

And that’s scary.

Because with business, there’s a multitude of employees, shareholders and customers whose lives are dependent upon the ongoing health and prosperity of that business.

They all have a vested interest in seeing that business succeed.

Who likes to think that their favourite restaurant is struggling for patrons?

As a customer, we like to think that the places we like to do business are making a good living.

And who’d like to work in a business that’s struggling to stay open?

It wouldn’t be any fun turning up for work each week, being worried that the owners, or worse still, the liquidators, would be waiting to close the business down.

And yet, those customers, and those employees, along with the managers and the owners, can sometimes forget the power they have over the destiny of that business.

And that *POWER* is their ability to follow the script, and follow the playbook.

In Dentistry, as a business, we have a playbook.

Or we should have.

Or, should I say, we all *SHOULD HAVE*.

And the purpose of that playbook is to make sure that we achieve our goal.

That we win.

And a win in Dentistry is defined as making sure that all patients seen receive complete diagnoses, and accept all their treatment plans and book and schedule and complete all diagnosed treatment.


That’s our job.

It’s our duty to make sure that every skerrick of Dental Disease is removed from the mouths of every patient we see.

Because, again, having patients walking around with long term dental liabilities and time-bombs in their mouths is doing nobody a favour.

If as a Dental team, we fail to proceed with or complete a patient’s treatment then we have let that patient down.

Because that Dental Disease will only do one thing.

It will only get worse.

At what rate, we do not know.

But when it gets worse, it’s going to become more painful, more destructive and more difficult and more expensive to repair and fix.

Not the opposite.

With time it will not become the opposite.

With time there will not be less disease.

With time it will not be easier to repair, nor will it be less expensive.

And with time, the patient may end up getting the work completed at another Dental Office.

And that Dentist might be wishing that someone had fixed this patient’s problems sooner…

So how does all this relate to the playbook?

Like I said, it is our duty to make sure that our patients understand what exactly they need to have done, and the urgency that that work needs to be completed by.

Everything we do in our Dental Office must be performed with these goals in mind.

We want our patients leaving the Office with a firm appointment made, and with the desire to want to bring that appointment forward should the opportunity arise.


Not the opposite.

We do not want patients leaving unsure of what is happening next and unclear or unaware of the consequences of delay.

If they are confused then we have done them no favours.

No favours at all.

Because their problems, though not hurting now, [that’s why they’re cancelling], will only get worse and worse with time.

One of my coaching clients was letting me know about a temporary hygienist she had, who was not playing by the playbook.

The playbook said that when the hygienist calls the Dentist into the hygiene room to do the examination, then all hygiene, *ALL* hygiene, should have been completed.

Because what has to be front of mind in the patient’s mind after the Dentist has been, in is what is wrong with my teeth, what do I need to have done, and how soon should it be done, and what will happen if I delay or defer the treatment.

Anything else, anything else at that point onwards, is a distraction from the goal of the practice, a distraction as to importance and urgency of treatment.

In my client’s case, she found that straight after the examination, instead of following the playbook, the temporary hygienist was launching into Oral Hygiene Instruction, and flossing techniques, and in so doing, totally diminishing the importance and urgency of what the Dentist had just now said and diagnosed.

Which needed to remain *Front of Mind* for the patient.

And I’ve seen it too.

I’ve seen hygienists detract from the Dentists’ message by then taking over the patient and scheduling the next hygiene visit.

That duty should have been done well before the Dentist comes down and enters the room.

Similarly, even, the action of giving the “goodie bag” should be performed before the Dentist comes in to do the examination, so that it is not a distraction [after the fact] by being performed when the dentist has farewelled the patient and completed the handover.

The patient must be totally focused upon “what do I need to do next?”

Similarly, when Dental Assistants and Hygienists are handing over the patient at the front desk, then the Scheduling Co-coordinator receiving the patient should also be focused on the message of the treatment required.

And not leading with a Social Question that totally distracts and undermines our practice goal.

Our goal is to have all patients leaving with that clear next step.


What do I do next?
When do I come in?
What will happen if I don’t?

Can I be seen sooner if a time becomes available?

Leading with a comment or question about the weather, or something just as banal, only goes toward adding to the patient’s confusion and detracting from our message.

We do not want a community of people roaming around out there with incomplete treatments and liabilities.

We want them returning and completing their treatment.

Everything we do, therefore, should be focused on our goals.

Everything we do in our playbook should be focused on our goals.


Not distraction.

Not confusion.





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