The Four Most Important Steps to Creating an Exceptional Team by Jay Geier

A recommitment to your team and their futures should be a daily practice, but many of you don't think about them as a priority. Your team is your greatest investment, greatest relationship, and greatest opportunity for growing and improving your practice. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. For your practice, this means that the accountability level at which you hold your team will also be reflected back at you—which is a great thing! If you raise your expectations of your staff members, they will also raise their expectations of you—and their expectations matter.

Your business will run much smoother if you are a leader who your team wants to follow, not just a manager. My team at the Scheduling Institute recently asked me to sign a contract, committing to another 10 years as their leader. If your team were given the option, would they ask you to stay? Would they say that you are making them the best team they can possibly be? Or would they choose another leader?

Your team is not an expense. They are an investment. This simple change in perception is crucial. So many doctors look at their team as a necessary expense, and believe that training them is an optional expense. This couldn't be further from the truth! Investing in your team makes them more engaged, and they will produce better results for your practice when they see you're investing in them while clearly articulating your vision and expectations.

Think like the Ritz-Carlton: They've grown an internationally renowned business because of their staff. That doesn't happen overnight. They invest 280+ hours of training every year into their team. Be honest with yourself: Are you even investing a tenth of that? Remember—to get world-class results, you have to have a world-class team. And a world-class team doesn't just happen; it's created intentionally.

If you commit to building a great team and then add training and accountability, they will give you a big return. Whether it is by scheduling new patients, upselling procedures or streamlining efficiency so that current clients are retained, your team can either build your practice up or hold it back.

The first step towards fully realizing your team's potential is to raise their engagement level. A recent study by Gallup indicated that companies with engaged employees outperformed those without by over 202 percent! Team members who are engaged will over-deliver because they are personally invested in the practice. Engaged team members are self-motivated to find solutions by improving their own systems in the office and their interactions with each other, as well as with patients. They have positivity and intention. They are focused on constantly improving themselves, grateful for growth opportunities and goal-oriented.

Now, what can you do to help your team increase their overall value and engagement? Here are the four most important action steps.

It All Starts with the Hiring Process

Hiring the right team members is a non-negotiable step in the process to building an exceptional team. Make sure your hiring process is as unique as you are, and that it fully takes into account your expectations for each role. Assess not only a potential team member's competency in their area, but also their personality, attitude, cooperation and adaptability. Everyone on your team must be open to change, because growth demands it.

Make Purpose a Priority

Sometimes, the obstacle preventing a great team from becoming exceptional is simply a lack of purpose. Focus, efficiency and engagement are incredibly important habits to form within your team, but without purpose, these things won't give your practice vitality. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your purpose for practicing and running a business, and make sure your team is on board.

Establish Clear Goals for Each Team Member

Inspire your team to set goals that stretch them as an individual. Take the time to outline clear goals with each team member, keeping in mind the role they play in the bigger picture. Remind them to take ownership of their role and responsibilities, as well as taking responsibility for the results in their area. It is all too easy to blame a week of low numbers on elements outside of our bubbles—politics, weather, seasons, the economy, etc. Instead, remind your team members to focus their efforts on the elements they can control. And don't forget to incentivize their efforts when they produce results.

Follow Through with Accountability

It can be challenging to keep yourself focused day after day, and even more challenging to make sure your team is equally focused. It can be tempting to ease up, and run your practice with laissez-faire leadership. However, this is neglecting the follow-through step in assuring success for your team—accountability. Without accountability, goals slip through the cracks, team members lapse into old habits and your practice will stagnate. You have a responsibility to every single member of your team, and that is to be an unwavering accountability partner. The Scheduling Institute places an enormous emphasis on hiring, purpose, goals and accountability for our staff. Not only do we strive to be the best at what we do, we also strive to constantly raise the highest standard as we discover new and improved processes. Our team members are the lifeblood of our company, and we make them feel connected, and to provide them with the tools they need for success.

With 2014 halfway over, it is time to look at where you are and assess how far you are from achieving the goals you've set for the year. It's not too late to change course and boost your team by stepping back and evaluating where things stand. Then look at what you can do to show your staff that you are invested in their future growth and engagement every single day. For more information about the Scheduling Institute team training programs call 844-242-1992 or go to

Jay Geier is the president and founder of the world-renowned Scheduling Institute. More than 2,900 dentists and orthodontists participate in Jay's 5-time Townie Choice Award-Winning coaching and training programs. With over 16 years of experience working with orthodontic practices, Jay Geier's Scheduling Institute has redefined the industry standard for excellence and remains the largest and most successful orthodontic consulting firm in the world. For more information, call 844-242-1992 or visit and click on the orange "Rate My Practice" button to see how your practice ranks against the competition!

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