How to Bring your Core Values AliveNov 04, 2021
We LOVE Core Values here at ACT Dental. Why? Because they are key to the success of any business. But Core Values won’t just magically help your practice once you decide what they are. In order for your Core Values to truly work in your practice, you have to be intentional about bringing them to life on a daily basis. Without this discipline, your Core Values will remain “aspirational” (as Patrick Lencioni calls them) and they will have less of an impact on the health of your practice and your team.
Keeping them alive isn’t rocket science, it just takes commitment! Below I’ve highlighted 4 things you and your team can begin to focus on that will bring your Core Values to life, and help keep them alive and thriving in your practice!
Build a cadence of discussing your Core Values in your weekly team meetings and huddles. Here at ACT Dental, our team members call out a Core Value that came alive that day at the conclusion of all of our huddles. We then put our hands in and count 1, 2, 3, before calling the Core Value out together. We do this to prove these are “alive and well” and that they do actually exist. By doing this, we prove that these values matter! I won't ever take credit for this discipline, a coach our team worked with had us begin this; once we had our Core Values written and we put them into a logo, he forced us to call one of them out before the conclusion of each of our huddles. Thank God he did. At first, I thought it was a bit hokey. I didn’t enjoy doing it. Now I love it! I can’t imagine a huddle without it!
Having a regular discipline or system of talking about your Core Values forces your team members to be conscious of the current circumstances, in addition to looking for the good in the moment and in their fellow team members. I love it when one team member elevates another by recognizing their behavior as an example of one of our Core Values. It reinforces our WHY. Give some thought to starting each team meeting or huddle with a story about a patient you have helped, or an incident that has occurred, that has brought one of your Core Values to life. What a great way to start (or end) any meeting.
Intentionally plan Core Value activities for your team. Assign a Core Values Champion in your practice and rotate through each team member, so everyone has the opportunity to really observe core values in action. Their responsibility is to take a photo of a Core Value that came alive each day/week: individually, as a team, as a leader, with a patient, in your community, in dentistry, etc. Show your community that these values are alive and well in the photos you regularly share on social media. Be aware of the simple day-to-day things happening in your office, and bring attention to the Core Values represented in different situations. There is another layer of accountability when you share your values with your community.
Show them Off
Don’t be afraid to show them off. There is no better way to do that than to create some awesome swag! Have some fun creating a Core Values logo and then put it on everything possible. My favorite is when I see my team proudly sporting a Core Value shirt or hoodie. The possibilities are literally endless! T-shirts, sweatshirts, coffee mugs, hats, stickers, notepads, keychains. You might even consider painting the Core Values logo on the wall in your practice halls or hanging a printed version in every operatory. Like fans of any sports team, you and your team should be proud to wear what you stand for. I love when I see my team members wearing Core Value items. An office I visited recently asked that I come to see what they’d done to their breakroom. When I walked in, I was impressed to see one wall now dedicated to their Core Values. Balance, All In Attitude, The Greater Good, Growth Mindset, and Be The Light. What a fantastic reminder for the whole team! Repeated visual encounters with this sign will only help them bring their Core Values to life every day.
Reward Team Representation
Reward your team for exemplifying a Core Value. Get creative with the way you recognize your Core Values coming to life. When one of your team members represents a core value, honor them with an award of your choosing, even if it’s a simple shout-out. To get the brainstorming going, you could ask your team to submit anonymous stories about each other and vote on the story representing your practice’s core values. The story that wins receives the prize and attention!
Through my experience, I’ve grown to know the importance of showing appreciation for excellent performance by a team member. Adding recognition for demonstrating Core Values will instill in each employee their vital importance and will help bring them out in everyone in your organization.
How do we bring Core Values alive? We say them out loud. We see them on the wall. We wear them proudly on our shirts. We make them palpable through our daily actions. Our behavior screams the core values of our organization. We are proud to show we stand by them.
Now is the time to set up your own Core Values. Then bring them to life by daily discipline to talk about what matters most to you individually and as a team. Talk about your Core Values, refine them, and live by them. If you can make them a priority that will become a part of who you are, this process will be one of the most incredible things you can do as a leader for your team and yourself as you continue to pursue a “Better Practice and a Better Life!” The process can be difficult to navigate alone, schedule a call to discover how our program can reveal and strengthen your Core Values!
About the Author: Kirk Behrendt is the Founder of ACT Dental, a customized coaching company for dentists. He has invested his entire professional life studying the top dental practices in the world and the leadership that guides them.
As the founder of ACT, his vision is driven by the commitment to provide highly personalized care to the dental profession. By creating a talented team of experts, Kirk and his team continue to positively impact the practice of dentistry one practice at a time. His personal mission is to use up every ounce of his potential.