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Who's running the show? Whether managing a dental clinic or running a circus, it's essential to have the right "ringmaster".

We have to admit that no matter how successful our dental practice may be, we've all been part of the "circus." The true success under the "Big Top" depends on the ringmaster and like the "Big Top" show, our clinics require a ringmaster (practice manager or military equivalent Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge [NCOIC]) to manage all the circus acts. This person manages the performance, introduces the various acts and expertly guides the audience through the entertainment experience while maintaining the smooth flow of the show, or at least the appearance of it. Imagine if your circus (clinic) was not portrayed successfully, ticket sales could plummet and the well-known phrase may seem more like "the show mustn't go on." The audience may even consider traveling to another venue.

Choosing the right person to wear the "top hat" is vital. So how do you determine if a potential ringmaster is the right fit for your circus? Whoever manages your clinic must possess genuine loyalty to the success of the clinic in the same way a ringmaster is invested in the success of a show. This can only be measured by how effective a person is at juggling the four basic rules that are conducive to managing the "clinic circus."

An acrobat shouldn't tame the lions. Not only is it imperative to select the right ringmaster, it is also imperative that the ringmaster pairs the right performers to the appropriate acts. Selection of team members who interact with your "audience" is a critical aspect. If the audience isn't pleased, they may take their business elsewhere. Auditions are used to choose the right people who will impress the audience. I firmly believe it's having the right people at the right place at the right time that matters. It is also the ringmaster's job to handle the not-so-favorable attractions while juggling the entire circus. Sometimes it is necessary to remove practices or even people who are not working out well. A successful ringmaster excels at identifying, selecting, developing and retaining talent.

Don't fall off the tightrope. Tire importance of balancing the entire operation, like staying on the tightrope, is a critical aspect of the ringmaster's job. Superb multitasking skills are essential, as well as thoughtful delegation. The paramount discussion about the circus is that its pageantry is true and genuine. If it isn't true and genuine, the audience will surely know because they are watching every moment. There is no one simple way of scheduling that works for everyone. The "art " of effective performance control is unique to each person. Management of personnel is a never-ending task.

No matter what form of delivery one considers, some manner of management is required. Sometimes people need to be reminded of their cues and sometimes they need more practice before they can be allowed to take over a task. In order to keep things running smoothly and achieve the highest quality of performance out of your team, management of personnel is an integral part of the organization.

Don't drop your partner. Communication and cooperation are the foundation of relationships among team members. Without a clear picture of the common goal or target, a team can lose sight of their goals and the overall vision of their mission. If team members are out of sync, the result is chaos and trauma. Communication and teamwork are the keys to en sure there are no performance mishaps. In the "clinic circus," an organized schedule of acts, preshow huddle and post-performance feedback is essential. Ringmasters must be a clear and persuasive communicators and listeners. They must respond to grievances, complaints and inquiries, while continually working toward a cohesive team performance.

A ringmaster needs to always be ready to take off the top hat and join the show. Truly effective ringmasters lead by example. They don't just stand in the middle of the center ring; they roll up their sleeves and go where they're needed when they need to support the show.

Don't forget the safety net. Ringmasters are responsible for making sure everyone has appropriate safety training and that the environment is current with safety regulations. They must know how to identify and eliminate safety infractions and concerns. Safety issues can bring down the curtain very quickly. Constant pre- and post-performance critiques can prevent mishaps and a checklist of proper safety practices needs to be accomplished prior to each "act." The last thing we want is for unsafe practices to end a team member's career or harm the health of their patients.

By developing your staff, having effective personnel management, communicating with your team, instilling safety measures and a dedicated ringmaster, you are sure to have a successful performance and "the greatest show on Earth." Make your show one that your staff and patients will never forget!

Master Sergeant Lisa M. Chloros

NCOIC, McChord Field Dental Clinic

62nd Medical Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA

Master Sergeant Lisa M. Chloros is the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the McChord Field Dental Clinic, 62nd Medical Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA. She is from Oakville, WA, and joined the Air Force in 1995. She has experience both inside and outside the dental career field, including Dental Informatics and Technology, and was a member of the Air Force Dental Forensics Team. MSgt Chloros is planning to retire in 2015 to focus on her family and the next chapter of her life.
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Title Annotation:U.S. Air Force
Author:Chloros, Lisa M.
Publication:The Dental Assistant
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2014
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