Misalignment is a fact of life—it’s something that happens as time goes on, but if we don’t call it out and address it head-on, it becomes impossible to move past it. Then it becomes an even bigger problem, because when your leadership team is out of alignment, the entire practice is going to reflect it. Alignment gets trickier with leadership teams of more than two people, but remember what Kirk says: “You don’t have to agree, but you have to align.”
Alignment starts at the top, so when your leadership team is off-track, focus on these five strategies to keep moving in the right direction:
- Consistent Leadership Meetings
Right out of the gate, you have to be meeting as a leadership team. Without that time set aside, all your problems will start stacking up and keep you running around trying to put out fires.
Weekly meetings give you the opportunity to call out when another leader isn’t doing what’s been agreed to, and you can offer a solution before it becomes a bigger problem. It’s your time to come together and hold each other accountable, and that starts with having a consistent meeting agenda to keep everyone on track. It makes meetings predictable and productive, so you won’t feel like you’re wasting time. It’s hard sometimes to take the time out of your schedule for a meeting, but it’s a matter of perspective—you can either make time for meetings, or you can make time for problems.
- Establish Leadership Agreements
Once you’re having regular weekly leadership meetings, you need to create agreements for leaders. These are your rules for engagement between the leaders, the standards to which you hold one another accountable, and they’re absolutely essential. Whether it’s keeping up with correspondence, ensuring timely hygiene checks, or setting rules for how to handle disagreements, these agreements will keep your leadership team glued together. If you lean into them and into holding one another accountable, it creates trust that your team sees and will emulate.
- Go Back to Your Core Values
It’s one of Kirk’s favorite sayings, and it’s the absolute truth: “All roads lead back to core values.” They’re everything, and you’re going to use them for every decision you make, especially the hard ones. If there’s misalignment around the value system, it’s never going to work, so you may need to have a different kind of conversation. It doesn’t mean someone is a bad person—they’re just not the right fit for the practice.
This step revolves around sitting down together and figuring out your practice vision by looking at your:
- Outcomes. These are the “feelings” that you’re looking for. For example, the challenges you hope to resolve, what you want more or less of, or what you want your life to look like in the future.
- Goals. These are the tangible and measurable steps you take to move closer to your outcomes.
- Targets. These are your KPIs, the data that tells you if you’re on track toward your goals and outcomes.
It’s crucial that this happens together, because you’re members of a leadership team together, and to make it easier, we’ve created an OGT Tool you can use as a roadmap over and over again.
- Make a Plan & Move Forward
Once you’ve established your weekly meetings, discussed your agreements, ingrained your core values, and worked out your OGT component, you have to protect this plan by holding each other accountable. This is where those weekly meetings become so important, because they’re your opportunity to talk about the bumps that come up and how you’re going to get over them. You’ve got this great plan, so now you have to keep going and moving forward!
As goes the leadership, so goes the team—if you’re out of alignment at the top, it’s going to permeate throughout the practice. Talk to one another, call out problems when you see them, hold each other accountable, and always keep your core values nearby. If you take these steps and present a united front to your team, great things will happen. You’re not alone in this struggle, either—join us at our quarterly To The Top Study Club meetings with this Golden Ticket offer! And as always, reach out to our fantastic team and let us help you build the Better Practice and Better Life you’ve been dreaming of!
As the leader, there will come a time when you have to put your foot down. If you’re conflict-averse, this can be a tough conversation, but stay tuned for next time and learn from Robyn Theisen how to say “No!”
Courtney Dalton is a Lead Practice Coach at ACT Dental