When working to help expand a practice, our consultants frequently find that the staff and the owner are going in different directions because they have not sat down and created a mission statement. This is important whether there is one staff member or 20.
What is a Mission Statement?
To be effective, a mission statement should guide the actions of the practice, spell out its overall goal, provide a sense of direction, and guide decision-making. It provides the framework or context within which the practice’s strategies are formulated. It would answer the question, “Why do we exist?”
“Our practice is dedicated to delivering the highest quality dentures to our patients. Our goal is a patient who has received the best possible care from each member of our team, who is enthusiastic about their service from us and as a result actively refers others to our office. We also have the purpose of establishing a suitable, stress free and pleasant working environment that is conducive to the physical and mental well being of all the patients, as well as every staff member AND the owner too. Our other goals are cheerful, caring and highly motivated staff members working together to their fullest potential in a happy environment.”
Staff are Important Too
Notice that staff are very much included in the above statement. Stressed, unhappy staff won’t deliver quality care. Creating a stress-free and cheerful working environment will not only attract patients but also good staff (and help you keep them too). The staff can examine their own actions and interactions with patients and compare themselves to the ideals set out in the mission statement. They can ask themselves when they mishandle something: “Did that action provide the best quality care to our patient?” And then they can work out how to do it better next time. Good staff are pretty self-correcting when they know what is expected of them.
If you have staff, include them in the working out of the wording of this statement because everyone must agree on it and work daily toward the achievement of those goals. By having a mission statement, it ensures that everyone in the practice is on the same page.
First of all, you as the practice owner must create a rough outline of what you’d like to see in your mission statement. (See more examples at end of this article.)
Then you hold a staff meeting (about a half-hour with no interruptions like ringing phones, patients arriving, etc.). Ask each staff member directly for their input. Hash it out until you have a statement all staff agree with.
Now ask your staff to work out exactly how each one of them, through his/her function in the practice, contributes to realizing this mission statement. Let them know the date and time of a follow-up meeting (schedule about an hour) where they are to bring the above work-out as well as suggestions for improvements in their areas, and ideas for enhancement of patient care, in line with the mission statement.
At the second meeting, have each of the staff outline what they have prepared in terms of how their functions contribute to the accomplishment of the mission statement. Go through this with each staff member in the presence of the other staff, so that they see how they each contribute to the accomplishment of the mission statement, and also how all the functions interrelate and rely on everyone doing their job right. This may take more than one meeting.
Finally, take up the suggestions and ideas presented by the staff and write it all up and polish it. Give each staff member a copy and ask for written feedback. Fine tune from that feedback and arrive at a final version.
Once formulated, the mission statement should be given to all staff and put in the policy manual for your practice. Additionally, it should be published in your marketing materials, displayed in your waiting room and/or other areas of your practice, as well as on the home page of your website. It should make existing patients and future new patients feel confident in the quality of treatment and care they can expect from you and your staff.
Sample Mission Statements:
“Our mission is to provide the finest dentures and care possible. We are committed to providing a lifetime of optimum oral health to our patients and strive to foster patient relationships based on mutual trust and the best patient service possible. Patients will be at ease knowing that their care will be administered with a sense of comfort and kindness and that we will not rest until they are satisfied with their smile.”
“Our purpose as a denture team is to provide the best quality dentures to our patients, our family and our friends. We will strive to deliver this treatment as compassionately as possible. We want to help our patients have a lifetime of smiles. We take pride in our profession.”
Food For Thought
I hope that I have inspired you to create your own unique mission statement and get it into use. Having a focused, happy, productive team who are all going in the same direction is a magnificent thing!
Now you CAN get “there” because everyone knows where “there” is.