How we keep ‘little’ annoyances from causing big trouble

We all have pet peeves. (I certainly do!) They’re usually no big deal. At least they don’t seem like a big deal. But, let some of them sneak by unaddressed, and they can cause trouble in the office, trouble for your patients, and even trouble for your practice as a whole.

One of my biggest “small” issues? Foggy mirrors! They drive me nuts when I’m trying to perform a procedure on a patient. When they fog up, I can’t see what I’m doing. Having to stop to clean off the fog—or wait for my assistant to clean it off—diverts my focus and slows me down.

There was a time when I might just tell myself, “No biggie. It’s just a foggy mirror. Let it go already!” But I’ve found that “little” issues have a way of piling up—and blowing up!—into much bigger problems when we ignore them for days and weeks on end.

Besides that, exceeding patient expectations and performing procedures as smoothly as possible are critical for the success of my Same Day Dental practice. If I never say anything, how will the staff learn?

I needed to let them know I’d like them all to be more proactive, when it comes to those foggy mirrors. But when? And how? I wouldn’t want to embarrass or demean my staff, so I won’t critique their work in the presence of patients. Still, if I don’t discuss it as it happens, I’m much less likely to bring up something so seemingly small later. (I might even forget to say something—until the next time I’m peering into a fogged-up mirror!)

In our office, we implemented a simple fix for just these kinds of situations. We have a white board in the back that we’ve set aside just for problem-solving. We list our various issues, discuss them during staff meetings, and determine the best way to resolve those issues. Now, with a time and place to air “little” grievances, they no longer have the chance to get big.