Friday, 27 July 2012

Seasons, dental practices and leadership

Seasons, dental practices and leadership

Just as a year has four distinct seasons, Spring summer autumn and winter, so too does the life cycle of your practice. Similarly, as your wardrobe changes throughout the year to fit the seasonal weather, so to your leadership style will change throughout the life and seasons of your business.

Characteristics of business seasons

The easiest way to tell which sees in your in, is to reflect back ,look at get the sense of where you have just come from.

Summer practices are focused on building your patient base, patients will be coming to you with little perceived effort, and treatment plan conversions will happen effortlessly.

Autumn practices are focused on customer service and ensuring their staff and patients are happy.

Winter practices are mainly focused on building organisation, systems and processes that will prepare them for Spring.

Spring practices are generally introducing new ideas and new concepts and introducing new treatment modalities and techniques.

During the lifetime of your practice will move from season season, as your practice changes , grows and evolves.

Leadership styles have been characterised in many different ways; the one I will share with you now initially was based on the ancient Chinese I Ching and then brought into Western culture by Carl Jung.
Dynamo the task-based leader.
 A dynamo leader is focused on driving forward new projects, ideas and changes. A dynamo leader will often railroad through objections ensuring that the project gets completed. To a dynamo leader people, reflection and timing do not come naturally.
If you want to get things moving, and change to happen in your practice you need to be a dynamo leader, and then move onto a new project and appoint a new leader to bring the initial project to fruition and implementation.
In the words of Richard Branson, ”I believe in benevolent dictatorship provided I am the dictator”

Blaze the people-based leader
 If you are a blaze leader your primary focus will be on motivating other people to perform at their best, communicate and collaborate and act as a team. A blaze leader will assess what's going on in their team by working alongside them. This style of leadership does not lend itself to your practices that have not yet established themselves or have a reputation. As Jack Welch said, “In leadership you have to exaggerate every statement you make. You've got to repeated thousand times and exaggerate it stop”

Tempo the activity-based leader
Tempo leaders are primarily concerned with consultation. A Tempo leader will continually be comparing themselves, their practice, staff treatment and prices to what is going on in other practices in their locality. Tempo leaders will make sure that things get completed on time however, the plans will lack creativity.

Steel the data based leader
Steel  leaders are focused on calculation. If you are a steal leader, you're in the company of Getty and Rockefeller whom much criticised for their aloof and distant style, leading from the back. If this is your natural leadership style you will learn you think you need to learn about your practice from only looking at the figures.

Whilst we notice each practice principal has a preferred and stronger style of leadership, we also recognise that those leaders that strengthen their weak areas have more rounded and even approach to leadership. In the dental practices, in particular, because they are generally small businesses where you are in very close contact with your team and your patients, in order to deal successfully with the range of circumstances that require a leadership approach, it is most useful if you can approach situations with the most appropriate leadership style, rather than your natural one.

If you would like to learn more about your leadership styles and what you can do to develop them, call me on (07989) 757884 or e-mail

In the meantime please tell me what you think of this article.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

"Any experience can be transformed into something of value."
Vash Young

What was your biggest challenge in practice yesterday?

What did this challenge yesterday teach you that can actually be used to improve your practice?

I often share with my clients the concept that the challenge are a problem in practice is actually a fire. Sometimes the fires in practices are just small and smouldering and others a raging infernos. When I first meet with dental principals and their team members are usually discover that they are spending much of their time dealing with problems and crises and putting out fires every day.

What I encourage my clients to do is to use a two-step process in dealing with these fires.
• Put the fire out
• prevented from ever igniting again.

So in this two-step proce step one; you must solve the immediate problem, that is put the fire out.

Putting the fire out however is not enough because it could reignite another time in the future the next step is the most important one and unfortunately it's the one that generally takes longer and most people don't scheduled the time to do.

Step two devise a system that prevents this fire from ever reigniting again.
In my practice I have a mantra which I shared with my team "I don't mind you make mistakes. What I do mind is you making the same mistake twice.”

So what can you learn from yesterday?

What do you need to do to make sure the circumstances of yesterday never happen again?

Share your experiences and comments using the button below because I really am interested making your good practices great.