Salt Shaker Leadership

If you own a practice, you need to read or listen to this book!

It’s called Setting the Table, by Danny Meyer. He’s the guy who started Shake Shack and many other successful restaurants.

He teaches multiple principles in the book that are just as applicable to a restaurant as they are a dental practice, such as:

  • Make the service and hospitality more valuable than the product
  • Reinforcing culture in your business as the owner
  • A culture of going above and beyond for guests
  • An unwavering commitment to excellence

My favorite principal from the book is a story Danny was taught by one of his mentors about putting a salt shaker in the middle of the table.

The concept is this: if a salt shaker in the middle of a dining table represents the culture and core values of your office you will need to constantly re-center it. Someone is always moving it slightly, or even way off center.

Who is moving it? It is usually a combination, but this includes your team members, vendors, and even you, if you lose sight of what you are doing. Your job as the leader and owner of the practice is not to be mad or upset with people for moving the salt shaker, but rather to continually reinforce how important it is to center the salt shaker, and to establish a culture in your office that is totally committed to this principle.

I know another small business owner who owns a successful, made from scratch pizza restaurant in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Recently he had a vendor stop in and offer to let them try a bottle of a new barbecue sauce they were selling. He politely declined, and said that if the sales rep left it with them, that bottle could accidentally be used by one of their team members who could accidentally put it on a pizza, and it would totally breach the culture of “made from scratch“ in the restaurant. 

He demonstrated an unwavering value and commitment to excellence.

The question is: how will you “re-center“ salt salt shaker in your practice this week?

I recommend you read or listen to this book and I’d love to hear more about how it helped you!

Have a great week and please share your thoughts,
challenges and successes by commenting below!

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