Doctors and practice owners crave being a great leader, and so many of them focus on building consensus among the team, mistakenly thinking it’s the key to leadership. It sounds shocking to say it, but consensus is horrible. When everyone agrees on something quickly, it just becomes an attempt to please everyone, and that’s not leadership. What you want instead is what Patrick Lencioni calls productive conflict, and that only comes about when the leadership is aligned and can convey a consistent message to the entire organization. Like Kirk says, “If there’s a crack in daylight between the leaders, it blinds everyone else.” That misalignment sends mixed messages that makes the team lose faith in the vision and mission of the practice, as well as lose trust in you as the leader.
Consensus is dangerous and should never be your goal, so focus instead on getting aligned around these three areas:
Step one is agreeing on what you do as an organization and why you do it, because this is your blueprint, and you can’t function effectively without it. Just imagine trying to build a house without a blueprint—it would be disastrous! Before you bring this vision to your team, get your leadership team aligned around:
- What are your core values?
- Where are you going and what do you want the practice to look like in the future?
- Why do you come to work every day?
Remember, sharing your vision is not a one-time event—it’s a continuous effort to keep your team inspired, informed, and aligned with the practice’s goals.
- Communication, Vulnerability-Based Trust, and Accountability
When you’re aligned, it promotes clear and open communication among leaders, ensuring the sharing of important information and that problems are addressed promptly. This open and honest communication lets you trust one another enough to be vulnerable and admit when you need help, when you’re wrong, or when you disagree with a fellow leader. You can say what’s on your mind and know you’re going to be okay afterwards, and it’s this trust that is the foundation of effective leadership.
By trusting one another, you’re able to collaborate and work more effectively as a team by ensuring accountability. What we at ACT like to use is a Function Accountability Chart, which answers the question “Who does what?” by clearly outlining each person’s roles and responsibilities.
When your leadership team is aligned and everyone is working toward the same goals, you’re going to be much more likely to execute your strategic initiatives successfully. Leaders have a shared responsibility for these goals and outcomes, so it’s crucial you get aligned around them. The best way to do this is to download our free Outcomes, Goals, & Targets Tool! If you get aligned around your goals and start picturing yourself achieving them, then your brain will start to find ways to get you the results you want.
Remember, consensus is quick and easy, but ultimately unhealthy. Alignment takes time, but when the leaders are on the same page, they create aligned teams; when the team and the leaders work toward the same goal, they will do great things!
You don’t have to do this alone—reach out to our fantastic team of coaches and let us use our experience to help you build a Better Practice and a Better Life! To go a step further, take advantage of this Golden Ticket opportunity and join us for free at one of our quarterly To The Top Study Club meetings and learn how to confront and overcome the challenges you’ll face.
We know how important it is for the leaders to be aligned, so what happens when they’re out of alignment? Courtney Dalton has the answer to that question, so stay tuned for next time!
Adriana Booth is a Lead Practice Coach at ACT Dental