Every book we read, every person we meet, every experience we have, can lead to teaching us something new. Having wine o’clock with my neighbor, Wendy, the other evening, gave me new insight into building great culture as shown by her boss, a dentist. I know…most of us get palpitations and break out in a sweat when we hear the ‘d’ word…dentist. But listening to Wendy talk about her boss, the culture and how it gets there was a lesson in how to build great culture in our sports teams. Let’s do a little checklist…
Hiring practices. The dentist hired her last year…she had no experience being an office Admin., but he knew what he wanted…an outgoing personality that would make patients feel comfortable. The rest? He knew he could train the skill set. And he has…and continues to.
How often do we hire the right people? Why / why not? Do we not post the same job description we’ve had forever instead of sitting down and assessing what type of person the department needs? Hiring that right person at the right time for the department, and not being afraid to teach the skill set, can set a department up for success.
Coaching employees. Think about your department’s typical coaching session. Does it revolve around your pipeline and the number of calls? Or does it revolve around 2 or 3 things that you can work on the upcoming week that is measurable and actually helps them grow? The dentist even coaches his employees, and in the coaching session asks how he can continue to help them grow. They all know to collect their questions and he will spend the time with them answering them. It’s a conversation.
How can we make our coaching sessions more than pipeline meetings? Are we watching, listening, and planning to grow our employees? If so, this is the perfect time to comment on the good, and how we can help them get better. It’s the time to give them something measurable to work on the next week so that they leave feeling that you really are vested in growing them.
Transparency. The dentist lets them know how the business is going. He lets them know that he will stand behind them with problem patients, and doing right for the patient is more important than the dollar. They have true business meetings, so they know if it is being run efficiently and in the best way for their patients.
Are we transparent? It’s the staff’s business as much as ours. They need to know where we were, where we are, and where we are going…and their role in it. Does your staff know you will stand behind them with problem clients? Do you convey that making the right sale…or no sale at all…is more important than the dollar? Do you have true business meetings or are they ‘what’s in your pipeline’ or ‘make more calls’ meetings?
Meaningful and conversational meetings. Their staff meetings are educational, meaningful and relevent, and invite conversation. This is the atmosphere you have when the culture is great and the team members feel comfortable having open dialog.
How are our meetings? As the leader, do you sit and ‘hold court’? Are you doing most of the talking? Is there an educational component that your staff runs or do you do that also? Do you invite conversation or is it a ‘give me your facts’ then we go on to the next person?
Training and development. There is continual training and insight into best practices, what is new, and how it can best help the patient.
What does your training and development look like? Is it the same year after year? Is it done as ‘there, checked it off our list’ or ‘what does our team need at this point in time and who/how can we provide that best?’
Encourages everyone to work together. As Wendy stated, everyone is not afraid to chip in and help each other. No one is above rolling up their sleeves and helping, including the dentist. This encourages a ‘we’re in it together’ attitude.
Do you have your staff broken down into islands? Is there a feeling of ‘community’ and support or ‘just stay on my phone and mind my own business’? When the job needs to get done do they willingly chip in and assist or do so because they have to?
Balance. The dentist is a big believer in family. Personal time is important to great attitude.
Do we expect staff to ‘be honored to be working in sports and so you have to be here all the time’ or do we realize balance is needed in today’s world for good mental and physical health as well as great culture? If they put in a solid 8 hours do we still expect them to hang around another hour or two because…well, because that’s the way we always were told it should be?
Recognizes good work. Thank you’s go a long way to his staff, and recognizing accomplishments is done as they happen.
Do we leave a post it on their desk or a voice mail letting them know it was a job well done? Or do we expect it?
Hearing the pride in Wendy’s voice for where she worked and the culture she was ‘lucky enough’ to be part of should be the norm in sports, where we are selling entertainment. We’re not doing root canals for heaven’s sake. We’re selling something fun, and with that should come a great environment…but it starts with how we lead. If a dentist can lead his team to great culture, why aren’t we?
Kathy Burrows, Sold Out Seating
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