By Marie Chatterley
From the Spring 2016 Journal of the Colorado Dental Association
Can your job satisfaction increase by focusing on the positive? Positive psychology has infiltrated workshops and trainings throughout corporate America in the last seven years and many are seeking to model this new approach in business. Shawn Achor published the Happiness Advantage in 2010, and suggested five daily exercises for a positive change.
1. Write down three things you are grateful for at the start of your day.
2. Mediate for two minutes.
3. Exercise for 10-20 minutes.
4. Send a positive message to someone in your social network.
5. Journal the positive events of the day.
Can focusing on the positive really raise productivity, improve efficiency in your office, increase patient satisfaction and develop a stronger business model? I decided to challenge a stressed, sad and miserable colleague of mine to try Shawn Achor’s five daily exercises for a positive change. After reading the book, he committed to 30 days of daily exercise. Not only did he dramatically see an increase of happiness at work, he also reported higher productivity and improved relationships at home.
How does focusing on what we have improve our productivity? Psychology professors Robert Emmons, Ph.D., at the University of California, and Michael McCullough, of the University of Miami, have focused years of study and research on the role gratitude plays in the outcome of one’s personal life and profession. Their collective research makes connections between the focus on gratitude and increased interest, determination, energy, optimism, and joyfulness, with less illness.
Shawn Achor also addresses the increase of efficiency and profitability in business structures that focus on positive behavior instead of constantly pointing out fault in employees, co-workers and office policies. As a leader in your office, you are the driver in control of your professional destination. Your attitude impacts your employees’ performances, your overall professional satisfaction, and your practice’s efficiency and profitably.
I recently observed two dental practices. Practice A struggled with low staff morale, low patient flow, tight profit margins and a very unhappy practice owner. Practice B was within a 1-mile driving distance from Practice A. Practice B had an overwhelming number of new patients, healthy profit margins, and a happy doctor. Dr. A’s conversation was filled with blaming other people or circumstances for the practice’s profits being so low and bemoaning the economic hardship of the area. Dr. A had complaints about staff shortcomings and difficult patients. Dr. B’s conversation was filled with optimism about the practice demographics, pointing out how well staff members perform, how they work on improving the patient experience, and how much enjoyment came from staff and patient interaction. Dr. B referred to his staff as his “family.”
When skiing through tight trees, you focus your eyes between the trees on where you would like to go. If you focus on the trees, your probability of hitting a tree increases. By constantly focusing on what is going wrong, we create the very hardships we are trying to avoid. By focusing on the positive, we create more happiness in our business and life, and increase the probability of finding success.
Marie Chatterley is with CTC Associates, a dental practice transition consulting company. Contact her at 303-795-8800 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at www.ctc-associates.com.