Getting Mentally Ready for an Endodontic Associate
Hiring an associate will rank as the second most critical decision you'll make after launching a new practice. An associate can provide the practice owner with invaluable freedom, ensuring predictable time away and five-day availability to serve referring doctors, including same day emergencies.
However, the focus of this article isn't merely on enumerating these benefits. Over the years of collaborating with endodontists, I've observed areas where things can either go smoothly or falter.
Common Areas of Faltering
Let's outline the significant stumbling blocks:
1. Practice Culture: Setting a practice culture is one thing, but consistently following it is another. Hypocrisy becomes glaringly evident to new hires within weeks when there's a disconnect.
2. Drama-Prone Employees: Protecting and retaining employees with a penchant for drama can undermine your practice's harmony.
3. The Significance of the Decision: Failing to recognize the significance of the decision to hire an associate as the second most crucial choice after launching a practice can lead to misalignment.
4. Expectations and Systems: Unclear expectations regarding the use of Endo Mastery systems during interviews can create confusion.
5. Thorough Interviews: Insufficiently thorough interviews may overlook personality traits that don't align with the practice or the preferences of referring offices, resulting in clashes with rogue personalities.
6. Mentorship Misunderstanding: When the concept of mentorship is poorly understood it can negatively impact the onboarding process.
7. Clear Agreement: Ambiguity in the type of agreement offered to the associate, whether partnership or associateship, can lead to misunderstandings. Get clear on your offer in black & white terms.
8. Mental Preparation: Owners often fail to mentally prepare or plan for a 1-2-year mentorship, underestimating the significance of this phase and its long-term payoffs.
9. Residency Experience: Owners might not fully comprehend the impact of the associate's encoded residency experience, which can pose challenges when introducing or eliminating certain habits. One-Appointment endo is at the top of the list.
10. Confidence Levels: Miscalculating an associate's confidence level, particularly when it's low at the start, can affect their performance.
A Path to Freedom and Stability
In my role as a mindset coach, I assist my clients in addressing stumbling points by helping them become emotionally and mentally clear with their unique associate plan that attracts the right talent and retains them. Mindset coaching compliments Endo Mastery systems and structures; developing the emotional link to the associate plan.
While there are coaching techniques to tackle all these aspects, let's focus on the pivotal component of mentorship.
When you engage in weekly or bi-monthly one-on-one sessions with your associate, several crucial aspects come into play:
1. Building Strong Relationships: These regular interactions foster a strong and harmonious connection, leading to unified leadership within your team.
2. Case Reviews: Within these sessions, consider the inclusion of not only constructive critiques but also discussions about successful cases. This approach helps boost your associate's confidence, highlighting their strengths and achievements.
3. Practical Experience: Offer up some of your cases to keep them busy so they can gain valuable clinical experience. This proactive approach allows them to practice and refine their skills. Be generous.
4. Priorities: Have you made your associate the second most important person at the practice after yourself?
It's essential to emphasize that mentorship activities and planning fall under the owner's responsibility. Take the initiative and be proactive in driving the mentorship process. Avoid the trap of passivity, as this is where mentorships tend to falter. Passivity can also breed hypocrisy, especially in the eyes of the newcomer.
Furthermore, set clear goals for your associate. For instance, within six months of their start, arrange for them and their clinical assistant for an over-the-shoulder visit at an Endo Mastery office. This provides them with a tangible aim to work towards. Share your over-the-shoulder experience – most of you have reported significant shifts in productivity after these visits.
Integrating your associate into the professional community is another vital step. Actively participate in dental events and bring your associate along. Invest heavily in this integration during the initial six months, as it helps them establish roots and connections within the community, fostering a sense of belonging.
Marketing plays a crucial role as well. Maintain regular site visits to the general practitioners you work with, even after hiring an associate. Consistent face-to-face interactions have been shown to increase referrals significantly. It's a collective effort, with both you and your associate actively promoting the health of the practice.
By embracing these mentorship and mindset strategies, you can foster a thriving and enduring partnership with your associate, ensuring both personal and professional growth in your practice.