In today’s show, Chris Cox Au.D., and Riley Bass Au.D., continue a THREE PART SERIES on the process of transitioning from student to provider! Today’s show focuses on TEAMWORK and officially closes out the series. If you missed part 1 and 2, make sure to go back and listen at the links below!
Did you miss the first or second episode in this series? Listen to “Confidence” and “Value” here.
Read the transcript:
CHRIS COX: All right, welcome to podcast number three of three on our transition from student to provider. This one we have titled–
RILEY BASS: “Teamwork.”
CHRIS COX: Teamwork makes the ice cream better.
RILEY BASS: Work.
CHRIS COX: Oh. That’s how it goes.
RILEY BASS: Teamwork makes the dream work, and the dream is always about ice cream, so.
CHRIS COX: Yeah, I dream, you dream, we all dream of ice cream.
RILEY BASS: [CHUCKLE]
I think we ended the last one talking about ice cream.
CHRIS COX: It was good, wasn’t it?
RILEY BASS: We’ve probably got some problems.
CHRIS COX: Well, we went to go get ice cream after that last one, remember?
RILEY BASS: I know, we’re already talking about it again.
CHRIS COX: Love it. So we’re talking about teamwork. If you remember, part one is about confidence. Part two is about value. And now, teamwork– three aspects of being a professional and going from that student mentality to the professional mentality as you get out of school or in your externship getting into that professional placement.
RILEY BASS: I feel like if we’re going to talk about teamwork, there’s only one analogy we can make, and that would be sports. Chris, did you play any sports.
CHRIS COX: Sports analogies are my forte. So back in high school, when I was in marching band, we did a– it’s all about teamwork there in marching band, because you play your own individual instrument. But then you actually have to make the shapes along with the rest of everybody else on the football field. And whenever you get on that gridiron, it is crazy hard.[MARCHING BAND MUSIC]
RILEY BASS: I’m sorry, I can’t keep it together while you’re talking about marching bands.
CHRIS COX: What? You don’t think it’s a serious sport? It’s a team sport. You got to make the triangle. Got to make the circle. You gotta make the little shapes on the field. It’s tough. You got to depend on the rest of the people on the team to make the right shape and stand in the right position.
RILEY BASS: I agree. I have no comparison. I was not in marching band. But I did play sports in high school, and I do understand the value of everybody pitching in and being part of the team. I actually played real sports like soccer.
CHRIS COX: Real sports?
RILEY BASS: Real sports.
CHRIS COX: Those two days with the drum major screaming down your neck while you have to stand at attention?
RILEY BASS: I’m sure it was really tough. But how was your teamwork?
CHRIS COX: Actually, I wasn’t a very good teammate.
RILEY BASS: Probably not.
CHRIS COX: I was horrible.
RILEY BASS: What did you play in the marching band?
CHRIS COX: Saxophone– alto saxophone, yeah.
RILEY BASS: I knew you played the saxophone. I didn’t know if it was just a hobby, but it was obviously in the marching band, so.
CHRIS COX: It was more than a hobby. It was life– at that time, anyway. Not so much now. But yeah, back then, it was pretty tough. And it was part of being that teammate. And I wasn’t really good at it. Me and a couple other guys in the brass section were constantly causing trouble, as per usual.
RILEY BASS: You were a pain in the brass?
CHRIS COX: Oh!
RILEY BASS: Oh![LAUGHS]
CHRIS COX: Good one. OK, so what does that have to do with teamwork?
RILEY BASS: Let’s talk about teamwork.
CHRIS COX: Oh, that’s what we have been talking about, just not really specifically. OK. So what does teamwork have to do with where you’re going to be as an extern or as a new professional out there?
RILEY BASS: Getting along with your team is going to have a huge impact on your success and your happiness from day to day. If you are in a place where you feel like you’re aligned as a team and everybody’s working towards the same goals, you’re going to have a much more harmonious experience than if everybody’s just there doing their own thing.
CHRIS COX: Whenever you work as a team and you’re all working on all cylinders in your well-oiled machine, everything seems great. But how do you get to that point? It seems like it’s one of those things where it either works and everybody gels together or it doesn’t. But do you think it’s something that can be created?
RILEY BASS: Absolutely, and there is a little bit of a dynamic shift when typically you’re going to be the new person on the team. Everyone else has been there for a while. And there might be new team members that come in along the way. But there is that aspect where you’re the newest member of the team and it’s up to you to figure out how to adjust and become part of that team.
CHRIS COX: So when you think about it, when you look at the different teams that are out there– everything from sports teams to your mechanic’s team to, I don’t know, the competitive knitting team– they all have to work together. They all have to know what’s going on with each other, and they all have to make sure that–
RILEY BASS: Did you say competitive knitting?
CHRIS COX: Yeah, have you not seen those?
RILEY BASS: Is it like, who can make the fastest blanket?
CHRIS COX: You know, I’ve never been to one of those competitions before. But I imagine it would be something like that, yeah. Who can make the fastest left-hand mitten?
RILEY BASS: Heh. Not me. I don’t know how to knit.
CHRIS COX: OK. So what to you is one of the most important things that you can do to contribute to your team?
RILEY BASS: I think you have to be a team player. You have to take initiative and do what it takes to be a contributing member of the team.
CHRIS COX: And that kind of goes on with what we were talking about last week in building your value and taking initiative on a lot of the different tasks around the office there.
RILEY BASS: Right, nobody likes to be in that group project where one person doesn’t do any of the work. You guys have all probably been there in that group project where somebody just slacks off and shows up on the last day and puts their name on it. You don’t want to be that team member.
CHRIS COX: So whenever you’re a part of that team and everyone’s pitching in and no one’s afraid to do the menial jobs, it makes it for a much better environment. When you think about at home, it’s always that one bottleneck in the kitchen, right? No one wants to unload the dishwasher. But nothing else can get done until the dishwasher gets unloaded. I can’t load any of the dishes up or anything like that.
So by taking the initiative and unloading the dishwasher, I hated doing that as a kid. But now I know that it’s part of the process of having a clean home. I hated doing that as a kid. And you know, what if I would have just gone ahead and done it? My mom probably would’ve had a heart attack, because I unloaded the dishwasher on my own.
RILEY BASS: She didn’t have to yell at you to do it?
CHRIS COX: That’s right. So how does that translate to the office? Well, we were talking about opening up the boxes– that rite of passage, so to speak– from last time, processing all the hearing devices coming in. What are some of the other things you could do?
RILEY BASS: One of the things that we really utilize here around our office, especially when we have events, is everybody has to work. Everybody has to do every job. And it doesn’t matter if you are the lowest entry-level person or if you’re the big boss in charge of everyone else, the jobs have to get done. And if everybody just works together to do them, it’ll be a lot easier and a lot baster than one person trying to do everything.
CHRIS COX: The other thing is, if you want to contribute but you don’t really know, ask. Ask everybody. Ask anybody that’s in the office if there’s anything that you can do to help them out. When you have some down time, instead of checking Insta or Facebook or whatever it is–
RILEY BASS: Did you just call Instagram “Insta”?
CHRIS COX: Isn’t that what it’s called?
RILEY BASS: You’re so hip.[CHUCKLE]
CHRIS COX: Thank you. Thought I’d never hear that. So if you don’t know where to help, ask.
RILEY BASS: Absolutely. There’s always things that need to be done in every practice, every business. So I guarantee you that at any time, if you’re just sitting there twiddling your thumbs at your desk, there’s probably something that you could be doing to help out.
CHRIS COX: And as one of those people that is struggling during the day and may be behind on phones or filing or something like that, just the little act of filing away a couple of charts or processing some of the paperwork that’s up there in the front can help out that front office staff or the patient care coordinator and get them on their day a little bit easier. And then that means that they’re happy with you and they like you, and we want that.
RILEY BASS: Right, everybody wants to like and be liked.
CHRIS COX: And don’t forget to show appreciation for them as well. When we think about what we want to do altogether, we all should be aligned in the same goal. We all should be wanting to take care of that patient. Every single person that comes through that door, we want to be able to take care of them. If we’re all aligned in that manner, then there’s no reason why we can’t show appreciation for everybody on the team in getting to that goal.
As a professional, as the extern, or as the new audiologist, it is our job to take care of the patient in the back. It is our job to take care of the patient in the sound booth and when they’re in our office. And in the front, it’s the responsibility of that patient care coordinator, the front office staff, or the receptionist– however you call them– to make sure they have a great experience at the front. So by showing appreciation to everybody on the team, you’re then able to make sure that everyone feels good for doing their job.
RILEY BASS: By appreciation, we mean bringing donuts to the office.
CHRIS COX: Donuts, coffee, whatever.
RILEY BASS: Just kidding. But people do like that.
CHRIS COX: Margarita Fridays.
RILEY BASS: [CHUCKLE]
CHRIS COX: Thirsty Thursdays.
RILEY BASS: Heh! We digress.
CHRIS COX: Yes, we do. The other cool thing that you can do is get specific with the other people on your team.
RILEY BASS: Right, figuring out what your coworkers and your peers– PPFs are.
CHRIS COX: PPFs?
RILEY BASS: Oh, that’s bringing back a few weeks ago, huh? Personal, Professional, and Financial goals. Figuring out what they’re working for can help you figure out ways that you can help and assist them in reaching those goals as well.
CHRIS COX: And we may not know our teammates’ financial goals– some of those more personal ones maybe. But just keep an eye out. It’s not like they’re going to share everything with you. But just asking, hey, is there something that I can help you out with on a daily basis that might make it easier for you to work or might help you get to one of these goals? Let me know. I’ll be happy to help out with that. Build that relationship with them, and it ends up being a stronger relationship with them, instead of separating yourself from them.
The point that what I want to get at with that is we’re all working together, and we all have to pitch in. And that brings me back to my waiting days, when I waited tables. I learned something from a friend of mine who paid the busboys for not to do work but in appreciation.
So every night, he would give the busboys some cash in their hands. Even though they made money on their own, he did that to show appreciation to them that he knew that our tables don’t get cleaned except for by the busboys. And they’re the ones that help keep the traffic going.
Kind of one of the things where I had a different mentality about what the busboys did. It was my fault. It was my issue for looking at them in that way. And what my friend taught me was that they are an integral part of the team. And I learned to appreciate them in a way that I never had before. And because I was able to do that– And I did learn to kind of tip them on the side as well. But I really did come to appreciate their work and what they did and worked to make their job even easier so that they could be more efficient.
RILEY BASS: Sure. And looking at that restaurant analogy, it’s exactly the same as in a practice or any business, really. Everyone has to contribute and do their job in order for them to get done. If the hostess isn’t seating people, if the waiters aren’t waiting their tables, if the busboys aren’t clearing them, if the cooks aren’t cooking, then the restaurant’s going to come to a standstill.
The same goes at your practice if your front office person is not getting those appointments in and greeting those patients and letting you know that they’re there and you’re not seeing them efficiently and on time, then they’re going to back up. So making sure that everybody’s contributing and everybody’s doing their job. And if somebody is having some difficulty for one reason or another that day, figuring out where you can pitch in and help is going to keep the train on the tracks and keep moving you forward.
CHRIS COX: And that made all the difference in the way that I was able to work in that restaurant– being able to have a stronger relationship with everybody in there, from the cooks and the dishwashers and everybody. So it’s definitely a perspective change. And it’s pretty much the same now that, if you’re in an externship where you’re graduating, you’re a doctor now. Oh, my gosh, you’re way up here on this high level.
And you come to realize that it’s not about that. It’s not about the title. It’s not about being better than someone. We’re all working together towards the same goal. And just keeping that in mind helps everybody stay on the boat.
RILEY BASS: One of the things that is pretty interesting about working in practice and especially being a young– most of us young– students coming into these is that generational dynamic aspect. When you mix a lot of different generations together– we were raised at different times and have different perceptions on society and on culture.
A lot of the people that are going to be your boss or the people that are going to own these practices that you’re working in are going to be baby boomers. And they grew up in a different time than we did as millennials. One of the main things is we grew up with social media being part of our lives. And we probably don’t remember or we remember back in elementary school, whenever you got your first computer– do you remember that?
CHRIS COX: I do remember that.
RILEY BASS: I know you’re kind of right on the cusp of millennial and Gen X.
CHRIS COX: I remember that.
RILEY BASS: But I remember the day that my dad brought home a computer and set it up, and it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. Because we’ve grown up with this social media and with this digital world, we’ve sort of earned this reputation as millennials of being–
CHRIS COX: Selfish.
RILEY BASS: –selfish–
CHRIS COX: Entitled.
RILEY BASS: –self-centered, entitled. We grew up getting trophies even if your soccer team got last place. And–
CHRIS COX: It’s OK, Riley. You tried.
RILEY BASS: My soccer team never got last place, because I was the best goalie that ever existed on that soccer team. So I don’t have any way to relate to that, because my soccer team–
CHRIS COX: Excuse me, pardon.
RILEY BASS: –was always getting the first place trophies.
CHRIS COX: Excuse me. You sure they were first place ones and not just consolation ones that they told you was first place?
RILEY BASS: Maybe I should go back and check. I don’t know.
CHRIS COX: You tried.
RILEY BASS: But it’s true. We grew up in this inclusion. And there’s nothing wrong with that, and that’s great. And we are the generation that is the most inclusive of everyone, and we believe in equality and fairness. And that’s wonderful for us. But that’s not the same that our– I was going to say ancestors, but they’re not ancestors–
CHRIS COX: Forebears?
RILEY BASS: Our predecessors. You know, what they grew up with. And they value things a little bit differently. And one of them is definitely that respect and that hard work. They value that. They saw their parents work every day, work really hard, especially back when baby boomers were children. Their dad probably worked all day, long hours, and their mom stayed home and took care of the kids all day.
But that’s changed, and it’s evolved over the years. They still value that hard work, and they sense that work ethic in people. And that’s what they like. They don’t really like it when you come to them and you expect things without working for them, because they had to work really hard to get where they are. And now, with this inclusion and this fairness and equality, we just expect everything to be on a level playing field. And it’s not always that way.
CHRIS COX: These are all generalizations. And it’s not true for everybody, just like not every millennial is entitled and selfish. Not every baby boomer is someone who’s really a hard case for discipline and all that kind of stuff. I mean, it’s just generalization.
But being able to know and being aware of those sorts of ideas can help you be a better teammate in the clinic. And as you work with and deal with all the different people on your team, it’s really important to know how their perception of you can be changed by your actions independently.
They may have an idea, oh, well, they’re a millennial. They must be entitled, and they must like taking tons of selfies. But it’s up to you then to change their mind on that or influence the way they think about you and how you interact with them on a very personal, specific level, just about you. And you can do it. It’s easy to do.
RILEY BASS: We have a ton of information on this, if you’re interested in more about generational dynamics. Please let us know, and we would be happy to send you some great resources to look up a little bit more information.
CHRIS COX: OK. So being a better teammate– there’s a lot of aspects to it. We’ve talked about a few here. We welcome any other suggestions you might have, which you may be able to chat about in the future. But let’s bring this episode to a close, and then the whole thing to a close.
RILEY BASS: We’re done with our series. We finished it.
CHRIS COX: We’re done with this three-part series and this great–
RILEY BASS: You guys are already going to be excellent professionals now.
CHRIS COX: So we look at what we talked about a couple weeks ago with confidence. It’s really about learning how to stop being a student and thinking like a student and becoming more of that professional and someone who is the expert that can provide that expert advice to your patients and the people on your team.
RILEY BASS: Being confident and independent but retaining that humility and being humble and not afraid to ask when you have questions and to clarify, making sure that you fully comprehend all these different things that you’re learning and that you’re willing to learn and to go the extra mile to figure things out.
CHRIS COX: Right, and the second one being value– understanding the value in yourself and what you bring to the table as that expert and also what value you can bring to the team and the environment that you’re in to make that a better place for the whole team.
RILEY BASS: The last thing is making sure that you are greeting each day with positivity, you’re moving toward the betterment of the team as a whole. Nobody wants to be the sour grape in the patch that’s dragging the team down. You really want to look for ways that you can help contribute, ways that you can help everybody else reach their goals, and making sure that your goals are being met as well. Doing all those things are going to make a really harmonious experience in a practice.[MUSIC PLAYING]
CHRIS COX: Never heard of a grape patch. Did you have a Grape Patch Kid when you were little?
RILEY BASS: A bunch of grapes. Don’t be the sour grape in the bunch.
CHRIS COX: [LAUGHING]
RILEY BASS: We really need to work on our euphemisms, because we try to use them in every episode, and we fail every time.
CHRIS COX: Mm.
RILEY BASS: Fold up like a cheap– lawn chair?[LIGHT LAUGHTER]
CHRIS COX: OK. So let’s go get some ice cream.
RILEY BASS: Sounds good. We got to stop getting ice cream after every podcast. This is driving me away from that personal goal I have of getting healthy.
CHRIS COX: You can get a sorbet or– what is it called?
RILEY BASS: A frozen yogurt?
CHRIS COX: Or get a Froyo. Let’s go get some Froyo.
RILEY BASS: Thank you guys so much for tuning in to this three-part series on the transition from student to professional.
CHRIS COX: (COUNT VON COUNT VOICE) 1, 2, 3.
RILEY BASS: As always, my name is Riley Bass.
CHRIS COX: [COUNT VON COUNT LAUGH]
And I am Chris Cox.
RILEY BASS: And The Count, apparently. Please subscribe to our podcast on iTunes. Like us. Give us feedback. And if you have any ideas of topics you would like us to talk about, the best way to get to us is at Twitter. I am @rileyb659.
CHRIS COX: And I am @coxchriscox.
RILEY BASS: And we look forward to talking to you next time. Thanks, guys.