Team Meeting: Chronic Periodontitis Treatment Approach

team meeting

Respect
Permission
Responsibility

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to a dental team of nine people in their office at a lunch hour.

Around the table sat the dentist/owner, a new dental associate, a dental hygienist, front office personnel and dental assistants.

The dentist/owner wanted to know my opinion about treating periodontal disease and I am sure anticipated that I would talk about the disease. I did in a sense, but not in the normal way. Instead I wanted the team to see the problem as one involving all of them, not just a few, and that the best treatment for patients is a team effort requiring a great deal of cooperation and communication among all the team members.

Years ago I remember my brother telling me about a neuroanatomy lecture he attended in his freshman year of medical school. In the hour allotted, the professor went through the material three times. His purpose in doing so was to help the students learn the most important material in the lecture through repetition. As he went back through it each time, he elaborated a little more in order to drive home some useful details that would help lock in the underlying information. That was the pattern I decided to use for this talk, so I put it in three rounds, like a prize fight. I explained to them, as they were eating, that this is what I was going to do and that they would hear the most important ideas I had to tell them three times. At the end of the presentation I provided them with a copy of the material so they could read it and hopefully discuss it among themselves. If they follow through and do this, I am sure they will find the information of value.

Please feel free to use this material yourself at your next team meeting.

Round 1

We give respect, ask permission and assume and assign responsibility in order to earn trust.

We maintain trust by telling the truth in the gentlest terms possible.

Here is the biggest truth about periodontal disease:  Unless the patients become their own primary therapists everything we do will fail.

Round 2

We create an atmosphere of

Respect
Permission
Responsibility

By operating this way with one another.

Mutual Respect …

which is based, not on competence, but on essence or being people.
To respect others is a decision and it involves work. It is hardest when we have been wounded.

People who are wounded behave differently from people who have learned how to recover.
The best recovery is in community. This is why family and friends are important.

We work to be at work to serve patients and to support one another in the process.

Permission

A demonstration of both respect and wisdom is to ask permission before saying or doing anything that might violate a person’s standing as a person of value.

Forcing our will on others, whether knowingly or unknowingly results in a shutdown of feelings of peace, security and good will in the other.

Once permission has been obtained by setting the basic principles of respect, I call this achieving rapport. In other words we should come to a place where the patients feels completely comfortable and willing to cooperate.

Good will that follows respect and obtaining permission is not transferable to much of a degree. In other words all of us know places where some people are nice and others are not. They may not be mean, they could simply be detached. In these types of  places, isn’t it difficult to operate with complete trust?

Responsibility

We assume or assign responsibilities.

We never share the same responsibility because to do so inactivates accountability.

Without accountability teamwork fails.

When teamwork fails trust is damaged.

Recall from Round 1 that we give respect, ask permission and assume and assign responsibility in order to earn trust.

We maintain trust by telling the truth in the gentlest terms possible.

Here is the biggest truth about periodontal disease: Unless the patients become their own primary therapists everything we do will fail…

…and unless we as a team equip patients to assume this role patients will not know what to do.

Round 3

Respect
Permission
Responsibility

We give respect, ask permission and assume and assign responsibility in order to earn trust.

By now I hope you are picking up a pattern.
Core principles of an organization, in order to be operational, must be incorporated into the speech patterns of the members of the team.

We should repeat often what we most believe, if we want what we most believe to come out in who we are.

“I believe that respecting others is a primary principle in which I voluntarily choose to cooperate. I also believe I show highest respect for myself when I operate well even under stress by not breaking my word to strive to respect others. When I fail to show respect I understand an apology is in order.”

“I will seek to ask permission before I give advice or instruction and before I perform a task that violates someone else’s personal space. I understand this to be a way of showing others respect.”

“I will assume the responsibilities I have been assigned as part of employment. When something is unclear as to my duties I will respectfully request clarification. If I am unable to assume a responsibility for lack of training or because it violates the authority I have within my job description I will speak up to help those in authority make appropriate assignments.
I will also assume my responsibility to effectively assign duties to those I have supervisory responsibility for and I will fulfill my responsibility to hold them accountable and help them as necessary.”

The purpose of accountability is to assure tasks are accomplished and to lend support when tasks have become too great a burden. It is not to blame or punish but to make sure problems that could affect the team, patient care or business viability are not buried.

We maintain trust by telling the truth in the gentlest terms possible.

Here is the biggest truth about periodontal disease: Unless the patients become their own primary therapists everything we do will fail.

Recommended discussion for your team later:

So what are we as a team going to do to create or maintain the office atmosphere described and by doing so, improve the quality of our care of patients with chronic 

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