Are you a master gem cutter?

The year was 1905 in Pretoria S. Africa. Frederick Wells was 18 feet underground when he discovered a 3106-carat diamond, the largest ever found.

Master gem cutter Joseph Asscher was commissioned with the task of taking this dull diamond in the rough and cutting it to reveal the stone’s brilliance and shine. After 6 months of intensive study, the cuts were made. On the first try, the steel blade broke, on the second attempt the diamond shattered exactly as planned. It is reported that Asscher then fainted from nervous exhaustion. The diamond he cut is now referred to as the star of Africa 1. It is 530 carats and known as the largest fine-cut, fine-quality colorless diamond in the world.

Have you ever seen a diamond in the rough? They do not shine; instead they are dull, uneven, almost greasy looking. It will not catch your eye until a gem cutter has time to cut, shape and polish the stone. It is the human touch that releases the internal fire and creates that mesmerizing brilliance. Clarity is achieved by eliminating cracks and imperfections, allowing the brilliance to shine. The value of a diamond is in its clarity.

All office managers need to be like master gem cutters! Our practices are diamonds in the rough. They need our touch to obtain the brilliance we seek. I challenge you to uncover the beauty and potential that already exists in your practice. How can you cut, shape and polish the gem that is in your care? Follow this 4-step process.

All gem cutters start with a study of the raw gem. Take a close look at your practice. What does your eye see? What are the features in your practice that you would like to emphasize? What needs to be eliminated? Study your “diamond in the rough”. Look at exterior physical appearance, check your internal policies, and size up the condition of your team. Ask yourself:

What are the strengths of this practice? What does your practice have going for it? Look closely at the physical appearance, is it clean and fresh? What makes your office stand out from the crowd? What types of services do you offer? Does your office excel in technology? Is your team involved in community events? Would you like to focus on cosmetic dentistry?

Very often a scan of your diamond in the rough will reveal imperfections that may need to be diminished or cut out all together. This is where we begin our shaping or faceting. Faceting comes from the word faces. Our team members are the most beautiful part of our practice. They can be the doctors greatest resource. However, a team can make or break the practice. Look at the faces of your team.

Much like the facets on our diamond, clarity or lack of will show on the team’s faces or demeanor. Are their faces shining with pride and energy, do they have a gleam? Or do you notice a dull, lifeless, unmotivated countenance. If our findings reveal the team is not reflecting our vision, we must act to protect the brilliance and shine. Two of the best shaping tools is the office manual and concise office protocols.

The office manual is our foundation. It gives our team fairness and purpose. A well-put together manual will provide clear job descriptions, outlining expectations and acceptable team behavior. Each individual will feel the safety of fairness, boundaries and expectations. Chaos and confusion is cut allowing room for each member to shine.

How about the office policies? Are they written in simple clear language? Does your welcome letter really welcome? Or does it look like the War and Peace novel? Patients are much happier with a few simple welcome reminders. They are not looking for rulebooks. This is a good place to make cuts – allow your policies to be simple and effective.

Do you have a system for phone confirmations, collections, cancellations re-care, new patients and emergency visits? Simple, clearly written protocols are easy to follow. Yes, the office manual along with protocols will eliminate cracks in your business systems, minimize any imperfections and erase any cloudiness in the practice.

So far, have you been able to identify what in your practice needs to be cut, shaped or faceted?
It will take time to identify what enhances versus detracts or causes your office to be dull. Careful examination will uncover striking beauty in your practice. You will know by the patient responses and the faces on your team when you have made the right cuts, hi-light the strengths and minimize the imperfections.

Office managers, use your human touch to release the internal fire in your practice. Once you have cut out the imperfections and shaped your diamond. Keep polishing it. Use performance reviews, patient surveys, and continuing education. The clarity will reveal itself in the faces of your team and by the patients that are drawn to the brilliance of your practice.

If you would like help with your “diamond in the rough” please feel free to contact me at: