The Millionaire Dentist Podcast

Episode 30: Leading your Team on a Pursuit of Excellence with Brian Kavicky

Listen to "Episode 30: Leading your Team on a Pursuit of Excellence with Brian Kavicky" on Spreaker.

Podcast Direct Download

On today’s episode of The Millionaire Dentist podcast, SVP and part owner of Lushin & Associates Brian Kavicky joins us to discuss leadership. Brian and Casey discuss conflict resolution in a dental office and how to select the right personnel.

Watch on Youtube:

 

Subscribe:

Itunes.png            Andoid Icon.png

Podcast Transcription:

Announcer:

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Millionaire Dentist Podcast brought to you by Four Quadrants Advisory. On this podcast, we break down the world of dentistry finances and business practices to help you become the millionaire dentist you deserve to be. Please be advised we do speak with an honest tongue and may not be safe for work.

Casey Heirs:

Welcome. This is Casey Heirs, and we have a special guest with us on today's episode. Brian Kavicky is a senior vice president and part owner of Lushin and Associates, which is full of dynamic type-A personalities. Brian and his team work with CEOs to create more effective employees and a winning culture for companies around the country. I asked Brian to join us today because one of the top two stressors practice owners share with me is typically around their staff and their team, leading the team, having a winning culture, the psychology of it. Brian has great experience with all of these things. Brian, thank you for joining us today. And are you ready to dive in?

Brian Kavicky:

I'm ready.

Casey Heirs:

Excellent. So here's the setup. Dentists and specialists are high achievers and they take great pride in their clinical skills. They graduate dental school and some go on to a residency program. They may be an associate for a handful of years before purchasing a practice. Everything is on track and then boom, they get this bonus job and responsibility of a payroll and running a business. Leading a team and creating a culture of mutual respect and excellence is quite challenging, not to mention practice owners are not trained in owning a business or leading a team, but they are expected to be great at all of it and then provide great dentistry on top of that. Many struggle with this.

Brian Kavicky:

Leaders typically have four roles in the way that they lead and manage. Their first role is recruiting the right people, and by recruiting the right people in the right seats for the positions I need to operate my practice. Second is the supervisory role. I'm making sure that my people are accountable and doing what they're supposed to be doing. The third is a coaching role, and coaching is how do I bring out the best in my people? And then the last is the training role where they're training, this is how I want you to do things, this is the methods, this is the procedures, this is how we work. So the coaching role of all those things is the most important. It is how do I make my people better? How do I have them do better in their roles than how they came to me?

Brian Kavicky:

You can't open up the best in people without having a relationship with them. So relationship is key to having those very personal connections to say, I see in you more than you see in yourself, I'm going to push you. I'm going to develop you. I'm going to challenge you. That is where the relationship is necessary. The supervisor, you don't need it. Did you do what you're supposed to do or not? And let's talk about how we get better. The training, not really, but that coaching and being able to be close to coach and motivate is where that's critical.

Casey Heirs:

You touched on something really important. He talked about recruiting and finding good people. We hear from practice owners around the country, it can be challenging to find the right people to find good people. This is something you deal with on a daily and weekly basis. What are some tips you can give practice owners in terms of recruiting and pinpointing good people? What is enough due diligence, or some things that a practice owner can do to at least be a little more sure that yes, they have the right person instead of four months in, they realized they may have made a mistake, and this hire is almost a cancer within the practice and they have a whole new set of problems.

Brian Kavicky:

So as a general rule, people hire other people too quickly. They typically look at their abilities, their background, their skillsets, and they say, okay, you can do the job and then they hire them. But if you, as a practice owner, look back at all the people you ended up firing or who gave you problems, they were all cultural misfits, which means you learn things about them personally, that didn't fit the culture that you were building. So what I encourage people to do is take a little bit longer to hire, spend a lot more time on cultural things, maybe take that person out and put them in a dinner setting or a social setting, spend time learning about them as a person, how they handle situations personally, what they do personally, without crossing the lines of the things you can't ask in an interview.

Brian Kavicky:

Well, we can have a good social conversation where I can get to know you as a person by going out to lunch together, having a dinner with you and your wife and them and their spouse and just put them in a setting that's not workplace so that you can find out any of those red flags, if they're there, very quickly, but really it's about slowing down the hire and making sure we're all set on cultural fit. The other way is to make sure your people or your key people that are really good at culture are also interviewing as part of your process, so they're looking for those things that are misfit as well.

Casey Heirs:

Multiple eyes on a potential hire. And you hit on something that I really liked, maybe going to dinner with their spouse, seeing the way they treat their spouse, and potentially, if you're at a restaurant, how they would treat staff at a restaurant. That can give someone a lot of insight.

Brian Kavicky:

Absolutely. Yeah. How they interact with their spouse, or actually how their spouse even interacts with you as the practice owner, and the questions they ask and what they want to know. Those types of things really cue you into, this is what I'm going to have to be dealing with down the road.

Casey Heirs:

Let's transition into office conflict. I know this is at the top of a lot of practice owners lists when there's conflict in the office and it can be highly emotional. How should a practice owner deal with office conflict in a dental practice, given their personality profile backgrounds of a dentist. They're not necessarily trained in psychology or leading teams. They're trained in dentistry, but boy, the office conflict is something they have to deal with quite a bit.

Brian Kavicky:

When I get that question and I hear the word conflict, it's actually two separate things. One side of it is absolutely conflict. The other side is drama. For the conflict perspective, the issue that causes most conflict is that the dentist or the person in charge is not dealing with the thing that's causing the conflict quick enough. They're given a free pass two or three times, they notice it but don't address it, and they put it on the back burner and then it builds up and builds up and builds up and becomes explosive. So in those cases, we say as soon as you see the smoke, deal with it as if it's fire and make sure that you're talking about it, you're addressing it because the emotion hasn't built up then, the frustration hasn't built up and you'll have a much more civil conversation.

Brian Kavicky:

A lot of times though, that conflict shows up as drama and drama comes from triangulation, where two people are talking about a problem and they're triangulating. One's saying one thing or asking somebody else to deal with the conflict, or going about it where there's multiple people involved. What you have to do to quash that is, anybody with the problem must deal with that problem themselves. They can't work through other people. So what that means is, let's say your receptionist has an issue with you, and she goes and tells your wife that she's got an issue with you. You've got to kill that. You've got to say to your wife, "Hey, if she's got a problem, you need to shut her down. She needs to come to me for that problem so I can address her." Don't let people triangulate you. That's what stops the drama.

Casey Heirs:

What's your stance on, if a practice owner looks at their team and they have one or two employees that are bringing everyone else down, and it's clear to them that they are hurting culture, how should a practice owner go about that? I know sometimes they say subtraction, addition by subtraction, but touch on that for a little bit.

Brian Kavicky:

Eventually, if the people won't fix themselves, you do need to get rid of them, but you also need to be fair that they know how to fix themselves first. So when you're counseling somebody on the problem, you counsel them on the behavior that causes the problem and you don't make it about them. So I can't walk up to someone and say, "You're bringing everybody down." That's a personal attack. What I can say is, "When you talk negatively about the environment and how you feel here, it brings us down." So it's focused on the behavior so that they learn to correct their behavior, as opposed to, it's a personal attack.

Casey Heirs:

Corporate executives, they get a diverse range of training as they're leading companies and leading teams and things of that nature. Practice owners, dentists, and specialists, they are really good at getting clinical continuing education. They are honing their skills, they're learning new procedures. That can be really important for a practice owner, but for our listeners who want to improve in this area of leadership, leading a team, which ultimately helps culture and excellence and all those things, where would you direct them, beyond this podcast, where would you direct the practice owner or a dentist who says, "I need to get better in this area. Where do I go? What should I do?"

Brian Kavicky:

I would say, number one would be get into the TED Talks. You just go to the TED Talks website, talk about leadership or management. The best speakers on those are typically speaking in the right ways. Also, bestsellers, bestsellers' books. The two top ones right now about leadership and how to be a great leader and manager are Simon Sinek and Brene Brown. Just reading about their perspectives and how they think and how to adjust. Those types of speakers and authors are very good at explaining, "I know this is how you think as the expert in your field, but here's how it affects your people, and this is what you need to do different." They're not only good at explaining the problem, but they also give a lot of guidance about fixing the solution. It's usually pretty simple little things. It's not like you need to go take a class or you need to go take a course to do that. It's really small, tiny little things. Most of the bestsellers or all time bestseller books will get you there, if you'll spend the weekend just reading about it.

Casey Heirs:

Well, most innocent specialists, they are very, very disciplined and they like to learn. I think that falls right in line with that. Brian, I want to end with this. If there's one or two things you would tell our listener on leadership, on leading a team, let's say a practice owner, they're in a frustrating spot where they don't feel like they're leading well, they've got some office gossip and drama and things of that nature. I hear this more often than not, where the practice owner is frustrated around that and they're not sure how to handle it. They don't want to lash out, but it's slowly building within them. So I wanted you to just maybe share your thoughts on that.

Brian Kavicky:

Most of the time that a leader is frustrated with their people, they don't take responsibility for the fact that they're the ones that are responsible for everything, including creating an environment where this stuff has happened. So the first thing I'd advise people, is to just sit down by yourself and say, "Okay, this is my practice. I'm responsible for everything that happens here. What is my role in why we are where we're at?" And really examine what they're doing and what their responsibility is, what their behaviors are. Most of the time, just going through that exercise, you realize and know very well what's causing it.

Brian Kavicky:

Once you know what's causing it, then do the research, whether it's hiring a consultant that knows how to solve those problems. There are plenty of workplace advisory or conflict advisory consultants out there. Go read the leadership books, Google the problem you're having, any of those things. But really, first it's acknowledging you're the one that's probably causing it. You're the one playing a role. You probably know what that role has been and really focusing on fixing it that way.

Casey Heirs:

That's good feedback. I appreciate that. That sometimes can be the hardest step, right? The self-awareness from a high achiever, a practice owner, having self awareness that maybe the first step is inward, and then the whole thing can be more effective. Brian, I really appreciate you joining us today on our podcast and be well.

Brian Kavicky:

Thank you.

Announcer:

That's all the time we have today. Thank you to our guests for their insight and for sharing some really great information. And thank you to you, the listener, for tuning in. The Millionaire Dentist Podcast is brought to you by Four Quadrants Advisory. To see if they might be a good fit for you and your practice, go on over to fourquadrantsadvisory.com and see why year after year, they retain over 95% of their clients. Thank you again for joining us and we'll see you next time.