One Bad Apple Spoils the Barrel….

One of the things that I find and see as I meet with dentists and their teams around the world is that there are dental offices out there where not all members of the team are on the same page.

“On the same page” means the team all has the same agenda at the same time.

In business, and in sporting teams, if the entire team is not all focused together on the common goals and outcomes then the outcomes are achieved with duress, if achieved at all.

You’ve heard the idiom “A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link”?

It’s a truism that can be applied universally to sporting teams as well as businesses.

If the defensive line has a vulnerable player in it, then it doesn’t matter how good the rest of the players are, the opposition will direct their attention toward this weak player, as this will be their easiest place to penetrate the defensive line.

Similarly in business, if one business team member or employee is not performing to the requirements of their role, then the business will suffer, because the weakness will become a vulnerability in the process of doing business.

In dentistry, this can be as simple as having an inexperienced or not fully trained person performing a role where experience and developed skills are required.

I see this so often where a team member from the clinical team is “thrown onto the front desk” to answer the phone and deal face to face with patients and customers, yet has not been trained, or has not developed the necessary skills and nuances required to perform this role to the necessary level.

I see dental offices that wear this sort of transition as being acceptable and normal in the process of running a business.

To the contrary, accession of roles within the dental office should be planned for, as a normal part of business.

Front office skills and phone answering should be taught to and trained for all team members, so that when there is a need for one team member to step up to the plate, so to speak, then they are ready, and the business is ready, for their performance of this role.

Because think about it. Why should your customers play lucky dip with who they get when they call or do business with your office?

Why should your clients ever have to deal with someone who is undertrained and a weak link, but yet be expected to pay full and regular price for that service or process?

It just wouldn’t be fair?

You wouldn’t expect to be served at a fine dining restaurant by a wait staff “thrown into” the role under trained?

Nor would you feel safe knowing that your car was serviced by the car washer, because the regular auto-mechanic was not available at your auto shop?

In the same way that lack of skill and training and preparation can be a vulnerability to a sporting team or business, then the same can be true, and is true for someone in the team displaying less than the desired character traits and motivations necessary to perform at the required level.

When the team knows that there is a weak person, or a bad apple, who has penetrated into the business, into the team, it sure weighs heavily upon the other team members.

It’s a punishment to the other team members that just does not need to be present.

We’ve seen it in sport. A player with a bad attitude to training will have and be a disruptive influence on the psyche of the rest of the team. We all know of sporting teams that have to let star players go because the player is not one hundred percent focused and dedicated to themselves and the tasks at hand, let alone to the goals and desires of the team.

In the dental office this can be as simple as an employee that has a bad attitude, or an employee that always turns up late, or an employee that is constantly absent from the role they need to perform, due to illness or perceived illness.

An injured or sickly dog is of no use to the dog sled team. Similarly, a football player whose mind is not on the job will soon find himself on the market and looking for another team.

Everyone knows the story of “Lay Down Sally” who stopped rowing in the Athens Olympic Games, letting her oar drag and laying back, causing her team to finish last in the final.

Her fellow rowers were inconsolable after this race.

They were let down, and betrayed. Their efforts, though exemplary, were for naught as a result of a weak link…

Nobody likes to play or work in a team with such vulnerability.

It wears away at all team members.

Eats away.

In the best interests of the business and the team the rotten fruit must be sorted and removed.

For the betterment of everybody. Team members. Business. And customers.

You can’t let one bad apple continue to spoil the barrel.

You owe it to yourself, to your team, and to your customers to have the best trained and dedicated people in the appropriate positions in your office.

Nothing less.


Hiring correctly is just one of the modules taught in The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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