Recent Posts by Rich Gelber

Don’t be “Amazoned”!

Bloomberg Businessweek magazine this past week talked about Amazon becoming a verb. To be “Amazoned’ means your business was ruined when Amazon became your competitor.

Is your dental office “Amazon proof”? In addition to our daily struggles of patient care, staffing, business development, etc., we are exposed to a constant onslaught of outside competing factors that can ruin our businesses, affect our lifestyles, and the way we practice dentistry. Sure, we all switched from print advertising and phonebook directories to web pages and Google Reviews, but some have done better than others. Can your dental office survive if a corporate dental chain sets up across the street with evening and weekend hours? Have you been “Amazoned” by PPOs yet?

At Pride Institute we teach Visioning. A vision is simply a combination of one’s personal and professional emotional values that provide an inspirational picture of the future. In a sense, a strategic roadmap of what we want our practices to be and what sets us apart from our competitors. Combined with operational leadership – annual planning, systems and staff management - we create a Brand Promise which generates patient loyalty and referrals.

I wasn’t Amazoned by the Great Recession of 2008-2010, we simply changed our product mixture of procedures, based upon our Vision, when an interest in purely elective cosmetic dentistry slowed. A client we are working with recently learned a national chain that places and restores implants is moving into their neighborhood. When I began to read the long email chain of this talented multidoctor and staff office, it wasn’t full of gloom and doom. They were excited. With a Vision, Brand Promise, and systems in place, they could capitalize on the companies’ business model of spending thousands and thousands of dollars in print and television advertising to raise the dental IQ of the average consumer. Rather than being Amazoned, they expect to capitalize on an increased interest in implants in their community!

Examples are endless at both the national and dental level of failed and declining businesses as a result of changes in competition and outside factors that we have no control over. Develop a Vision that sets yourself apart from your competitors and don’t be Amazoned!

There are times when the patient experience just doesn’t go the way we had planned — the experience does not qualify as meeting our Vision Statement! We all know the quote, “It’s not what happens, it is how we respond!”

At our Pride Team Summits in 2017, we had Ritz Carlton training. They call those experiences that don’t meet their Vision, “MR BIV”. MR BIV is an acronym of five words that describe mishaps and less than stellar experiences. MR BIV is a way to address the problem, without blame and shame. The problem is addressed instead of the person — since ALL of us have MR BIV moments!

Last week I was on a Delta flight leaving St. Louis. You may have heard about it in the news. Shortly after take-off there was a very loud “thump” noise as though something hit the airplane or something exploded in the luggage compartment. The plane was turned around back to St. Louis. We were detained by TSA, isolated by “crime scene tape” in our gate area for 3.5 hours while dogs sniffed us and TSA agents went through all the luggage in the overhead bins and checked luggage area.

Some passengers complained and blamed. Others were grateful that we were safe!

Nevertheless — here is the letter I received from Delta the very next day:

Hello Marsha,

We know it was upsetting and frustrating for you when Flight 1199 had to return to St. Louis after take-off due to a technical issue with the plane. The crew followed established procedures to ensure your safety and was able to land without any further issues. Out of an abundance of caution, emergency personnel met the plane on arrival for evaluation. Once completed, we were then able to secure a replacement plane to continue the flight to Atlanta. This wasn’t the experience we wanted you to have with us and I’m really sorry for any inconvenience this caused.

We Appreciate Your Business
As a goodwill gesture, I’ve deposited 10000 bonus miles into your account. Please allow three business days for the mileage to be posted.

Thanks for Flying Delta
We look forward to seeing you on another Delta flight.

Heidi Gould
General Manager
Customer Care

What a wonderful customer service move by Delta for a definite MR BIV experience! I especially like the sentence, “This wasn’t the experience we wanted you to have with us and I’m really sorry for any inconvenience this caused.”

My colleague, Dr. Wayne Pernell, wrote this concerning how the letter fits our Pride Institute training:

GREAT format for the letter.
Starts with Lead In + Emotion + Content.
Used a Benefit Statement to explain what the actions were.
Followed up with a note that it wasn't their Vision and an apology.
Then, a fix-it offer.
Great letter!

I’m keeping this letter in my file for my own use when MR BIV visits me! How about you?

First posted on Facebook: March 13, 2018

So You Want a Self-Directed Team?

Always our desire at Pride Institute is to create teams that are self-directed. So what does this mean, what does it look like, and, most importantly, how does one create a self-directed team?

First let’s define a team: a group of individuals banded together with a common purpose. And for whoever said “there is no “I” in team”, I beg to differ. A team is composed of individuals who bring their unique attributes and personalities to the workplace. A leader of a team must recognize each person for these characteristics and endeavor to bring out the best in each person and create an environment to allow each person to shine.

The challenges for the leader include his or her ability to 1) compose a heterogeneous team by excellent hiring in the first place; 2) make each person aware of the vision of the practice; and 3) maintain a culture where a team becomes emotionally competent.

Our work and training on Emotional Intelligence suggests that, even though individuals in a group can have high levels of “EI”characteristics - self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills - this does not necessarily make for an emotionally intelligent group. A group, like any social group, takes on its own character. Team emotional intelligence is more complicated than individual “EI”. The multiplier of complexity is the number of team members in the group!

Study after study has shown that teams are more creative, productive, and self-directed when they can achieve high levels of participation, cooperation, and collaboration among members. But this isn’t easy. The work of Daniel Goleman in his definitive book Emotional Intelligence suggests that three basic conditions need to be present before such behaviors can occur:
• Mutual trust among members,
• A sense of group identity (a feeling among members that they belong to a unique and worthwhile group),
• A sense of group efficacy (the belief that the team can perform well and that group members are more effective working together than apart).

Any and all of the above can only occur through communication at a high level. Team meetings are an essential ingredient for training and development as are individual meetings with team members to assure each person feels they are contributing effectively to the group. Effective verbal skills in confronting behaviors contrary to the vision of the practice or to the group culture are essential for all team members. Many teams make conscious efforts to build team spirit. Team-building outings, whether purely social or with more purposeful challenges being undertaken, are often useful for building this sense of collective Emotional Intelligence and fostering an affirmative environment – even encouraging proactive problem solving – thus the self-directed team.

We encourage our clients to be students of “EI” and to aspire to an environment where the team is in pursuit of their collective group “EI” being at the highest level possible. We encourage our teams this year to attend our 2018 Pride Team Summit in various locations around the country where teams will be breaking into job descriptions groups and competing in a Food Truck Challenge!!! The theme will be to celebrate the talent and expertise found within our teams when it comes to best practice models in their job descriptions and systems, as well as abilities to communicate effectively as high functioning collaborators. Check our website: for information on this Alumni team building event. This is a great way to get to your highest level of group Emotional Intelligence and a self-direction!

Originally posted on Facebook: March 6, 2018

Don’t Let a Team Member’s Resistance Define the Entire Person

Last week I had the pleasure of leading one of my favorite Pride Leadership Courses, The Motivating Leader. It is the second workshop in a series of four held at Pride Institute for Master Track clients. I love this course because it has lots of psychology, motivation and coaching, along with some very important formal motivational tools such as the Pride Compensation Model and Growth Conferences.

Our Tuesday Tip for this week arose during the “Change Resistance” portion of our session. Several dentists attending came from practices with 20-35 team members which offered a rich well of examples of change resistance! So much fun!! In recounting the change resistance challenge presented by one team member, a very intuitive and thoughtful dentist couldn’t help being extremely preoccupied with the fact that an employee could be so very resistant to the meaningful change the doctors were trying to implement. Our Tuesday Tip today is “Don’t Let a Team Member’s Resistance Define the Entire Person.”

We see this type of response routinely. The doctor is frustrated and experiences an employee’s behavior as obstructionist and uncooperative. Understandable, but how productive is this disposition? Not very. Some basic assumptions and approaches can make a big difference here. First get curious. Why would a person act against their own self interest and refuse to march in the direction you have led the team? Now investigate or ask! It is usually due to some combination of anxiety, unfamiliarity, confusion, and maybe…. just maybe, you haven’t been clear about what you want, why you want it, and how the team is equipped to get there. Lots of stuff, I know. And to elaborate appropriately, attend the course! But for our purposes, be honest with your team about what you are observing and be open to their responses. If that can be achieved, you will have a path forward. For some, it’s baby steps. But baby steps will yield to more engaged change as you foster trust in your team. It requires patience, but that’s better than taking gripes home to your loved ones every night, right? As we teach in the course, change is a predictable process, with a predictable arc. Almost every “resistant” team member can be guided through this process. Each has her or his own mix of hopes, fears and gifts that will affect the end result. We are always here to help!!

Originally posted on Facebook: February 27, 2018

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