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Episode #562: The Missing Ingredient to Team Trust, with Adriana Booth

Do you want two-way trust with great team members? Then you need the missing ingredient that dentists often ignore! To talk about what that is and how to build it into your practice, Kirk Behrendt brings back Adriana Booth, one of ACT’s amazing coaches, to share her insight into the secret element that makes businesses great. Add this missing ingredient, and it will change your practice and your life! To learn more about what it is and how to use it, listen to Episode 562 of The Best Practices Show!

Episode Resources:

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Traction by Gino Wickman:

Main Takeaways:

Connection, conversation, communication, and core values lead to trust.

Your core values are the foundation to developing your team’s trust.

Live by your core values, and you will attract the right people.

Become the CRO (chief repeating officer) of core values.

Connection is the key to long-lasting relationships.


“At the root of it, we love people, and we love to help people. I think that’s most of us, especially in the dental field. We are there to help. We are there to serve. And when we think about that connection, when you truly get to know people and you’re empathetic, sympathetic — to a point — and you know who they truly are and how they work, obviously, you are like birds of a feather. You start to attract like-minded people. And all of a sudden, you’ll end up with a team who have all these similarities and respect for one another. They have a connection. And what happens next is pretty easy. It’s that trust. We don’t have to fight for trust, at that point.” (5:04—5:52) -Adriana

“[Trust is impossible if you’re missing] connection, conversation, communication, and core values.” (6:17—6:22) -Adriana

“I can’t lean on the core values if I don’t know the core values. And so, I think one of the things that you have to do in order to build something that’s trustworthy, long term, very healthy, it has got to be built on the right values. And you know this, your favorite people care about the same things that you care about. So, my question to you is, what do you care about as a dentist? Once you figure that out and put those out there, it’s your favorite thing, ever.” (6:41—7:04) -Kirk

“[You] have to keep [core values] in front of you. That’s why we put it on shirts. We put it on our water bottles. We have it on stickers. At any given time, when I walk into a practice that I’m coaching and if I ask the team, ‘Hey, tell me what your core values are again,’ and they don’t know them, it’s a little bit of a heartbreak for me because I know, at that time, the doctor can’t be that committed to their core values if his or her team doesn’t know them by heart.” (7:35—8:03) -Adriana

“I’ll give you the secret today of how to find the right people. It’s super simple. And I didn’t come up with this. It’s actually from Gino Wickman, if you read the book, Traction. Finding the right people in your practice, they have two things — not 90. They share your core values, and they get results. Period. When you create a team of people that, number one, share your core values, they’re all-in on your values and they get results, you’re killing it. And you don’t even know why. If you’re missing one of those two, you’re miserable and your brain is headed in that direction.” (8:39—9:15) -Kirk

“[When I talk about conversations], I’m not talking about the hallway drive-by conversations, the lunch time chats. It’s truly what we call here at ACT a check-in. We have a form. It is very structured. That’s a thing that I always explain to my teams is, at ACT, yes, we might be a little off-the-cuff sometimes, and we like to customize everything for our clients. But at the same time, as much as we like fun and off-the-cuff, we really love structure because we want repeatable processes. So, we want to give each of your team members the same opportunity to check in with the doctor, owner, manager, their team lead, however we want to structure that, to have time, one on one, have goals. We have a little bit of fun or fluff in there, a little bit of personal connection, and we leave with priorities in what’s next steps so that we have a follow-up. And we always leave with a next appointment scheduled, just like our patients.” (9:30—10:33) -Adriana

“Here’s my question to you, as a dentist. Do you love your team? And everyone goes, ‘Yes, I do.’ Well, what do you do that supports what you just said? And having a regular check-in — again, we didn’t come up with this. We had a coach that made us do regular check-ins. And I thought they were kind of hokey at first. Now, I’m like, ‘This is the most important thing you could ever do.’” (10:50—11:10) -Kirk

“[At check-ins], we’re going to also mix [personal high, personal low, professional high, professional low, core values, and priorities] in with, how can leadership help the team member? Because there might be something that me, as a team member, thinks of. And I covet my time with Christina, who I do my check-ins with, and Kirk, because that is my time to say, ‘Hey, how could I improve? What do you see from the outside that I can do a little bit better? And I would like to work on X, Y, Z. Do you have any ideas for me? Do you have any resources?’ And that’s exactly what your team members will do. It becomes this two-way conversation that is directed by the team member.” (11:36—12:17) -Adriana

“A key ingredient [to check-ins] is having it on the schedule, having a time block, making sure you’re sticking to that time block. Fifteen minutes is pretty good, pretty common. Some will do 30, if they want to maybe grab a bite to eat in that time. They’ll say, ‘Hey, how could I help you? How are you helping yourself?’ so that it’s not just you, as a team member, relying on your manager or your owner to do it for you. It’s a little bit more self-guided. You want to have that sheet printed. They fill it out and turn it in at least a day prior so you, as the manager or owner, can review it, make your own notes, because you want to show that team member it’s valuable to you as well.” (12:18—13:04) -Adriana

“You’re changing the whole annual review conversation. Now, having a regular check-in, and you’re talking about results and priorities, it makes it so easy for both of you, the employer and the employee, to talk about a raise, if that’s on the board. Because somebody that’s bringing big results — and we’ve talked about you’re coaching them on a regular basis, and it’s a regular system, and they run the meeting. It’s powerful because now it becomes a hugely healthy opportunity.” (14:08—14:40) -Kirk

“In a world where we hear dentists all the time say, ‘I can’t find great people out there. Our practice is growing,’ and in the same breath, the dentist talks about the dentistry, the patients, how big it is, and a second location, and they can’t even remember team members’ names. And I’m like, ‘Oh, you’re forgetting the single-most important ingredient to how all this works, which is team members that trust you.’” (14:44—15:08) -Kirk

“I’ve just walked through this with a client who, she’s a great leader. She’s really team oriented. The beauty in [check-ins] was, she said, ‘My team member came to me, and she had copies of the last year of her check-ins.’ And they only do check-ins about every other month. And she said, ‘Hey, I want to show you my timeline. These are the things you told me to work on. And look, I’ve done all of these things.’ And she said, ‘Now, where do I go from here?’ She was sitting there ready for the, ‘I want more money,’ conversation, but it was the opposite. The team member is now so invested in that relationship, in the business, like, ‘How else can I help?’ And that’s the key. Once we get on the same page with core values, we’re connected, they are bought in, they care about your business as much as you do, at this point, and then that ball will keep rolling.” (15:22—16:19) -Adriana

“If I’m a team member working for you, and you’re the dentist, and you’re sitting down with me and we’re talking about core values and results, you can see how this relationship changes. You change from the boss to someone’s coach. And you’re all dreaming of that. We don’t know how to do it until we have a system. So, we’re giving you the system today.” (16:21—16:41) -Kirk

“The missing ingredient to team trust is you’ve got to have core values, and you’ve got to have a system like a check-in. Look at your practice as a garden. It’s a beautiful garden, and the garden needs care. Weeds will come into the garden. If you don’t weed the garden, the weeds take the garden. The garden also needs fertilizer. It needs water. It needs some good sunshine. So, it requires proactive care. And so, what we’re suggesting here is use the good care, which is all these things that we’ve mentioned, so that your team continues to grow, because it’s only going to get a little bit weirder for a while in the employment market.” (17:09—17:44) -Kirk

“Once you get good people, good people attract more good people. That’s the key. And when you’re valued at your place of employment, it doesn’t become a job. You want to be there. And you want good people to be there with you. You get really picky. You get really picky about who you work with, how they show up, how they behave, and you become invested. And now, as the owner, weight is off of your shoulders a little bit because your team is doing a lot of the, ‘We don’t act like that here. Oh, no. No, no. We don’t do that. This is how we behave. This is what we believe. Come on. Fall in line, or you’re going to have to get off the bus.’” (17:56—18:38) -Adriana

“It gets picky on both sides of things. You get picky because you’re attracting a higher quality team member. The team members also get picky about who comes into the fold too. They’ll chew up and spit somebody out who’s not playing along with the core values.” (18:42—18:55) -Kirk

“Core values are not feelings. They’re not aspirational words like “excellence” and “awesomeness”. They’re behaviors at the workplace that you’ve completely enforced that are true behaviors that you like to see, like all-in attitude, we before me. And when you do that, you can see everybody starts to buy in to the behaviors, and it becomes something super special.” (18:59—19:24) -Kirk

“I absolutely love [core values]. This is my favorite thing of all time, because if I would’ve known about this in my 20s, that would’ve saved me a lot of stomach lining. And people often dismiss core values as, ‘Oh, that was way back in the ‘70s and the ‘80s.’ No. Look at any big brand today. No matter who it is, if they’re strong and they have an incredible following and support structure and trust with team members, you’re going to see it’s bound by core values.” (19:26—19:51) -Kirk

“Once you start seeing core values in your own practice, you’ll go to the smallest store, and you’re waiting to cash out — if there’s even a human there, because we talked about AI is taking over your self-checkout, you’ve got your virtual card, your Apple Pay — and you see their core values posted. And you’re like, ‘What? They even have core values here? That’s awesome!’” (19:57—20:21) -Adriana

“Human beings don’t even absorb anything — they have to hear it seven times, seven different ways, for them to even initially adopt it. And core values are like the bound structure — think about at home. Do you mention it one time to your kids? No! You become the CRO, chief repeating officer. There are things I’ve said in my house so many times that the walls could repeat it. But they’re value-based things. Same thing applies in a great practice. Any great leader repeats the same things over and over. But they’re the things that matter, not, ‘Did you do this? Did you do that?’ I’m not talking about micromanaging. I’m talking about, ‘We do this because. We behave this way. We are this kind of people. We believe this.’ And so, you can’t do it once. And then, you’ve got to find different ways to make them come alive, whether they be medals, whether they be stories, whether they be Instagram posts. That’s a game that we’re always trying to figure out, how do we do this? How do we bring it alive?” (20:45—21:44) -Kirk

“We’re huge proponents of two hours, weekly meetings. And that’s a piece of that meeting rhythm that is very structured. We talk about the core values every single meeting. We rate them. How often are they showing up? How do they show up? How do they show up in our team and out to our community? And if we aren’t doing that every single week on some level, I promise you, you’re not living your core values, and they’re not that important to you.” (21:47—22:16) -Adriana

“The more you lean into what we’ve talked about today, which is the secret ingredient — which is core values — the more you lean into it, I promise you, the less crazy stuff you deal with.” (22:20—22:29) -Kirk

“A few last ingredients that I would say is connection. Connection is the key to long-lasting relationships, in general, but especially with your team members. Get connected. Do your check-ins. Build that value for the relationship and lean hard on your core values. It will totally change your practice and change your life.” (22:52—23:13) -Adriana


0:00 Introduction.

2:08 Adriana’s background.

2:57 Why this is an important topic for dentistry.

5:55 The missing ingredient to trust.

7:05 Live your core values.

8:35 Have regular check-ins.

10:34 The structure and logistics of check-ins.

14:40 Check-ins help your team be invested.

16:19 Attract great team members with core values.

18:55 Core values are everywhere.

20:21 You can’t just tell team members once.

22:17 Last thoughts.

Adriana Booth, BS, RDH Bio:

Adriana Booth is a Lead Practice Coach who partners with dentists and their teams to cultivate leadership skills, build practice growth, and streamline business practices. After spending nearly two decades in the dental industry working with top-notch dental teams, Adriana came to ACT to share her passion for professional growth, high-level training, and systems creation with our clients.

As a dental hygienist with a love for continuing education and personal growth, helping a practice become successful is at the heart of her passion for dentistry.

Adriana has a B.S. in Dental Hygiene from West Liberty University/O’Hehir University. By being involved in several Columbus, Ohio, study clubs, Adriana maintains strong relationships within her local dental community. She enjoys a variety of fitness activities, family time, good books, and at the top of her list, her fur babies.


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