Harvard research on motivation at work has found that nothing is more motivating than progress and achievement. This pattern is called the Progress Principle. Of all the positive events that influence inner work life, the single most powerful is progress in meaningful work; and on the other side of this, of all the negative events, the single most powerful is the opposite of progress – setbacks in progress at work.  This becomes a fundamental management principle: facilitating progress is the most effective way for leaders to influence their team’s work life. A consistent amount of minor success produces much more happiness than an occasional big win. So that comes back to the 90-day rule that I talk about in some of the videos and programs at UPB Dental Academy.  If you haven’t heard this before, it basically means that people suffer from a lack of focus and can only focus on goals for a shorter period of time.  Typically 90 days.  We work well within a commitment to accomplishing something within 90 days.  After that, it’s too far for most people and people give up.  So essentially, you want to work within 90 day targets. And you want to create a steady amount of challenge, achievement, and feedback on that achievement within those 90 days.  

Recognition for  the Small Things

One of the things I learned that has been so incredibly effective in my own practice is that motivation dies when people don’t feel progress or when they feel their work is futile.  So it becomes really important to constantly acknowledge progress, talk about the small achievements, recognize people and the whole team for reaching their small goals, not just the big ones.  Check out our Effective Meetings program or the Ultimate Team Culture program to get more insight on how to do this consistently.  And always focus on the feelings.  The WHY behind what we are doing, what we are working towards.  The WHY is so much more powerful than the HOW.  The WHY invokes feelings, deep feelings that people have that link them to their identity, where they want to do better. 

Teamwork Makes the Difference

Creating a unified team that works together within shorter goals set out in the Strategic Plan, makes it easier to stay in focus on what it is you want to accomplish, and actually get there at the end of each of the 90 days.  Ultimately, after 4 of those shorter cycles, you will have one year and you will be amazed at what you can achieve in that time if you allow yourself, and your team, to break this down into quarterly areas of focus.  We go into this much deeper in our Ultimate Strategic Plan, so check that out to learn how to incorporate this simple system into your meetings, your team habits, and your own vision of your Ultimate Practice.  

Stay tuned for more blogs in this series on the Five Enemies that are challenging your dental business. To combat them, learn more about UPB Dental Academy courses, created by a dentist to help dentists reach their goals and grow their business. Contact UPB Dental Academy at results@upbdentalacademy.com and follow us on LinkedIn.