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Blog Post: June 2020

CPD Junkie Blog

“Culture is the sum of everyone’s attitudes, beliefs, behaviour, traditions and skills. So culture really belongs to everyone within a team”

Dr. Jesse Green

Be part of a Winning Culture

Written by Dr. Jesse Green

We hear about the importance of culture all the time. We know we need to inculcate it in our thinking and daily actions but that is only the beginning of a long, tedious, confusing but extremely rewarding journey. It is like losing weight; you know you need to do it for the sake of your health and wellbeing. You know all the buzzwords like cutting down on carbs, sugar, calorie intake. If you let your body guide you through the process, it may give in to temptations? But what if you deprive your body way too much, then it starts retaliating by going in starvation mode. 

Sound familiar doesn’t it? If you let your team members or colleagues organically build the culture around you then your own goals and core values or those of your company take a backseat. If you take too much control and try forcing culture on others and they don’t want to be on-board with it, it flounders. The bottom line, however, remains that culture is essential; but what is more important is finding the right balance. And that is exactly what we try to look into today.

What is Culture Anyway?

Culture is the sum of everyone’s attitudes, beliefs, behaviour, traditions and skills. So culture really belongs to everyone within a team. So if you take a dental practice, culture doesn’t belong to the owner of the practice, it belongs to everybody that works in and around that practice. It is driven by the feedback from patients too, so obviously it is the sum of everybody working in, and connected to the organisation. 

Seek Fulfilment, Everything Else Will Follow

As practice owners or providers of services to a practice, monetary gains are on top of our minds, which sometimes lead some to make the wrong decisions and put other interests in the backseat. This mind-set can make the work environment toxic to say the least. Research shows that people would rather work in a happy environment with great leadership for less money than in a toxic environment that pays well. 

And in times of active social media and active review and ratings culture, it is very easy to get the word out if the organisation has a toxic culture. What you should be focusing on is seeking fulfilment. To make sure that your work principles and ethics are not being compromised; to make sure that you and your team members are happily proactive and always opt for organic growth that all the team members are a part of. 

The Know-it-All Approach to Disaster

This mistake can at times be solely responsible for killing the culture of any team.  As providers, managers and team leaders we need to understand that in order to be the smartest person in the room, you need to be the dumbest person in the room. You should be the one asking questions rather than answering them.

Allow your team members to speak to you about their expectations and ideas and they’d carry you forward to greater successes all on their own. 

The Culture is Nobody’s to Own

This somehow correlates with the previous point. You need to know that you can neither claim responsibility nor ownership of the culture of your organisation. Too often we see huge banners, posters and pamphlets scattered all around screaming culture in an organizational space. Those are not interesting to look at and neither do they serve any positive purpose. 

You cannot just set up some ground rules to be followed and expect it to become a culture. Just like most things great and growing, it needs to evolve. You need to constantly keep your team members on board and be proactive in order to develop and maintain a healthy culture. 

Signs of a Good Culture

So how do you know you have a good thing going on? In all fairness, it is not hard to detect. Everyone deserves a grumpy day every now and then, but if your colleagues or team members continuously show up to work without a smile on their faces and a twinkle in their eyes, then know that something isn’t right. 

And how do you fix it? You openly communicate. Rather than blaming them for not being productive/active/involved enough, you should try to be on their side and ask them how you can make their work more fun and interesting. 

How to Get the Work Done?

‘Sweet talk doesn’t get the work done, Jesse,’ No it most definitely does not! Which is why you need to set the ground rules beforehand. You need to let team members know what is expected of them and hold them responsible for it.

Performance management is one of the best methods to ensure everyone’s on track with their responsibilities within an organisation. If the culture, or business productivity for that matter is suffering because someone isn’t doing their job properly or isn’t on-board with the culture of the company, despite warnings and emotional support, then you need to let go of that person before it gets more toxic.

The Last Word

The only way you can ensure a healthy, proactive and result oriented culture where everyone involved happily works towards similar goals is to make sure you continuously work on it from the backseat. Agreed, it is a tricky position to be in and it will take some time before you, your team members and your patients are all on board with it, but it is a process that will generate great rewards. So keep the culture alive and it will keep you in business.

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