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Dentists Who Invest

Podcast Episode

Full Transcript

Dr James: 

Hey team, what is up? Hope everybody as well, wherever in the world that you are. We are back with Justin Leigh Returning Face, familiar Face and Dennis Moonfest podcast. We’re here today to talk about how we can stop micromanaging and start micromanaging, or another word for that is leading, I guess, isn’t it?

Justin: 

Absolutely, James. Great to see you.

Dr James: 

Thanks for having me back on, appreciate it Anytime. My friend, how have you been since your last book?

Justin: 

Really good thanks. Yes, really good, and I was with you and your community last.

Dr James: 

I think it was Wednesday night as well, so yeah, we’ve been seeing quite a bit of each other. Thank you Gets you night knowledge, as per usual. Justin, what’s going on in your life these days?

Justin: 

So we’re, at the time of recording this start of August, I’m on my two and a half week countdown to my holiday. So we’re going on a cruise for a couple of weeks Norwegian Fjords for the last two weeks in August. So, yeah, looking forward to that. So right now, you know how your time compresses, just before you go and hold there and try to ram all the things, all my commitments, all the different client conversations, program building, all that stuff in the run-ups of my holiday which I can’t wait for.

Dr James: 

Got you, so you’re being overproductive right now.

Justin: 

in other words, I’m trying my damnedest to be overproductive.

Dr James: 

That’s the theory. I’m being a leader, right, which is exactly what we’re here to talk about today, right, yeah, absolutely yeah, absolutely Cool, cool, cool, cool. So when we say micromanaging and how we should do less of that, you know where I think that starts. It starts from being aware that we are micromanaging, right, which not everybody is. Because here’s the thing, everybody on this earth, every single one of us we’re just operating out of our own sphere of consciousness, right, and nobody intentionally wakes up in the morning and thinks, hey, I’m going to micromanage everybody today and annoy the hell out of them, right? No, they do that, some people do that, right? So I guess what I’m asking is how do we realise and understand that we are micromanaging?

Justin: 

Yeah, great question. I always really like your perspective on these things, james, you’re so right. Come back to mindset and I remember my first leadership assignment. So the first time I became a business leader, a sales leader, it was at the time what I recognised. It took me a little bit of time to recognise this, but what makes you successful in your functional role whether you’re a dentist, great clinician, whether you’re ex-nurse, become practice manager, whether you’re a good salesperson, become sales leader. Business person, become business manager, whatever it is right what it takes to become really good at what you do so that you get recognised, is completely different from what it takes to become a good leader. And it took me some time to figure that out. Because just doing activities, just performing, pushing, getting tasks done, that’s one part of management. Right, you still got jobs to do, you still have things that you’ve got to do to run a practice, but the difference between that and being a leader is what it takes to inspire and motivate performance and that level of great activity from other people, and they are two completely different skills. And when I first started in leadership, I was a micromanager because I thought that’s how you did it and it’s not only an awareness shift, but it’s then recognising right, it’s not that, it’s something else. And what is that something else? And that’s, for me, the big awareness that has to happen in people’s minds.

Dr James: 

That’s cool, that’s awesome, and you know what? We can get into red flags on that in a moment. Right, yeah, there’s red flags from the perspective of others, but I guess what I mean is red flags that we can look for in our own character so we can begin detecting it right. But I just wanted to say one quick thing, the reason why I voyaged on this path of who finds my life, and what I mean by that is I kind of became conscious that I was micromanaging people within my business. Yeah, yeah, the reason why I feel that came about was I looked back on the energy that got me from zero to 10, right, as in the energy that got me off the ground, and it’s the doer energy. Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, right, yeah. Yeah, we’re in build mode. You’ve got to build the thing right. Building the thing looks like this doing a lot of stuff, assembling the machine, throwing all the calls together, right. But what I didn’t realize for a little while kind of stuttered around the 10 level for a while was that the energy to go from 10 to 100 is actually different, and you need to unlearn some of the things that got you to 10, right, One of them being feeling like you have to control every aspect of what’s going on. You have to let go, right.

Justin: 

Yeah, yeah, and that’s about understanding the result you want from whatever it is that you’re working on, and not the how to do it, not the how to get the result. Because very often, as long as you’re clear on what needs to happen, then you can work with somebody else to help them to do that activity right, whatever it is, whether it’s in the practice, whether it’s managing the team, whether it’s setting objectives, whatever it is in a practice, right. But if you’re constantly trying to pick up those activities and do them yourself, you’ll eventually run out of time and you’ll feel scrambled and confused and all of a sudden you start to think why isn’t anyone else picking this up around me? And actually that transition from okay, I know what needs to be done and I know the outcome, I want the result of that action to then saying, actually, all I need to focus on is somebody’s got to do that, somebody’s got to get that outcome. And having those conversation with people you can explain. This is how I’ve done it in the past. But actually giving people the freedom to be able to pick that up, do it in their own way, and then you become the leader or the coach that just helps them keep on track and deliver it that all of a sudden, for the first couple of times you go through that process. It’s an investment of time. But third, fourth, fifth time, all of a sudden, you step back. Those activities start being completed without your involvement, and that’s the ultimate route to freedom. But you have to go through that first stage of being able to delegate it and hand it off, and be clear on what it is that needs to be achieved and not necessarily how it needs to be done.

Dr James: 

Love that great book called who, not how.

Justin: 

Dan Sullivan, yeah.

Dr James: 

Oh yeah, that’s the one that’s the one. So, just for context, for anybody who’s listening, if you’ve yet to read this book, it’s the ultimate book on understanding how you can get better outcomes in your life without necessarily more effort. And it starts with this instead of thinking to yourself, how am I gonna do this, why not think to yourself who can help me do this? Who can get me there? Right? And oftentimes I’ve started playing that so much in my life, right? And oftentimes, and even just letting go that I have to figure out how to do something straight away. Right, and allowing that thing to sit in my to-do list until I talk to someone on our allotted schedule meeting every week about what that is right. Then you get this. You’re left to be a little patient, but effort goes way down and result actually goes up because they’ll just tell you the solution like that and a better solution, right. And it all starts with saying, instead of saying, how am I gonna do this? The next time you hear yourself say that or think that, say who? Right? And I don’t wanna huggle the line because I wanna hear your wisdom today, but it just reminded me of that book, right? And here’s the kicker about that book, right? Dan Sullivan’s name is on the front. But Dan Sullivan didn’t even write the book. He got another who to write the book.

Justin: 

Been doing harder what’s he did.

Dr James: 

Which is the kicker about it, right yeah? And he’s like, hey, I literally embodied this philosophy.

Justin: 

But anyway listen.

Dr James: 

Let’s bring it back to this podcast. So you know what I mentioned red flags just a minute ago. Yeah, as in red flags, that we might be not delegating as much as we should or micromanaging. What would you say? Those red flags are Cause I think I have got a big one.

Justin: 

I think the big one is time. If you find yourself totally overwhelmed, like doing things that you think, if you’re doing things in the practice, they’re thinking why am I doing this? That’s a massive red flag. It’s because you haven’t got to delegating it or trusting somebody to pick it up for you, or being clear that you want somebody else to do it. That’s the big thing. You haven’t got enough time and you’re doing tasks and when you’re doing them you’re thinking why am I doing this? When you start to think about where your time is best spent, it very often is on those high value activities and if you’re finding yourself in the weeds doing stuff that is day to day, routine tasks, you’ve got that’s the signal to say you need to make a change.

Dr James: 

That was exactly the one that I was going to say. So you flipped and nailed it. Is there any others on top of that? Or would you say time is the biggie?

Justin: 

I think time is the big thing. The other thing is, if you’re here’s the other thing. If you’re constantly having to tell people what to do, if you find yourself continually giving the same instructions over and over again on a daily, weekly, monthly basis where you think I thought I was being clear and I’m having to ask this person again and again and again. What’s happening is you are you’re creating a culture of dependency where when people come to you with questions, you’re giving them very direct answers and they’re following your instruction and then it’s almost like the goldfish syndrome hits. The next time that problem comes up again, they come back for the same advice or help. And that’s a problem of you know micro management, because when you have that as part of your you know approach to managing your teams, they get conditioned that every time something comes up, they have to come to you to ask for it. And there’s a way to break that, which we’ll talk about in a moment, but that is a huge red flag. So you’ve got the time, the overwhelm, and then you’ve got you’re constantly having to give people too much direction, and it’s frustrating.

Dr James: 

Love that, I think you know what. Just to go back to the time one, you know, the first year, two years for me, I almost felt weird if I wasn’t busy all day long. Right, and that was cause subconsciously. That’s just how I thought things were.

Justin: 

Yeah.

Dr James: 

I thought that that’s what I had to go through, right, and in the moment I started bringing other people in to help me to do certain things right, then that wasn’t the case anymore. But I never would have understood that unless I experienced that, and I guess what I’m saying is that lots of people will still be in that zone or yet go through that right, and you know what? It’s a huge revelation. It really is.

Justin: 

You know, I think, james, for dentists it’s even more acute, right, Because you know the majority of dentists I know. Not only do they work in the clinical practice, you know they’re still treating patients, they are they might be a principle of the practice. So they have the other responsibilities and duties that come along with being the principal. They then will do all their CPD outside of that time. So there’ll be evening webinars, workshops, there’ll be attending weekend courses, and they work harder than, I think, most professions. I think dentists work harder than most professions and there is a point at which you become conditioned to that. It’s almost like you, it’s an expectation in your own mind that you’re always gonna be working nine to five, four or five days a week. On the time when you’ve got off, you’ll be doing your CPD, connecting with other people, going to dental events, going to shows, all that stuff. And before you know it, you know you’re working 12, 14 hours a day, six days a week, and it just becomes the cycle. And until you break that cycle, it’s just. It’s a bit like there’s a you know Tom Billier, right? He says okay. So Tom Billier is really interesting. You’d be interested in some of the content he talks about. He says our mindset is like being a fish in water. The fish doesn’t realize it’s in water, right? We don’t even realize. We think and believe what we think. It’s the world around us. You know, we don’t question it, we just swim through life with that mindset and it really is. It takes a lot to challenge that Sometimes. Hopefully, you know, hopefully, this conversation today is a wake up call for some people that are thinking I don’t even realize that some of the red flags that we’ve now identified are red flags for them. So we really start to think about that in your practice. Think about, as a principal, are you, you know, over a long time, far too much going on doing lots of low value activities, having to be really prescriptive with your team? That isn’t something that has happened by accident. That’s happened because you’ve created that culture. So there’s a way to start to disrupt and change that culture, but it starts with your awareness that it needs to change.

Dr James: 

I love that. I love that so much. And, yeah, the reason why I specifically went there and talked about the red flags thing is because I remember thinking to myself this is just how it should be, until I saw the lights, sort of speak, and I guess I feel lucky, because that was maybe like a year and a bit for me. But lots of people spend their whole lives there. And here’s the thing we should mention Justin, right, some people actually like that, right, and if you like it, you can stay there, right. It’s only if you feel like you have to do it and you don’t like it that you need to change really. Or it wasn’t even that you need to change, it’s just understanding that you can change and then making a choice.

Justin: 

Yeah, you’re absolutely right, joan. It’s about being conscious of it, right, if you’re aware and you say, yeah, I’m aware, I’m like that, I’m gonna carry on anyway, fully boots, right. But actually there’s that conscious awareness where, when you wake up and you realize there’s another choice, it just gives you another option, gives you other options of working, different ways in which you could start to solve the same problems a bit more, with a bit more control, with a sense of greater control.

Dr James: 

You’re empowered, right, you’re empowered, which is cool. Yes, absolutely 100%. So in your career and experience coaching Dennis with this stuff, yeah, the very first thing is to show Dennis that there is another possibility. Right, I tell them to understand that. Right, and it’s the who, not how. Philosophy Now. It’s a flipping brilliant book, by the way, for anybody’s listening who hasn’t read that? It’s the who, not how. Philosophy now really helped me because I literally deconditioned myself to say who. I literally stopped saying it right, or every time I heard myself saying it right and there were still a few that slipped through, you know, but yeah, yeah, I’m human. I’m still working on it, right. But then I was like just replace it with who and you just get way more done. Life is about. Life is about outcomes. Effort and outcomes are only correlated to a degree, but not past a certain point yeah. But anyway, there’ll be lots of people listening to this and they’re like, okay, wow, I’ve seen the light and I understand that this can help me. What are the practical steps that associates and principals can employ within their life to be able to get their time back?

Justin: 

Yeah, so there are lots of things here. I think there’s an overarching principle and it’s a principle that I learned the hard way. So when I moved as I said from you know, at the time I was a salesperson in dentistry and I went to become a sales manager, and I was a micromanaging sales manager. I spent a lot of time. We worked with a lot of clients, a lot of dental clients. We were selling programs and solutions for them and because I’d been quite successful at it, I then had a team who I was just really close to micromanaging, without realizing it. I thought that’s how to get the results from them. And probably a year in, I was completely overwhelmed, like burnt out, just not really enjoying it. Everything I thought the position would be it wasn’t. I was constantly being asked by my team for advice and guidance and I created that right. Nobody had created that except me, but I thought I had a team that weren’t performing. And what happened? The big shift for me was that I went on quite an intensive coaching course. So I had a mentor the company I was working for who said to me you know, you’re in this position, justin, let’s talk about some of the changes you can make. And I went on this coaching program and the difference that made for me, because it got me to start questioning my approach and it got me to stop stop directing and, you know, pointing people towards solutions and instead create some space or pause. So if somebody started to come to me for Justin, how do I do this? Or I’ve got this problem with this customer, I’ve got this problem with this situation. I need some help, rather than jumping and say, okay, here’s what you need to do and just literally, you know, rattle off answers. I taught myself to stop, pause and just coach them so say, okay, so tell me a bit more about the situation. And they would tell me about the situation and that’s okay, so that’s the situation. Just pause for a moment, what’s the ideal outcome you want from this situation? And then stop. And for the first few times this took a bit of conditioning from me and for them, because they were so used to me just rattling off answers. But for me to change my approach, they were kind of like hold on a minute, what is he trying to trick me? Is he setting me up here? So you do have to nurture these relationships? So then I’d say you know. So, actually, what outcome are we looking for? What result do you want? What would satisfy the customer? What’s going to solve this problem? And then they’d say, well, I think it needs to be this. Okay, so it needs to be that. So, if that’s what you want to happen and I’ll talk you through the model I’m following in my mind at the moment Okay, so, what are your options? What can you do? What do you need to do to make that happen? So then they’d say, well, you know, I could talk this person or I could you know, we could offer them this or we could have this conversation, or we could you know. So then they come up with a number of options and it’s okay, that’s good, these are good options. What else? And they talk about it, that’s it. And once we got to a point where they, you know, come up with maybe three or four things they could do, then I would say, okay, that’s some really good options there. What do you think it’s going to be the most effective? What’s going to work best? And then that’s something that’s said. Well, I think, if I did this and then we did that, okay, so when do you think you need to do that and they’d say tell me. And I say, okay, so what else do you need to make this work? And normally when I ask that question they’d say I just need you to be okay with me doing it Right. And what you do, you’ll notice when I point it out. There are four stages through that coaching conversation. And the first stage is right, what is it you’re trying to achieve? The G is the goal. So you’re asking questions. You kind of say that, okay, they can give you the situation, the topic, what is the work? But then you say, okay, what outcome are you looking for? And then the next stage of the process is the kind of reality Okay, where are you now? What have you tried so far? What have you done? What’s worked, what hasn’t. So you go what do you want to happen? The goal, the reality is where are you now? And then the O is options. So you say, okay, what could you try? What else is an option for you? Who else could be involved? So it’s all the different options. And then the final one, the W, is the will. Okay, what will you do? What’s going to be most effective? How’s that going to work? And it spells out the mnemonic, the coaching process grow. So G is goal, r is reality, o is options, w is will. And that, as a coaching model, can be deployed in almost any situation with any team member, even patients, partners, peers, colleagues, and it’s a really simple mnemonic that you can go to, but it has to be question-led. So the big thing is polls. Create some space. Instead of jumping in and give people the answers, start to coach them. And coaching is a question-led approach to leadership where you just ask questions of your team and you follow a structure that allows you to then guide them and coach them through their own answers. And as you start to do that more and more, what I learned over the years and still my default approach with clients right, clients will come to me. We’ve got these, these challenges, situations in our practice. Before I offer any solutions, I’ll ask them those questions. I just take them through a question because one I need to understand, because otherwise I’m offering them solutions that won’t work. But I just take them through that, that grow model process so that they get really clear on what it is they’re trying to achieve where they are right now. Now for me, some of the options. They might say I need some help and support. Okay, what sort of help and support are you looking for? It could be a program, it could be a series of coaching sessions, it could be whatever it is, but the client, then, is the person that is determining what’s going to work for them, and sometimes that works. Sometimes they say, actually I need something else, which is absolutely fine. You just know it’s the best way to give people the answers they’re looking for and it comes from their own experience rather than me having to be too directive or prescriptive.

Dr James: 

I like that. And then the more you do, that is obviously the more that you encourage them to think for themselves.

Justin: 

I think as well.

Dr James: 

I think as well. And here’s something that I’ve noticed, you know, by observation or by proxy to these conversations, and you know I’ve been interested to hear what your thoughts are on this or whether or not you can confirm this from your experience. I think it’s got a lot to do with how we frame, or feedback to those people as well, right? So what do you mean by that? Right? If you think about it, yeah, if you frame your feedback like this, it’s like some. What will happen in lots of situations is and I’ve seen this happen all the time I’ve been on the wrong end of this before in practice that I’ve worked into You’ll have somebody who’s above you and it’ll never be oh, look at these 99 things you’ve done really well. Is this one thing that you could have done better or wasn’t so well? And it’s not even framed like that. It’s more like you’ve done this, but it should have been done like this Blah, blah, blah, right, yeah, yeah. Now, if you have that energy about you, right? What’s that? What’s that? What’s that? Quote from how to influence and influence people. Be lavish in your praise and abundant in your approbation, something like that, yeah, and that quote springs to mind because what most people will do is they’ll just give you criticism when, when, when that not not. I almost said when necessary, but it’s not. It’s never really necessary as it constructive feedback is sometimes necessary, but what I’m going with this is that basically, lots of people will focus on that, that 1% of things that isn’t so good, right, versus the 99% of things. Because here’s the thing, it takes time and mental effort to pick out the positive things and the people consistently Right. So where am I going with this Right? So let’s say you’re someone who gives feedback in that manner, right. What you’re way more and it’s a self-awareness thing what you’re way more likely to create than the other person, is this nervous energy where they almost want your approval Before they do anything. Right, which creates these situations where they’re constantly asking you what they should do. And it will be from place of avoidance of that negative stimuli, right? And if we give them more positive feedback and then, once we established that rapport or that happy mental state, then at that point we’re able to offer them the feedback in which they could improve, because it’s not negative. That’s actually good feedback as well, because it’s full Right, and I feel that it creates where that’s of those situations. However, it’s a massive self-awareness thing, because most people won’t even realize they’re doing that. What do you think to that?

Justin: 

I completely agree, james, completely agree. And there’s something about I don’t know whether it is British culture, but certainly I’ve noticed it in a lot of the you know the places I’ve worked and with the clients I work with that we’ve almost got this radar for things that are going wrong that we need to fix. You know, when you ask the average person how you’re doing it, they say not bad, right, not bad, not bad, why not? And you’re a big advocate for this Right, why not? I’m feeling great actually. Things are really good, things are going really well, right. We tend to defer to the kind of negative bias without even realizing it. So sometimes we can do that and we’re creating. I completely agree about the energy, because if people are constantly seeking your approval, they’re going to also be quite reticent to come up with new ideas, to make suggestions, for fear of that. You know, just being kind of told that what they’ve contributed isn’t quite enough and actually wish if we can start as leaders, to start picking out. Go actively looking to praise people, not to pick them up on their shortcomings. Go actively looking for praise. I really like the way you’ve, you know, complimented that patient. I really like the. You know the efficiency today. I really like the fact that everything’s prepared. I really like I noticed that you were proactive in this, starting to. You know what you focus on you get more of, and that’s the same with people and behaviors. So if you can start to really put your attention on praising your teams, on recognizing the small contributions that they make, you’ll notice that more of that starts to happen. But also this, this principle of switching from directing to coaching, you know, don’t be too directive, start to coach and build, you know, greater responsibility, greater competence in your team members by just giving them that space to think things through before you give them the answers. And you know, you know that I’m I’m an advocate for this stuff, james, so much so that I recently wrote a book and this book, literally book, is out in the last couple of weeks on Amazon. It’s called coaching leaders and it’s kind of documents, the process that I use with clients, but also the process I’ve deployed myself and trying to make that shift from being overly directive, from, you know, taking too much on as a manager, where you start to feel swamped and overwhelmed, and then start to look for those opportunities for coaching, for delegating, for elevating performance, for, you know, spotting where people are doing really great work and finding a mechanism to give them that positive feedback on a regular basis, and it honestly is so transformative for leaders that make that step it does it really separates them from just the run of the meal micromanaging.

Dr James: 

It’s. It’s really, really, really true. I feel the reason why more people don’t do it is because it’s effort in their mind, right, because it is that it’s mental energy to find things that are, that are they’re good and positive and then articulate it to someone else. But maybe people the reason why people don’t do it.

Justin: 

Yes, it is effort.

Dr James: 

But I feel like people don’t realize just how much positive benefit it can have on their business in so far as people actually get Recognize for the positive things as well as the negative things, and human beings are really really really good at finding the negatives in situations. Now we’re all. We’re much better. We’re much better at finding reasons to not do something than reasons to do something, and this is your DNA, like we’re literally programmed to be able to survive and not thrive. Yeah, I realize that again self-awareness thing, because you can then choose whether or not you listen to that part of your brain Rather than just going with the flow.

Justin: 

Yeah, absolutely Absolutely. And you know a lot of practice principles, practice managers, people in practice. They, you know they will be looking out for stuff anyway. They’re gonna be looking out for those opportunities. They’ll know don’t do that, do this. So just switch your focus. Instead of doing that, look for the things that you can praise and give people positive recognition and feedback for it. And the interesting thing you know you’ll know about this, james as well about habit formation Once you do something on a regular basis, once you get out to 21 days so if you’re doing this on a regular basis for you know, just short of the month, it actually becomes easier to maintain that, that approach, those habits, those behaviors then it is to go back. So if you can make this something that you’re committed to, you do it for a month or so and all of a sudden You’ll find yourself doing it more naturally. It won’t be an effort anymore, it’ll be something that just flows as part of the. You know the feedback that you give to your teams and you know a lot of practices have daily team huddles to make. You know an agenda item on your daily team huddle. Just, you know positive recognition. Just, I noticed this yesterday. I noticed that. You see, thanks very much team, really great experiences for our patients or whatever. It is right, but something every day if it becomes part of the agenda, it’s just, it’s a constant reminder for you to do it. And then if you’re having monthly practice team meetings, you know a slightly longer period of time where you might just say you know, I just want to recognize some key people in our teams and some contributions to the practice, share some of the results, really solicit some of that patient feedback and make sure that it’s specific about key members of your team. All of that starts to really improve the culture and you know, right now there’s a, there’s a huge challenge in not just dentistry, in a lot of businesses around staff morale, engagement and retention, and One of the things that you can do, one of the simplest things you could do, is start to positively Recognize and, and you know, reward people in your, in your practice teams for the great work they’re doing, the contribution they make and you know what it almost sounds like.

Dr James: 

It’s obvious, really, when we say I lied Doesn’t happen very often, or it, or certainly, certainly it could happen way more. That say that and ultimately these little things that will make your business power more. Making more money is all linked. There’s a little relevant 100%. Just Wrap up around by now, for people are listening to the podcast. You want to find out more by you. Where are the best off getting in touch?

Justin: 

So they can email me on. Justin Lee, it’s leigh at focus for growth dot co. Uk. All people can find me on LinkedIn. I’m on LinkedIn, just Justin Lee. I’m also on Facebook. I’m on Instagram, so just look up. Justin Lee, leigh, I’m also in your dentist to invest Facebook group, james, so of course people will be in there. Just drop in the group search for Justin Lee and you’ll be able to find me.

Dr James: 

Stop stuff, justin. Really, really, really good to catch up again. I’m sure we’ll have it back on the podcast very soon.

Justin: 

You too. Thanks, james, really appreciate it you.