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Three Leaders. Three Habits.

In our last installment of the Leadership Corner Blog, The Worst Advice I got in Dental School, I introduced the three leaders in your practice: the Entrepreneur, the Boss, and the Clinician. If you are the practice owner and wondering who these three are in your practice, the answer is you. All three are you! 

                                          Screenshot 2024-06-24 at 4.24.34 PM

Let’s look at these three leaders another way. We spent years training to excel at the clinical role and that is why most dentists feel very comfortable functioning in the  “Clinician” role. However, when we bury our heads in the clinical, which is easy to do, and sometimes necessary, we unintentionally harm our business by not allowing the two other leaders to function. This is exactly why so many dentists find leadership so difficult. Not because they can’t do it or don’t have the innate skills to be an effective leader. The #1 reason is that being the Boss or Entrepreneur takes effort, thought, and intentionality.  With all this dentistry to do, who has time for those other two? 

So what is the solution? Simple, and easy. Set up consistent, repeatable habits so the Entrepreneur and Boss are allowed to function and succeed WITHOUT effort from the Clinician. Since most of you are fulfilling all three roles at the same time, let me rephrase it another way; Some key habits can set up the Entrepreneur and Boss to be successful so you can stop worrying about finding the time to function in those roles. When the habits are set up, you can put most of your day to day focus on the dentistry. 

Let’s look at three habits that will give you more time to spend with the “clinician hat” on. 

  1. Effective Weekly Team Meetings - The ACT Communication Rhythm describes a system of meetings and interactions with the foundation being a weekly 2 hour meeting. Teams that meet every week and use that time effectively perform at a higher level. When a team works ON the practice together each week, everyone goes back to work IN the practice with renewed clarity and better understanding of what is most important for them to focus on. Yes, there will be no revenue these two hours and they will prove your most valuable two hours of the week. This is the #1 Habit that separates our great practices from mediocre ones.
  2. 90 Day Mindset - Psychological studies have discussed a 90 day pulse to the focus and attention of humans, especially in business. Given enough time, normally more than 90 days or so, just about all businesses will start moving off track or away from the direction they should be headed. The reasons are numerous but the largest contributor is that without a set pause to re-evaluate progress and our intended direction, we always stray from our goals. The ACT 90 day habit includes time for the entire dental team to plan the next quarter as well as time away from the practice for the Entrepreneur and Boss to work on the business strategy. This just simply cannot be done during normal business operations because there are always small but important fires to put out. The Entrepreneur and Boss both benefit from the chance to think differently about their business and make sure the future strategy is sound. This is exactly what our To The Top Study Club was designed to provide for dental leaders. If you don’t yet have a regularly scheduled retreat to set strategy for your business, join us. 
  3. One on One Check Ins - These don't happen when you "find some time." They are scheduled and followed through on. The Boss needs to drive accountability to the systems and quarterly priorities of the practice. The team will help the Boss get there when they feel seen, heard, and cared for. Check Ins are the quickest and most effective way to get there. The quick explanation is this; The Boss meets with every team member every 1-2 months for a one on one conversation. Our check in agenda allows a personal connection, a business check in, and the ability for the team members to tell the three leaders what they can do to support them. Ongoing one on one check ins is one of the top two cultural habits we see in practices with consistently high quality work culture. 

Take Home Message

The time and effort needed among the three leaders is a balance and you will always spend more hours doing clinical dentistry. This reality requires us to be extremely intentional about being effective as both the entrepreneur and boss during the times we transition to those roles. Our business needs all three and when there is a healthy balance between the three, you will feel your business raise its effectiveness and see the improved results of your efforts. 

These three habits - Weekly meetings, Quarterly To The Top meetings, and Check-ins - set the foundation for all three of your leaders to find the balance they need. Implement these three habits and you can spend more of your time doing what you spent years training for, being a clinician. 

If this blog speaks to some of the anxiety you have been feeling about being the leader, and it seems like an uphill climb, we are here to help.  This is exactly what we do and we are good at it. If you want personalized help, click here for your next step.




Dr. Barrett Straub

Dr. Straub practices general and sedation dentistry in Port Washington, WI. He has worked hard to develop his practice into a top performing fee for service practice that focuses on improving the lives of patients through dentistry. A graduate of Marquette Dental School, his advanced training and CE includes work at the Spear Institute, LVI, DOCS, and as a member of the Milwaukee Study Club. He is a past member of the Wisconsin Dental Association Board of Trustees and was awarded the Marquette Dental School 2017 Young Alumnus of the Year. As a former ACT coaching client that experienced first-hand the transformation that coaching can provide, he is passionate about helping other dentists create the practice they’ve always wanted. Dr. Straub loves to hunt, golf, and spends winter on the ice curling. He is married to Katie with two daughters, Abby, and Elizabeth.