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Monday, July 30, 2012

How does your team measure up?

Survival of the fittest

By: David Milligan Salt DPM Consultant
Part 1 of 3 
 I have always enjoyed watching sports.  As a youngster I started watching The Wide World of Sports.  It was the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat that kept me engaged.   My grandmother and I would trade off.  If I watched Laurence Whelk with her, then she would watch The Wide World of Sports with me.  I remember watching one Sunday when a ski jumper slipped and fell just before the end of the 90 meter hill.  Fortunately he didn’t die.   He did however suffer a major concussion.  On any given Sunday he could see himself on the opening of the show crashing  over and over, and right after his crash the announcer word say “ and the agony of defeat”.   It didn’t seem fair he had worked so hard for his team and this is how he is remembered.   The sad fact is it happens in our dental offices as well.   If we make a mistake, patients talk about it over and over.
 Whether football or dental, high functioning teams must all be fit enough to meet expectations or the entire team suffers.  In 1987 I had the opportunity of meeting a retired 33 year old pro football player.  This guy was healthy and in remarkable shape, ran 5 miles a day and trained as if he were still playing football.   So why wasn’t he?   After playing ball in a small collage and not being recognized for his talents, his only hope was to be given the opportunity to try out for the pros.  That chance finally came with the Chicago Bears.   In 2 of the 8 years he played, he led the team in interceptions.  In the off season before the beginning of his 8th year, while recovering from a knee sprain, he met his new Head Coach Mike Ditka.  One week later he was traded to the Buffalo Bills where he sat out most of the season.   One year later at the ripe old age of 33, he retired.   Mike Ditka took the bears to the super bowl that year because he made sure every player on his team was highly trained and capable.
In the two stories, both athletes were ready to sacrifice their bodies for the team and eventually both did.   In every organization at any given moment, everyone must be ready to sacrifice for the team. Thank goodness when we talk about sacrificing for the team in Dentistry we are talking about covering for someone who is sick or maybe working late or stepping away from our egos and asking for help.  What does it take to be a team player? As a leader your team must know what your expectations are.  In the current environment, if your team is not a high functioning, talented group, you may not survive.   In Price Pritchett’s book, The Team Members Hand Book for Team Work he talks about what it takes to have a great team.  Here are a few of the points from the book.

Article originally published by: Tri-County Dental Society
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