A Free Fall Lesson in Leadership

“I wanna glide down over Mulholland, I wanna write her name in the sky.” This line for the hit could be related to the importance of setting goals and striving to achieve them as a leader.

“I’m gonna free fall out into nothin’, gonna leave this world for a while.” This line could be related to the idea of taking risks as a leader and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone in order to achieve success.

Tom Petty’s iconic song “Free Fallin'” reached a significant milestone on the Billboard charts. According to Billboard, the hit song spent 46 weeks on the Hot 100 chart, peaking at number seven in 1990. The song also spent 20 weeks on the Adult Contemporary chart, peaking at number one.

Gravity is an unstoppable force that has a way of bringing everything back down to earth. Fighting against it can be futile and exhausting, and the same can be said about leadership. In order to be effective, leaders must learn to stop fighting gravity and instead, embrace it as a powerful ally. 

Recently, my family took a trip to Disneyland for spring break. Our favorite is The Guardians of the Galaxy ride. If you’ve never been, it is a thrilling experience that takes you on a free fall through space. As the ride begins, riders are lifted to the top of the tower and then suddenly dropped, experiencing a feeling of weightlessness as they plummet back down to earth. This feeling of free fall can be unnerving the first time you ride, but it is so fun! Once you learn to embrace the drop, you want to go twice. Just like the riders on the Guardians of the Galaxy ride, practice owners and leaders must learn to let go of their fear and embrace the unknown.

In order to be successful leaders, we must be flexible and adaptable. As pastor John Maxwell said, “Successful leaders are willing to adapt or change their course when it becomes necessary.” This means that leaders must be willing to let go of their preconceived notions and be open to new ideas and perspectives. By doing so, leaders can build stronger teams and create a more positive work environment.

President Abraham Lincoln also understood the importance of flexibility and adaptability in leadership. He once said, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” This quote speaks to the importance of transparency in leadership and the need for leaders to be honest with their teams. By doing so, leaders can build trust and inspire their teams to work together towards a common goal.

Coach Phil Jackson also understood the importance of flexibility in leadership. He once said, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” This quote speaks to the importance of teamwork and the need for leaders to be flexible in order to build strong teams. By valuing each member of the team and recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, you can develop a sound culture of collaboration and support in your practice.

Flexibility is a crucial trait for effective leadership in today’s fast-paced and rapidly changing business environment. Practice Leaders who are able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances, embrace new ideas and technologies, and remain open to feedback from your team members will keep you better equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities that arise in the workplace.

Here are three key principles on staying flexible in order to succeed.

Firstly, flexibility allows you to respond to changing market conditions and shifting customer demands. In today’s consolidating practice environment, you must be agile and responsive in order to remain competitive. The advantage of “small” business is being able to pivot quickly, adjust your strategies, and capitalize on emerging trends and being more likely to succeed in this dynamic patient environment. By being rigid and inflexible, you risk competing with DSOs and losing market share. My favorite is to adapt your membership plan to meet the market and services your patients are looking for. Not by trying to mimic insurance.

Secondly, flexibility fosters innovation and creativity within a practice. Stay open to new ideas and be willing to experiment with different approaches. Your team members will be more likely to feel empowered to take risks and propose creative solutions to problems. This will also grow the membership component of your practice.  

Finally, flexibility builds trust and collaboration among your team members. When you are willing to listen to feedback from your team members, consider different viewpoints, and adjust your strategies accordingly, team members feel valued and respected. This fosters a sense of trust and collaboration that can improve communication, boost morale, and ultimately lead to better patient and profit outcomes. Memberships are a fantastic way in my experience to build profit, value and help your patients feel and see the success they are able to achieve, without boundaries.

By remaining open to new ideas, embracing innovation and experimentation, and building trust and collaboration among team members, you can position your practice for success in years to come.

A “Free Fall” serves as a healthy reminder that sometimes we must stop fighting gravity and instead, embrace it as a powerful ally. As leaders, we must learn to let go of our fear and be open to new ideas and perspectives. By doing so, we can build stronger teams and create a more positive practice growth environment. 

Have a great week!

The Commoditization of Dentistry

There is a concept that has become increasingly relevant in today’s globalized practice marketplace – commoditization. The term “commoditization” refers to the process by which goods or services become interchangeable with one another, thereby eroding the uniqueness and value of individual offerings. 

Back in undergrad, I read a thought provoking book that created a long lasting effect on my view of owning a business. In his book “The World Is Flat,” Thomas Friedman argues that commoditization is becoming an increasingly pressing concern in many industries, including healthcare.

Friedman writes that “in a flat world, you can innovate without having to emigrate.” This means that technological advances and the global market have made it easier for companies to create and distribute goods and services around the world, without the need to physically relocate their operations. This has led to a proliferation of businesses that offer similar products and services, which can make it difficult for any one company to stand out.

This trend has been particularly noticeable in the healthcare industry, where we have seen the rise of companies such as Smile Direct Club and 1-800 Contacts. These businesses offer a do-it-yourself approach to healthcare services, which can be more convenient and affordable for consumers than traditional offerings. However, they also pose a threat to traditional healthcare providers, who may struggle to compete with these new entrants in the market.

Friedman warns that this trend towards commoditization can lead to a “race to the bottom,” where companies compete solely on price rather than quality or innovation. This can ultimately undermine the value of the goods and services being offered, and lead to a situation where everyone loses.

In the case of Smile Direct Club and other DIY orthodontic slingers, this race to the bottom can be seen in the way that these companies have attempted to undercut traditional orthodontic providers by offering their services at a lower price point. However, as many healthcare professionals have pointed out, these services often come at a cost in terms of quality and safety, as patients may not receive the same level of care and attention that they would from a licensed orthodontist.

Similarly, 1-800 Contacts has commoditized the contact lens industry by offering customers the ability to order their lenses online, often at a lower price than they would pay at their local optometrist. While this may be more convenient for consumers, it has also led to concerns about the quality and safety of the lenses being sold, as well as the long-term impact on the optometry industry as a whole.

So what can we do to address the issue of commoditization in healthcare? Friedman suggests that the key is to focus on innovation and differentiation. By developing new and innovative approaches to healthcare delivery, we can create value for our patients that goes beyond simply offering a lower price point. This may include investing in new technologies, developing personalized treatment plans, and creating a more patient-centric approach to care.

Additionally, we can work to educate patients  about the risks and limitations of DIY healthcare services, and highlight the value of working with licensed professionals. By emphasizing the importance of quality and safety, we can help to shift the conversation away from price alone and towards a more holistic view of healthcare delivery.

Commoditization is a significant challenge facing many industries today, including healthcare. However, by focusing on innovation, differentiation, and quality, we can work to create value for our patients and compete effectively in the marketplace. As Thomas Friedman writes, “In the flat world, you can innovate without having to emigrate.” Let us embrace this spirit of innovation and work together to build a dental practice membership network that is both sustainable and patient-centered.

Have a productive week!

Dear Valued Patients

I hope this email finds you well. I am excited to announce that we have added two new doctors to our dental practice to serve you better. More on them to come in future emails and newsletters, as well as the reasons I think you’ll love them and the added new benefits that come with being a patient at our office.

So why more doctors?

Well, for two major reasons:

  1. To meet the increased demands for our services. There simply isn’t enough time in the day for me to see every patient, and dedicate the time needed to grow the practice and make an impact on our community and the level of “Gold Star Service” we provide.
  1. As we’ve added more services, I am dedicating more of my time to Smile Transformation, TMJ/Botox, and Sleep Apnea treatment where our patients need me the most. This requires alot of time and resources, as well as specialized training. 

The decision to expand our team was also made to better serve you and meet the increased demand for our cosmetic, gum health, preventative, clear braces services.

As you may know, our practice has been growing at a rapid pace over the past few years. I have been fortunate to have such a fantastic group of patients to serve, and it is because of your support that we have been able to expand, impact our community and provide comprehensive services. However, with this growth, my schedule has become increasingly busy, making it difficult for me to provide the same level of care to each and every patient.

That’s why I am thrilled to introduce you to our new doctors, Dr. Marcus Pope and Dr. Beni Carrera. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our practice and are both dedicated to providing the highest level of care to you and our team. 

Dr. Pope graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University and has been practicing for over a decade. He is a member of and leader in the Utah Dental Association, and has received advanced training in restorative dentistry. Dr. Pope has a passion for creating beautiful smiles and helping patients feel better about themselves.

Dr. Carrera grew up in the Chicago area, and received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Utah and completed a General Practice Residency locally as well. She is a member of the American Dental Association and has helped countless patients save their teeth and enhance their smile.

With the addition of Dr. Pope and Dr. Carrera, we are now able to offer even more services to our patients. Whether you are looking to improve the appearance of your smile with cosmetic dentistry or seeking treatment for sleep apnea, our team has the expertise and experience to help.

As always, our practice remains committed to providing the highest level of care to our patients. We believe that every patient deserves individualized attention and care, and we are dedicated to making sure you receive the treatment you need to achieve your oral health goals.

Thank you for your continued trust and support. We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment and introducing you to our new doctors.

Have a great week!

Don’t forget  you can automatically be entered to win a Botox treatment for headaches, TMJ or aging/wrinkles this month. Click, call or text for details on how to be entered to win.

Big Dental Practices Can’t Afford “Stupid”

Did you ever see the 1988 classic movie “Big” with Tom Hanks? Recently I was at a workshop in Santa Monica and I saw one of the Zoltar machines as seen in the movie, which reminded me of the story.

The story follows Josh, a 12-year-old boy who, after making a wish at a carnival fortune-telling machine, wakes up the next day as a 30-year-old man.

As an adult, Josh initially struggles to find a job and a place to live, but he eventually lands a job at a toy company where he excels in his work, thanks to his unique perspective as a child trapped in an adult’s body. He also falls in love with his coworker Susan, but their relationship becomes complicated as Josh’s true identity is revealed.

The film explores the themes of childhood, adulthood, and the importance of staying true to oneself. It was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $151 million at the box office and receiving numerous award nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for Tom Hanks.

Which begs the question, do you want to be BIG, or just profitable?

Too many practice owners today are running around scared. Scared of competition, DSOs, insurance and a race to the bottom in price. But you don’t have to participate. Big can be good, but big alone does not make someone better.

One of my absolute favorite business books of all time is The Road Less Stupid by Keith J. Cunningham. Keith is an entrepreneur and author who has helped thousands of businesses worldwide. In his book, he shares valuable insights on how to avoid “stupid” mistakes and improve business performance. Here are six key principles from his book that you can implement in your practice today, to avoid “stupid” and costly mistakes:

  1. Clarify your thinking: Understand the importance of clear thinking to make smart decisions. Take the time to think through your practice profit an growth problems and identify the root causes. Use “thinking time” 2-3 days a week for 20-50 minutes to brainstorm ideas, ask questions, and develop a plan of action. I promise it can be some of the most productive and profitable time you spend each week.
  1. Ask better questions: Asking the right questions is key to making better decisions in your practice. When making big decisions, ask”what if” questions to anticipate problems and avoid mistakes. Constantly challenge assumptions and test ideas of the industry norms and common practices in our profession. Be able to live with the upside and downside of your decisions.
  1. Learn from mistakes: This one is tough for many of us, but I’ve learned that by embracing failure as a learning opportunity, we can really grow and our true personality surfaces. As long as you analyze your mistakes and identifying the lessons learned, you are on the right path. Use these lessons to improve your processes and avoid similar, costly, “dumb tax” mistakes in the future.
  1. Focus on the critical factors: Identify the critical factors that drive practice performance. Focus on the key drivers of success and allocating resources accordingly. Monitor your progress and adjust course as needed. Use a weekly practice growth scorecard to measure and monitor your numbers. 
  1. Communicate effectively: I believe that effective communication is not only essential for practice success, but can eliminate or reduce 99% of our problems as business owners. Use clear, concise language to communicate ideas and expectations. Listen to your team managers and top performers actively and seek feedback to improve your communication.
  1. Take action:Take action today to achieve your goals. Set specific, measurable targets and develop an action plan. Break down your complex goals into smaller, achievable 90 day milestones and track your progress.

By applying these principles in your personal and professional life, you will see and feel the financial, interpersonal and cultural changes in your practice. I know they have helped me immensely. 

If you’d like help with implementing them, or just don’t know where to start, then you should apply to join our next 6 week Advanced Membership Mastery Network mastermind group. You can learn more and apply at yourpracticegrowth.com/amm

Have a great week!

Would Warren Buffet Buy Your Practice?

I hope this message finds you in good health and good wealth. Today, I wanted to share with you some key principles that I believe Warren Buffett would evaluate if he were to buy your practice today. As one of the most successful investors in the world, he has shared many ideas over the years about life and business. Here are what I believe to be the top 7 most relevant to practice owners: 

  1. Keep things simple: Warren Buffett believes in keeping things simple and avoiding unnecessary complexity. He follows the KISS principle – Keep It Simple, Stupid. In his own words, “I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.”
    • Don’t overcomplicate your practice or chase shiny objects. 
  1. Invest in yourself: Buffett stresses the importance of investing in yourself, whether it’s reading books, attending conferences or improving your skills. He says, “The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”
    • This doesn’t mean simply to take more CE courses or learn new procedures, but rather how to be a leader and investor in your business. These are far more valuable skills than just clinical skills alone, and they allow you to teach and train your team to replicate your clinical care.  
  1. Practice patience: Warren Buffett is known for his long-term perspective on investing. He believes in buying good companies and holding on to them for years. He advises, “Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”
    • Future revenue is more important than today’s revenue. Although both matter, you are in it for the long haul, to build a valuable asset that you can one day sell for multiples on your initial investment. Plus it creates jobs and expands your local economy. 
  1. Manage Risk: As he says, you should not test the depth of a river with both feed in the water.
    • Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Don’t get too many baskets either.
  1. Don’t save what’s left over, spend what’s left over after saving.
    • Another great book on this is Profit First or Profit First for Dentists. You can look back on older episodes of our podcast for more info on this, but it’s a great way to manage your expenses. Always pay yourself and your practice first, and have a profit account setup with your bank. 
  1. Surround yourself with the right people: Buffett believes in surrounding himself with people who share his values and vision. He advises, “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours, and you’ll drift in that direction.” He once said, “In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”
    • Develop a hiring process (if you don’t have one, feel free to contact us for a copy), and stick to it. Only hire “A Players” and don’t settle for B’s and C’s.
  1. Honest advice is an expensive gift. He says, “The more you learn, the more you earn.”
    • Don’t expect honest advice from cheap people. Pay to be part of coaching and mastermind groups, this has been one of the most motivating, fun and high ROI activities I’ve been a part of over 13 years of practice ownership. 

I hope these principles will be helpful to you in both your personal and professional life. If you have any thoughts or questions about these principles, please do not hesitate to reach out to us, or join our next Advanced Membership Mastery mastermind group at yourpracticegrowth.com/amm.