Two simple steps to make your associates more productive

One of my clients’ FAQ’s is “why aren’t my associates more productive?”

I’m reminded of Stephen Covey’s quotation that:

if there’s a problem with your team, the problem is you

Many is the time we have discussed unappreciated people and the effect they can have on morale and productivity.

The same applies to your clinical team – and exists in the absence of shadowing and mentoring.

To be clear:

  • shadowing is what happens when you allow another clinician to assist in your surgery, so that they can observe your clinical and communication skills
  • mentoring is what happens when you take the time out to empathetically listen to your clinicians, seek to understand their world view and review individual cases with them

Here’s what I see most of the time in general practice:

  • no shadowing
  • no mentoring

Everyone just shows up, sees patients, goes home.

Same stuff, different day.

Then I get the “why can’t they do more?” call.

Here’s what I see in the enlightened practice:

  • junior apprentices and associates are given the opportunity to regularly shadow the Principal – in the case of apprentices, a day a week
  • all associates are regularly mentored, with meetings scheduled in the calendar (often monthly) to have good conversations about their career and personal progress as well as specific clinical cases

The outcome is that in mixed practices I’m seeing private sales rise from those associates who are shadowed and mentored.

(p.s. far less chance that a training course will be effective unless you shadow/mentor afterwards)

Equally, fully private associates with whom you engage on this basis will evolve and contribute slow and steady growth in their production and referrals.

If you want your associates to give more, then give your associates more – of yourself.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.