Training Champions by Jay Geier

Training Champions 

How to take your team from “good” to “better” to “best”

by Jay Geier

Having good people does not mean you have a good team. The most obvious example is sports: Every player on a football or basketball team can be strong in their individual position but if they don’t know the plays, don’t coordinate and communicate with teammates, and don’t always put the team’s outcome ahead of personal benefit, they’re actually detrimental to the team.

If you want to build a thriving, growing practice founded on excellence, follow these three strategies:

  • Establish a good team: Recruit and hire quality individuals.
  • Craft a better team: Put each individual in their most ideal position/role.
  • Develop the best team: Train them as a team.

Recruiting and hiring individual talent
Establishing a good team is like getting talented people on the bus. To improve the quality of people on your bus, you may need to change the paradigm about what you’re looking for that constitutes talent for your specific office and business, and how you conduct interviews.

If you don’t talk about your organization’s vision, leadership, training and growth opportunities until your onboarding or orientation process, you could be losing the best candidates before they ever get that far. Today’s top talent is attracted not only by compensation but also by the job’s culture-oriented factors, specifically:

  • A better boss: Someone who genuinely cares about their people, listens, mentors, shows appreciation and values others’ input.
  • A brighter future: Achieved through training, development, being challenged and being given opportunities.
  • A bigger vision: Doing meaningful work and contributing to the world around them.
Talk up front about your appreciation events, commitment to training and development, and how you give back to the community. Doing so enables you to assess the strength of a candidate’s cultural fit.

For example, a glowing recommendation from a previous employer may not be as positive as it seems. Maybe that employer didn’t set performance expectations, assign accountability for results, have a culture of teamwork or put the patient experience above all else. Maybe the candidate seemed excellent at their previous job because they’d done it that way for decades—a potential red flag they may not be willing or able to learn and buy into new and better ways of performing their job.

Adapt your interview process to help you avoid inviting someone onto your bus only to find out later they’re not a good fit for your particular team and office culture.

Positioning people for maximum advantage
A bus full of good people makes for a good team, but getting each individual into the right seat makes for an even better team. Assigning each team member a role that takes advantage of their innate strengths and natural talents brings out the best in them and allows you to craft the ideal team for your business.

Understanding how a person likes to send and receive information and instructions, perform tasks and solve problems will go a long way in helping you determine the right role for them. They might perform well enough in other roles, but will be most efficient, effective, stress-free and satisfied in the role that matches their strengths and work style.

Larger practices have a greater variety of roles and, therefore, more flexibility when it comes to finding a potentially better seat. But even small practices can tweak job descriptions to better match an employee’s strengths, or adapt processes in a way that allows them to perform at their personal best.

Offering other seats also equates to providing developmental opportunities—important for both recruitment and retention—such as special projects and assignments, new responsibilities and team leadership roles. As the business grows and expands, you’ll have strong in-house candidates to fill new seats, reducing the need for external hiring.

Team training
Let’s say you’ve successfully filled your bus with all good people (which would have inevitably meant you had to eject some people from the bus to make room for stronger talent), and have gotten each person into their ideal seat. They all bring positive individual traits such as trustworthy character, enthusiasm and positivity, self-motivation, reliability, a strong work ethic and a sense of accountability.

Here, however, is where practice owners fall short of the finish line in terms of developing their team into the best it could be. You assume good people will intuitively know what the most effective processes and best practices are, how to coordinate and communicate with teammates for optimal execution, how to satisfy patients based on what’s important to them and how to help drive business results.

A collection of high performers does not constitute a high-performing team. They must be trained and developed to work together as a unit, all pulling in the same direction toward the same goals. The right training goes way beyond teaching efficient operational processes; it also involves communicating goals, performance standards and expectations, clarifying roles and accountabilities, and engaging, motivating and building trust within the team so everyone is on board and committed to working together for the good of the business.

However, truly effective training can only be done within the context of a well-articulated culture, which you as the company leader are responsible for defining, creating and nurturing.
  • Your vision (the what): What you aspire to accomplish in the long term that will make talented people want to get on board your bus.
  • Your purpose (the why): The inspiration for what you do and the services you provide.
  • Your values (the how): These shape the organization and your reputation by providing nonnegotiable guardrails for everyone’s behaviors, actions and decisions.
Your team will make or break your ability to keep patients coming in and coming back. Give them the opportunity to be the best team they can be by investing in training to develop them into the highly engaged, highly productive, high-performing team you need them to be— a team committed to the growth and success of your business through patient service and accountability for results.

A new starting block
I referred to team training as crossing the finish line when it comes to developing the best team. For you as the CEO of your business, it also becomes a new starting block.

As the team develops, so do all those good individuals you brought onto your bus. Benefit yourself, your people and your business by delegating more of the routine work, assigning special tasks and projects, and creating team leader roles so you’re not trying to do everything yourself. At the same time, you’ll be providing the expected growth opportunities for people who may not have come on board otherwise.

You will then free up your time to focus on revenue generation, profitability, business-building strategies, culture development and giving back to your community. In other words, if you train and develop your team to take on more of the work, you can all get on with achieving your vision together.

Author Bio
Author An entrepreneur, author, speaker and philanthropist, Jay Geier is on a mission to help others live up to their full potential through time-tested, proven strategies he’s gleaned from decades of achieving success both in his own life and in the lives of countless professionals he’s worked with. Geier is the founder and CEO of Scheduling Institute, a practice management and health marketing firm designed to help private practice owners achieve a more successful business and, as a result, a more fulfilling life. To subscribe to his Private Practice Playbook podcast, go to
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