No Excuses: Taking Ownership of Any Situation

No Excuses: Taking Ownership of Any Situation

In my three decades as a dentist, I’ve experienced a myriad of emotions just within the four walls of my practice. One thing I’ve learned in working with people is that you can’t control how others react. The only thing you can control is your own reactions.  

I have a no-excuses policy at my business. No matter what the situation, if it’s happening under my roof, I will own it. Here are my tips for taking ownership under any circumstance. 

1. Everyone has bad days

It’s a fact of life﹘ you can not always have a great day, in fact, sometimes you have a rotten day. I implore you to pause and think of a stressful day you’ve had recently. How would that day have been affected if every person you interacted with was dismissive or accusatory? What if everyone was attentive and helpful?

The way you act towards others has an impact. If you are having a no-good day, don’t take it out on those around you. Contrarily, if it seems like someone is taking out their frustration on you, remember that they might be having a not so great day themselves. By treating others the way you’d want to be treated on your worst day, you can brighten people’s lives while being conscientious about your own reactions. 

2. No one wants to hear excuses

When faced with a situation where you’ve disappointed another, take responsibility. Whether you slipped up or the situation was totally out of your hands is irrelevant. The first step is to hear them out. Listen to their grievances with your full attention. 

Then, no matter the circumstances, apologize wholeheartedly and empathize with the person(s) affected. Try to make it up to them and assure them that you will try not to let it happen again. No one wants to hear a laundry list of reasons why this isn’t technically your fault. Owning the situation is always better than explaining why you are actually the victim, too.

3. Stand Up for What is Right

The no-excuses mentality is about having productive discussions around inconvenient situations, but it is not about being walked all over. In every circumstance, stand by what is right. For example, once someone had to wait for over an hour to be seen (I was running late and patients were getting backed up). In anger, he threw his dental bib at the front desk. I don’t tolerate childish and inappropriate behavior like that at my practice.

I gave him a call to apologize for his wait time. But, I also told him definitively that his behavior was uncalled for, and that if he acted like that again, we would drop him as a patient. He was apologetic (he was having a bad day of his own), and the issue was resolved. The point is, always be understanding, but never stand for something you don’t believe in.  

To learn more about my way of doing things, check out my book, The Big Smile. You can also keep up with me on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.