Much of our work at Line of Sight Coaching revolves around leadership development and creating optimal practice cultures.
We believe that optimal organizational cultures are the byproduct of effective leadership. This is not to say that poor leadership does not produce a culture. In fact, each of our practices has a culture, good or bad, whether we know it or not.
The theoretical concept of organizational culture can be somewhat vague and difficult to understand. This is due to the intangible nature of the concept. In practice, however, organizational cultures are powerful and potentially transformational.
An organizational culture embodies the guiding principles that dictate how we work together as a team.
How we interact with our patients, vendors, and anyone who has direct interactions with our practice. It is the expectations that we hold for ourselves and every other member of our team. It is our relational bible.
We know, as coaches, that the very best and most productive clinical practices have strong cultures as their foundation. We also know that those doctors that choose to disregard their practice culture do so at great risk.
There are two distinct ways through which we create our practice culture.
One way is through default leadership and emotional absenteeism. This occurs when the leader is disengaged and offers no direction, guidelines, or well-defined boundaries for team communication and interactions.
It has been said that our leadership is defined by that which we tolerate, and disengaged leaders are prone to tolerate numerous forms of toxic behavior that severely diminish the quality of the practice culture.
These doctors are what we call perpetual “problem solvers” because they are constantly dealing with problems that need solutions. Their staff has never been developed to think or act independently and therefore look to the doctor for even the simplest solutions.
As a result, the doctor finds themself bogged down in minutia and unable to utilize their time to its highest and best use. Furthermore, staff conflict is pervasive, and a practice with a poor culture and no guidelines has a weakened infrastructure, and like a house of cards, lacks resiliency and is prone to collapse when placed under stress.
The other, and more desirable way to create an optimal practice culture is through purposeful, conscious leadership, and engagement.
These leaders are what we refer to as “people developers”.
- They have provided the guidelines, direction, and well-defined boundaries that are the essential ingredients for an optimal culture.
- They have given their team the resources, knowledge, support, and authority to think and act independently within certain well-defined boundaries.
- They recognize that collaborating with their staff is the surest way to discover effective solutions and make the best possible decisions.
- They also recognize the profound negative effect of toxic behavior and are unwilling to tolerate these behaviors.
- These doctors are the ones that find maximum enjoyment and profit from their professional endeavors.
Just as an optimal practice culture is the byproduct of effective leadership, peak performance is the byproduct of an optimal culture.
Freeing ourselves from the burdens brought about by a negative culture allows us to concentrate on achieving goals and moving our entire team towards sustainable peak performance.
An optimal culture promotes collaboration and team interactions that are no longer driven by ego and/or jealousy. Each team member clearly understands their role in achieving sustainable peak performance and willingly subordinates their individual ego to the concept of team-driven success.
Having an optimal culture that promotes a philosophy of abundance is another important step in achieving peak performance. Believing in abundance means that we are committed to making everyone on our team successful, and by doing so, we create something called “positive tension”.
When we ensure our team’s success by giving them everything they need to be successful we are allowing them to experience the satisfaction derived by a series of successes.
As our team member’s challenges and successes become more significant, they begin to believe in their capabilities and ultimately adopt the mindset that no task is unachievable. This achievement-oriented mindset proves invaluable when the staff is presented with a compelling vision of a team working at a peak level and they have a clear understanding of the tasks required to achieve this goal.
A team that has a clear and compelling vision, a burning desire to make the vision reality, and confidence in their ability to make it happen has positive tension and will relentlessly pursue their goal. They become unstoppable.
Given this scenario, it is our job to provide a compelling vision with the greatest clarity possible.
We build the team’s desire to achieve the goal through tangible benefit statements, and we must offer the support and resources to provide the best possibility for their success.
As the team leader, we must believe that our team is capable of achieving their goals. Research has shown that a team will perform to the level of the leader’s expectations. Expressing our confidence to our team in their capabilities will serve as a significant motivator.
We use the following success formula that allows us to distill these concepts to their simplest form:
EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP + AN OPTIMAL CULTURE = PEAK PERFORMANCE
When you develop effective leadership skills and develop an optimal culture in your practice, you will see a change in your Peak Performance.
At Line of Sight Coaching, we have created a quick ten-question self-assessment Leadership Quiz. Take this opportunity to gauge your leadership effectiveness and get an answer to the question…”Have you ever wondered about your ability to lead?” Take our Free Leadership Quiz.
Dr. Joel Small and Dr. Edwin McDonald, the founders of Line of Sight Coaching, are dental practitioners, authors, speakers and Business Leadership Coaches who work with healthcare professionals to help them build more successful practices so they can live the balanced life they seek.