Creating Your Practice Culture

The keys to Inspiring, Self-direction, Synergistic Teamwork and Continuous Improvement

Have you decided to take control of your business? Implement some of the life-changing choices you’ve had in front of you? Decided to finally start making a difference in the lives of the children in your practice? Or for that matter, introduce any change or innovation that will help you achieve your professional goals? If the truth be told, the only thing that could stand in the way of successful innovation is an uninspired or poorly managed team, who don’t want to do what you want them to do or don’t know how to implement the plan! And that my dear friends is caused by no or poor leadership! As Tony Robbins so aptly stated in his interview, “Dentists have worked a lifetime to develop their skills, compassion, and their art. But then there’s running the business, and they spend all this money going to school and becoming a great dentist, but no one teaches the business aspect. Most people in that position get stressed out and overwhelmed.” I empathize with that. Getting a strong hold on the business is the only way to get everything you want from your practice!
An excellent leader is responsible for creating and maintaining the culture of a business. The first question then should be: “Exactly what goes into creating an organization’s culture and how does that relate to my practice?”
An organization’s culture includes:

  • The values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization.
  • It includes an organization’s expectations, experiences, philosophy, and values that hold it together, and is expressed in its self-image, inner workings, interactions with the outside world, and future expectations.
  • It is based on shared attitudes, beliefs, customs, and written and unwritten rules that have been developed over time and are considered valid.
  • It is important because it affects the organization’s productivity and performance, and provides guidelines on customer care and service.
  • And…It is important because it extends to production-methods, marketing and advertising practices, and to new product innovation.

Which is why a strong practice truly is the make-break point for any new technology or clinical methodology’s successful integration. If an inspired culture is what is needed to implement sleep solutions in your practice, the next question is: “Where do I begin?”
It all starts with your team. In every survey that has ever been conducted, the results are universal about what behaviors team members come to expect from excellent leaders in order to support a culture of change, growth and innovation. The top expected behaviors of leader excellence always include:

  • The leader treats me as a human being, not just an employee.
  • The leader believes in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.
  • The leader trusts me and is honest,  including admitting when he/she is wrong.

The secret to your success as a leader lies in exhibiting all 3 of these behaviors at all times! When you can personify these behaviors and integrate the additional key skills of leadership, you will create a successful culture and begin to experience success beyond your wildest dreams. The question then becomes: “How do I continue my journey?” The answer is simple (and on-going):
So, where to start, or re-start?
Create a vision for change, align your people behind it and develop a plan for executing it. And anyone who has attended Leadership 1 (The “Unkillable” Leader) or Wayne Pernell’s Leadership Retreat knows that this is the “STEP 0” for any upgrades to your practice culture! Your vision doesn’t have to be grand or profound, but without it you can’t expect people to be motivated to follow.
Communicate in a way that inspires trust and confidence. Once you have the vision, it is vital to learn how to communicate in a way that inspires both trust and confidence in the people that you lead. The only communication that inspires trust is honest, authentic communication that allows the individual you are communicating with to know exactly where they stand. Does it take courage? You bet it does! Is it important? No doubt.  This is commonly called assertive influence and it includes: “this is what I need, this is what I am getting and this is what I expect in the future”.  Elsewhere in this issue of DSP, you can read an interview with Tony Robbins that I hope you will take to heart. Anyone think he doesn’t have courage and make important choices?
As Tony Robbins stated, it is essential that dentists take control of their practice! Leading a team and creating the ideal culture is a process, not an event, and it requires continued dedication and focus beyond the dental chair (and a great deal of humility) to be successful. As a practice management consultant, I can assure you that being a leader, investing in your culture and inspiring change – change is difficult, but also the only way to ensure innovation and synergistic growth. Keep on keeping on! It’s always worth the effort!

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