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Ep. 470: Creating a Better Practice & a Better Life, w/Dr. Tito Norris

To build a better practice, you need a key secret ingredient: the best people for your team. And to reveal how to find, hire, and keep a fantastic group of people, Kirk Behrendt brings back Dr. Tito Norris to help you set the foundation for your best possible practice. From self-care to core values, he shares how he created his better practice so he could enjoy a better life. To learn how you can achieve the same, listen to Episode 470 of The Best Practices Show!

Main Takeaways:

  • Core values are the foundation of your practice.
  • Don’t get sucked into the growth mentality.
  • Care for your physical and mental self.
  • Balance your drive and your time.
  • Schedule a time to relax.


  • “It’s really easy to get sucked into this growth mentality and, ‘I’ve got to be bigger. I’ve got to be a better provider.’ There’s competition with your colleagues and your classmates and your competitors, and all this kind of stuff. And all that stuff is good. It’s healthy because that’s what drives us. Especially people who are in the dental profession, very often, tend to be very driven. They’re very Type A. But you’ve got to balance that with sharpening the saw and with coming home at the end of the day and being able to give your family the best of you rather than just the rest of you.” (4:49—5:31)
  • “It’s really difficult to take care of everything else if you don’t first take care of yourself.” (6:13—6:17)
  • “A lot of my friends ask me, ‘Tito, how do you do it? How do you take off that much time?’ And I say, ‘The answer is simple. I schedule it.’ I open up my 2022, 2023 calendar. It’s already done. So, all the meetings I want to go to, all the vacations I want to go on, it’s already done. It’s in the books. It’s in the calendar. And guess what? The time that’s left over, that’s when I see patients.” (8:07—8:32)
  • “Number one, take care of yourself. And part of that is the physical itself. But then, the other part is really taking that time off for your mental self as well and finding whatever it is that helps that mental balance.” (8:54—9:12)
  • “We whittled, and whittled, and boiled it down to seven things that are now the foundation of our practice. And I say foundation because now it’s like, ‘How on earth did we ever operate without them?’ Because now, we hire using our core values. We interview our new candidates, and we say, ‘Okay, does this person fit our core values?’ And we fire by our core values, and we discipline by core values, and we reward by core values. It’s a complete foundation of the people portion of our practice — which is our practice. Your practice is your people.” (11:53—12:37)
  • “Let me give you our [eight] core values: [I’M TO LEAD]. Innovative. That’s the “I”. Mindset — having a positive mindset. Team before self. Having Ownership mentality in everything that you do. Being a Lifelong Learner. Being Efficient with your time, with your energy, with your resources. Attention to detail. And I would’ve said Disney-type service, but we upped it just a bit. It’s making Disney jealous.” (16:47—17:26)
  • “I love Tom Landry, the coach of the Dallas Cowboys. A legendary coach. And he used to always say, ‘Hire the athlete, not the position.’ That was his quote. So, if you can find someone who’s got the right stuff, whether that’s a server at a restaurant — they’re all over the place. You’ve just got to find them, and you’ve got to make them a better offer. Now, what does that mean? That’s not always just money.” (22:59—23:27)
  • “The main thing is having the right person. If you’ve got the right person, they’ll basically find the right seat. Not always. Sometimes, they need a little guidance and direction and support. But that’s the key, number one, because [you can have the] right person, wrong seat.” (30:27—30:45)
  • “What you can never resolve, really, is the wrong person, right seat. And when we say wrong person, literally, what that means is somebody who doesn’t subscribe to the core values.” (31:21—31:37)
  • “If you are out in the world and living, then you’re meeting and interacting with people. And when you interact with someone who makes you feel good, bring it up. Say, ‘Listen, I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a dentist, and we have an amazing team. And I think you’d be a fantastic addition to the team.’ ‘But I don’t have any experience.’ ‘Well, it’s no problem. We can train you. If we’ve got the right person, we can provide that training. You’ve got that special something that we’re looking for.” (34:47—35:18)


  • 0:00 Introduction.
  • 2:58 Dr. Norris’s background.
  • 4:40 Advice for life balance.
  • 9:32 Everything revolves around your core values.
  • 12:42 Lessons learned from before and after core values.
  • 14:35 Dr. Norris’s eight core values: I’M TO LEAD.
  • 17:51 How Dr. Norris uses core values in his practice.
  • 19:50 Hire the athlete, not the position.
  • 25:37 What dentists get wrong about empowering their team.
  • 28:00 The accountability chart.
  • 29:55 How to handle difficult conversations with a team member.
  • 34:03 Advice for finding the right people.
  • 35:53 Prove that core values are alive.
  • 39:28 Last thoughts on core values.

Reach Out to Dr. Norris:

Dr. Norris’s Facebook:

Dr. Norris’s social media: @tito.norris


The Norris Experience – October 21 to 22, 2022:

The Norris 20/26 Bracket System:


Dr. Tito Norris Bio:

Dr. Robert Norris is devoted to creating smiles for a lifetime. His unique background in mechanical engineering provides him with a distinct advantage in mastering the forces, vectors, and movements inherent in performing orthodontic treatment.

  • Dr. Norris attended The University of Texas at Austin where he received his bachelor’s degree with honors in Biology and a minor in Mechanical Engineering.
  • He was salutatorian of his dental school class at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School.
  • He completed a General Practice Residency at the V.A. Hospital in Washington, D.C.
  • He completed his orthodontics specialty training at Howard University and graduated as valedictorian with the highest GPA in the Orthodontic Department’s 25-year history.

Dr. Norris joined the Air Force and served as Chief of Orthodontics at Misawa Air Base, Japan. Here, he provided orthodontic care to service members and their families.

In 2007, he began work to make his office completely “green.” The office is part of a volunteer renewable energy program with CPS known as Windtricity. In April 2008, he completed a solar energy project at his orthodontic practice with the installation of 80 solar panels, providing 16 kW of electricity.

In 2010, he completed his office expansion, making it the first LEED-Certified orthodontic office in the world. LEED is Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design and is the U.S. Government’s stamp of approval on environmentally responsible office construction.

Dr. Norris is a resident of San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife and three children. As a Texas native, he grew up in Kingsville. He enjoys snow skiing, cycling, swimming, strength training, boating, hiking, and kayaking. Dr. Norris has lectured throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. His scientific papers have been published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Seminars in Orthodontics, as well as Clinical Impressions. To date, Dr. Norris and Simone are enjoying their proudest accomplishments, their three children.


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