Kolbe – Practice Success Stories 2

Practice Success Stories – 2

In previous articles I have described how the majority of people initiate their problem solving in one of the four Conative Characteristics

  • Fact Finder – Gathering and sharing of information – Specifiers.
  • Follow Through – Sorting and Storing Information – Classifiers.
  • Quick Start – Dealing with risk and uncertainty – Improvisers.
  • Implementation – Handling space and intangibles – Builders.

One of the questions that I am asked is what happens if someone doesn’t initiate action in a particular way and it’s this case that I will explore this time.

Keith is a practice owner in a rural town, he has taken until his late thirties to become a practice owner and is transitioning from the previous owner. He and the old owner, Larry, have effectively swapped positions. Larry had promised that he would reduce his days at the practice over a period of months but he is starting to give excuses and postponing his plans. Keith is finding this very frustrating and feels like he should be taking the bull by the horns but when he broaches the subject with Larry he comes across as being aggressive and the two of them, having enjoyed a good personal and working relationship to date, are hardly speaking.

There is a practice manager who has been with the practice for several years. She has a background of running her ex-husband’s business and is very confident in her approach to running the business. Keith is somewhat in awe of her and tends to defer to her.

So we have a new principal desperately wanting to put his mark on the business but tending to “beat himself up” because he felt that he ought to be more dynamic, he wanted to feel like he was an entrepreneur, that he was a trailblazer and leading from the front. Unfortunately some poor coaching previously had re-enforced these feelings of inadequacy so poor Keith was battling with his demons. He attributed his perceived lack of progress to a weakness in himself.

Keith’s Kolbe score is 5:6:4:5, this means that all his measures are in the mid-range and he is classified as a “Mediator™”. It is not an Action Mode but rather an ability to accommodate to all of the others. A Mediator easily switches among the Action Modes, moving from one mode to the next as needs arise.

A Mediator is willing to:

  • Accommodate all other modes
  • Adapt to changing needs
  • Gain cooperation by mediating
  • Commit to group progress
  • Provide backup support

A Mediator’s contributions include:

  • Having the ability to act as a facilitator among people with various insistences
  • Being a team player
  • Being adaptable – thriving when cross-trained for many roles
  • Being able to lead by consensus
  • Being able to empower and delegate

In common with many of my clients who have taken their Kolbe A™ there was a huge moment of clarity when Keith’s scores were explained to him. Another name for Mediator is Facilitator and Keith realised that he had been his most successful and happy when he was not in a starring role but rather when he was acting as the glue that held people with different insistencies together. He naturally liked to work in environments with individuals who had a lot of instinctive diversity. Keith’s flair for leadership came from bringing consensus to those around him. Without a particular way of getting the job done, the Mediator is a crucial bridge between polarized conative factions on the team. He actually resists taking a starring role as he thinks it is superficial and stops him contributing.

So much for theory, with all this awareness Keith was able to resurrect the amicable relationship with Larry that they had enjoyed for many years and was able to help and support Larry through his move to new challenges.

Whether the “Kolbe aware” Keith changed in his attitude to the practice manager I am not sure, but she moved on within 12 months or so. Instead of this being the crisis that it would once have been, he was able to appoint a successor that was his choice and this has been a success.

The team that he has built, and continues to build, is a far happier crew than it was. Keith is at one with his role of Facilitator – Conciliator and no longer feels that he has to be the “dynamic, thrusting entrepreneur” (whatever that may be) that he had previously imagined was the only way to be a success. Now at one and happy to trust his instincts his efforts are bearing fruit and he has one of the best practices with the best team for miles around.

“Success – the freedom to be yourself” Kathy Kolbe

If you would like to find out more about using these fantastic tools in your practice or if you would be interested in a presentation to your study group or society contact Alun at alun@alunrees.com or on 07778148583.

First published in Apex the on-line Dental Journal from the Dental Learning Hub.

Recruitment is a difficult business and easy to get wrong, if you need any advice on using Kolbe to build your team get in touch.

The Monday Morning Quote #79

The Years Thunder By…..

To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… cruising, it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about. I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

Sterling Hayden

Kolbe – Practice Success Stories 1

Practice Success Stories -1

In the past couple of weeks I have outlined the principles behind Kolbe Wisdom™ and how, by using the 32-question Kolbe A Index, it is possible to identify the striving instincts that drive natural behaviours.

I outlined the four Conative Characteristics:

  • Fact Finder – Gathering and sharing of information.
  • Follow Through – Sorting and Storing Information.
  • Quick Start – Dealing with risk and uncertainty.
  • Implementation – Handling space and intangibles.

We lead from different strengths and it is the mix of the intensities in each of these characteristics that gives rise to our individual ways of doing things – our modus operandi, or MO.

Jimmy and Kate run a one-dentist dental practice. They bought a run-down practice and have successfully converted it from a large dependence on the NHS to 100% private.

Fact Finder

Follow Through

Quick Start

Implementation

Jimmy

4

5

3

8

Kate

5

3

8

5

Susanna

7

6

4

3

Marion

7

8

2

3

Jimmy is a dentist with an MO of 4:5:3:8, he is technically excellent and loves nothing more than expanding his clinical knowledge. Kate’s background is in dental nursing, in the past she has worked for a small corporate in a management position she admits that her real love is working with people. Her MO is 5:3:8:5.

They have a full time receptionist, Susanna, who has an MO of 7:6:4:3, a hygienist Marion with an MO of 5:7:3:5 and a dental nurse, Jane, with an MO of 7:8:2:3.

Kate has been trying to act as a practice manager and, whilst she can cope with the systems desperately misses regular contact with patients, but feels guilty about “not pulling her weight” in the office.

What do their MO’s tell us? Jimmy’s “8” in Implementor means that he is well suited to working with his hands, he will prevent stress by acting skilfully, mechanically and dexterously. His “3” in Quick Start means that he prevents in that mode, his instinct wants to keep things on track, he dislikes working to deadlines and tends towards the status quo. If change is inevitable he wants to understand how and why and he will then prevent chaos.

Kate’s “8” means that she initiates in Quick Start, her “3” means that she resists in “Follow Through”. Her instinct means that she thrives on short deadlines, loves the flexibility of having several balls in the air at once, she’s an improvisor. She’s far more of a natural entrepreneur than her husband and business partner, which will result in stresses between them until they understood their “Kolbes”.

Susanna scores highest in “Fact Finder” and is well suited for a post of receptionist, she asks lots of questions and is good on long term projects although she needs to be reminded of deadlines as there may be a tendency to keep researching. Her “3” in Implementor means that she imagines ideas or concepts without the physical structure she is able to imagine.

I will leave the other two team members to another time. The real light bulb moment came when Jimmy and Kate realised not only why she (Kate) was struggling with the Practice Manager role but also that she was the ideal person to fulfil the role of treatment co-ordinator that none of the rest of the team suited. Also Jimmy was able to come to terms with his misgivings about expanding the practice.

They decided to recruit a practice manager and to help them with this I was able to produce a synergy chart showing where they were lacking energy, what different individuals might offer and how they would fit. So on with the recruitment.

Fact Finder

Follow Through

Quick Start

Implementation

Dawn

5

6

3

6

Emily

7

4

6

3

Two individuals were short listed for the post, Dawn and Emily. Dawn’s MO was 5:6:3:6, Emily’s 7:4:6:3. Differences between them were in “Quick Start” Dawn was a “stabilizer”, Emily a “modifier” and in “Implementor” Dawn was a “restorer” and Emily an “imaginer”. Of significance was where their MOs fitted into the synergy chart of Natural Talents that I had produced. My advice was to give the job to Dawn but, clients being clients, they had been more impressed with Emily in the interview so she was offered the post and accepted.

Two weeks after she started work I called them to see how everything was going, “a complete disaster” was how it was put to me. All my misgivings were correct, she showed no signs of being able to work with the rest of the team or on her own, tasks started were never finished and there was a tendency to ignore or just not accept deadlines.

Thankfully, Dawn was still in the market and accepted the post, two years on she’s still in post and is a valuable member of the team. Her tendency to stabilise is still there but Kate and Jimmy can work with that and know what to look for when they are working with her. More to the point they still give thanks for the fact they were able to see why Emily was wrong for the post, it wasn’t just a new employee settling in it was a matter of synergy. It might have taken months or years to realise what was wrong and they would have then possibly be faced with the challenges of employment law.

If you would like to find out more about using these fantastic tools in your practice or if you would be interested in a presentation to your study group or society contact Alun at alun@alunrees.com or on 07778148583.

First published in Apex the on-line Dental Journal from the Dental Learning Hub.

Recruitment is a difficult business and easy to get wrong, if you need any advice on using Kolbe to build your team get in touch.

The Monday Morning Quote #78

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

&

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

George Orwell

Paddi Pages No 13 – Into the surgery

I may lose friends in the dental equipment business but this newsletter from Fletcher Potanin resonates with me. In 1988 I borrowed £8,000 from my father and set up my first cold squat practice. The only brand new bit of kit in it was the autoclave – which to the best of my knowledge is still running. Within 9 months the practice was running profitably. A friend donated a 3 piece suite for the reception area, which patients loved because they used to fall asleep on it, There wasn’t room for a “conventional” reception desk so we compromised but ended up with a very elegant solution. The sting in the tail of this is that 15 months later I opened a second practice and fell for the lure of the bells and whistles that I was told that I really must have, the resulting debt took me a long way down and a long time to recover.

Dear Alun,

The first thing you notice walking into one of Paddi’s dental surgeries (treatment areas) for the first time is that it’s different from anything you’ve ever seen before. (Surprised?)

Not that you wouldn’t recognise it as a treatment area, but there are a hundred subtle differences that would stand out to the observant eye. I’d like to tell you about a few of them and how they impact the customer experience in Paddi’s practice.

Now, before I do, I really should say that Paddi doesn’t like talking about the dental-specific aspects of his practice very much. Dentists tend to hold on very strong to their personal views and clinical preferences. Paddi would much rather talk about business philosophy and serving customers. He finds that so much more exciting.

So Paddi has given me permission to tell you about some of the clinical aspects of his business, but please consider them as just one dentist’s view and not as a prompt to enter into any clinical debates.

~~~~~~~~~ A peak inside Paddi’s Treatment Rooms ~~~~~~~~~

They’re a bit hard to miss, the TV’s hanging from the ceiling directly above the patient area. And of course that, too, is by design, in keeping with Paddi’s penchant for choreographing the customer experience.

Entertaining patients during treatment is somewhat commonplace now, but when Paddi first installed 15in TV’s on his ceiling some 25 years ago (quite an engineering feat at the time) it was revolutionary! It also made for a fabulous story for customers to tell – one of Paddi’s first Super CNes.

To learn more about the power of the Super CNes in giving your customers great stories to tell their friends, please visit www.solutionspress.com.au/page.asp?nid=gbzylbj&name=Publications_AbsolutelyCriticalNonEssentials

The second thing that strikes you about the surgery area is there’s no dental chair. Well, at least the piece of furniture in its place doesn’t look like the high-tech, motorised, adjust-in-36-ways dental chair gismos you’ve seen before.

“Have a lay down here Alun and let’s get you comfortable,” says Merilyn gesturing toward what Paddi calls his Dental Bed.

Now most people ask, “What the heck is a Dental Bed?” so I should probably explain.

The dental chairs and surgery equipment you typically see in dental practices around the world are quite expensive to setup. It’s not uncommon for dentists to spend up to $150,000 or more when you take into account furniture, equipment, instruments, plumbing, installation, etc. And that’s just for one surgery. Some practices have several per dentist.

But when Paddi first started out in dentistry, he didn’t have any money, and with parents who grew up in the Depression, he didn’t believe in borrowing!

Today he has a lovely building, but when Paddi started his practice during the mid ’70s it was in the bottom floor of a converted house on a main road in a working class suburb of Brisbane. (Did I say the house was as cheap as they came, or was that obvious?)

Paddi invited his parents to live upstairs, and Paddi’s father, Vic, (who had power tools!) helped Paddi with all the construction, plumbing and electrical. In those early heady days when there was no money in the bank, it wasn’t uncommon for Paddi and Vic to be at the practice by 5am hammering, drilling and sawing till the first patients arrived at 8am, only for Paddi to start on the tools again after the last patient left at 7pm to sneak in another 5hrs or so of construction before collapsing into bed – oh, the vigour of youth!.

As a consequence, when it came time to setting up the original dental treatment areas, Paddi was both financially desperate and just handy enough with the tools to consider different alternatives to the traditional, expensive, dental setup.

Thus, the Dental Bed was an invention born of necessity in that environment.

To describe it simply, it’s a narrow steel frame bed (cushioned and upholstered) on which patients simply lay down flat. It’s permanently reclined. It doesn’t move, adjust, raise or lower. It has no moving parts. All told, Paddi paid a local cabinet maker about $500 each to weld the frames together – a fraction of the costs of normal dental chairs, even back in 1980!

To this day Paddi has never had a customer complain that he didn’t have a traditional dental chair. They often give the dental bed a second look, but once they’ve lain down it’s of no consequence.

But that’s not the important part of the story.

At the time, the dental bed wasn’t Paddi’s preference, more a matter of financial necessity. But some very interesting things cascaded from Paddi’s solution to this pecuniary problem.

As a consequence of the bed and hence the patient being stationary, so too was everything else in the surgery (light, instruments, associated furniture, etc). It dramatically simplified the surgery setup.

And as a result of that, the capital costs associated with the surgeries in Paddi’s new building were considerably less than what other dentists had to endure – roughly 20% of the costs associated with traditional treatment rooms. And that of course made a huge difference to Paddi’s cost base and financial overheads.

Not that Paddi is advocating Dental Beds to anyone these days – for all the money he saved, making the beds was a lot of mucking around. They still work well for him and his patients, and make great business sense.

Back to the Dental Surgery

As you lay down, Merilyn asks you to move up the bed slightly so that you’re positioned just where Paddi has the best access to your mouth, with the back of your neck resting on the lovely and warm pre-heated wheat bag pillow.

And that’s when you start to look around the room, past the TV on the ceiling, to see and experience a host of other Critical Non-Essentials, a level of care and attention to detail that you never before thought possible in a dental business.

In the next issue of the Paddi Pages I’ll describe the important ones in full detail. Until then, you might consider how Paddi’s experience relates to your business.

Does your industry have a convention like the “dental chair” – an expensive piece of capital equipment that everyone seems to have but that might not be as important to your customers as it
is to your colleagues?

Perhaps there’s a “dental bed” alternative hiding there for you, too? If you have any stories of a striking paradigm shift away from industry norms that dramatically changed the basis of your business, I’d love to hear about it.

Kind regards,

Fletcher

Fletcher Potanin
Managing Director
Solutions Press Business Publishing
www.PaddiLund.com

INVITATION: Please feel free to share the Paddi Pages with your friends and colleagues by forwarding this e-mail or telling them about www.PaddiLund.com where they can subscribe.

ABOUT: “The Paddi Pages” is a page-at-a-glance look at the most commonly asked questions and popular ideas in Dr Paddi Lund’s story and publications.

BACK ISSUES: For on-line copies of previous editions of the Paddi Pages, please visit,
http://www.solutionspress.com.au/page.asp?nid=gbzylbj&name=V1_I13_IntoTheSurgery

Kolbe Wisdom™ – The Striving Instincts and Beyond.

Last time I introduced the principles behind the Kolbe Wisdom™. How, by using the 32-question Kolbe A Index, it is possible to identify the striving instincts that drive natural behaviours. I outlined the four Conative Characteristics:

  • Fact Finder – Gathering and sharing of information.
  • Follow through – Sorting and Storing Information.
  • Quick Start – Dealing with risk and uncertainty.
  • Implementation – Handling space and intangibles.

This time I would like to start to share with you how I use the system in my day-to-day professional life.

Before working with an individual or a group I have them take the Kolbe A Index and I spend some time examining the results.

Individuals

There is invariably a “light-bulb” moment when a person first sits down and reads their Kolbe A analysis. Usually it comes with a sense of comprehension, which can lead to acceptance of why they struggle with some aspects of their life. Frequently there is a feeling of relief that that there isn’t something “wrong” with them because they seem to succeed in some areas but continue to wrestle with others.

Often people will tell me that they wished they had known their Kolbe Index result years ago as they are able to discover the source of their stress.

With the assistance of the analysis I am able to coach individuals on how they might perform better and to be a happier and more useful member of a team. In some instances it is apparent that someone is doing the wrong job and would be better employed in a totally different role.

Teams

With the Kolbe A analyses for the whole team then it is possible by examining the Kolbe Synergy report to determine the distribution of talent within a team or the separate parts of teams e.g. nurses, front desk, clinicians, partners.

If there is an imbalance of any of the conative characteristics then the team’s performance cannot be at its optimum.

Cloning is the term given to uniformity of talent or lack of conative diversity, which limits opportunity and leads to Inertia. Frequently people will appoint others that agree with them and work the way that they do. Ultimately this will result in stagnation and a loss of productivity caused by uniform action and boredom.

Conflict or too many people with similar characteristics can result in Polarisation between separate parts of a large team e.g receptionists who initiate in Fact Finder may clash with nurses who initiate in Implementor and have a significantly different approach to problem solving.

Far too common is strain which results in Depletion. This comes from too high a proportion of team members trying to perform in ways that are not natural to them. Mental energy works against itself when the conative instincts are denied. If this happens in a group then it will be reflected in the bottom line.

Tension leads to Meltdown, which happens when people who know perfectly well who they are, suffer from unrealistic, external rather than self-imposed, pressure to act otherwise. A classic example of this in Dental Practice is the nurse that returns to work after a career break and runs the front desk to last only a month before leaving in tears.

Recruitment

With our knowledge of the existing team we can see where there may be missing energies in the set up. So when looking to make the final choice of candidates for a post, each of the short-listed takes the A Index and the result is compared with the existing strengths and, above all, deficiencies of the team.

Beyond the A Index

I am not trying to muddy the waters but it’s time to mention the B & C Indices. You will recall that the A index measured the individual’s instinctive talent.

The Kolbe C is taken by the employer or supervisor and completed as if the ideal individual were taking the index. This gives the job requirements or functional necessities.

The Kolbe B focuses on the methods that the jobholder perceives are necessary for success, so the jobholder’s self-expectations.

Comparing A and B gives an idea how much strain you may be under because of the pressure you put upon yourself.

Comparing A and C indicates whether another person or the organisation is limiting your opportunity to achieve, thereby causing tension between you and that person.

Comparing B and C can explain differing perceptions of the role.

Conclusion

At first you may feel this is a significant investment of time and effort and indeed that is how many clients have felt. However if you consider the cost to your business of just one bad appointment, one person doing the wrong job you will find that getting involved with the Kolbe Wisdom™ not only makes economic sense but also strengthens the team as a whole and as individuals.

Next time I will give some specific examples from practices that have used Kolbe Wisdom™ for their benefit.

There are only four fully trained and accredited KOLBE Consultants in the UK.

There is only one experienced in working with Dentists and their teams.

If you would like to find out more about using these fantastic tools in your practice or if you would be interested in a presentation to your study group or society contact Alun at alun@alunrees.com or on 07778148583.

First published in Apex the on-line Dental Journal from the Dental Learning Hub.

The Monday Morning Quote #77

Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could only do a little.

Edmund Burke (who’s mother, like mine, came from an impoverished but genteel Cork family….so mine told me)

burke

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