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  • Lisa Jensvold

Building a Team…Not a Wall

For so many of us in the field, no matter what part of the office we work, we all have witnessed the divide between the front and back office. This divide can be extremely damaging to the office, the patients, and the team as a whole. Teams need to focus on building each other up in order to build the practice. After this crazy last year, we can focus on how grateful we are that we have the privilege to , face-to-face, with our teammates and patients once again.

Here are a few ways to help tear down walls and build YOUR team up to better serve your patients and each other.

  1. Observation and Discussion – Observe how the front office and back office works together in high pressure situations. A great example of this is when a patient walks in to an appointment with a broken bracket (with a full afternoon of scheduled patients). Observing and seeing the different challenges through each other’s eyes can help the team grow TOGETHER. The back office can see and understand how front office employees deal with upset parents who are not wanting to come back for a separate appointment. The front office can see the struggle of the back office managing a tight afternoon schedule without time for an emergency appointment. Observing and having GRACE for each other’s challenges can provide understanding to frustrations. With these observations and discussions, you can work together and discuss the best way to handle situations going forward.

  2. Cross Train – We LOVE when we see offices that cross train their team! Training back-office team members to answer phones and to schedule patients (even new patients!), check patients in, and schedule patients as they leave. Front office team members can learn to take x-rays (if your state allows), seat patients in the clinic, turn chairs around and sterilize or even scan for a lost retainer if they need to. Not only does this support one another, but also gives the team members the feeling of what the back/front staff does.

  3. Eat lunch together – We know this seems simple enough, but often we gravitate towards staying in our “pods” at lunch time without even realizing it, especially the past 18 months given Covid spacing restrictions. It’s important to recognize the importance of eating together as a team to get to know one another and BOND as teammates.

  4. Own humility – As humans its easy for us to grow frustrated and start pointing fingers at other people, especially our teammates when something goes wrong. It can be even more difficult for us to accept when WE did something wrong. Own when you make a mistake, apologize, and discuss WITH YOUR TEAM how better to handle the situation in the future. This one quality is a very powerful quality in supporting a positive team culture.

We all LOVE what we do and are proud to be part of such a great field. When we can work together as a team, we can support a significant common goal: making sure our patients have a great experience in our office to build our practice! THIS is where the magic happens. In order to do this, we HAVE to work together as a TEAM! Do not let frustrations build up, talk with one another, and tear down those walls.


Lisa has been in the orthodontic field for the past 16 years, and is Shimmin Consulting’s clinical specialist with experience in all areas from schedule coordinating to treatment coordinating. Lisa’s specialties are in scheduling templates, doctor time vs. non-doctor time, appointment types and scheduling, patient flow, running clinicians in columns, and procedure protocol. Lisa is an expert in all things clinical and loves to share her passion, enthusiasm, and knowledge in every office she works with.

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