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You have the power to create a world-class dental practice or dental organization. In this post I’m going to delve into three foundational principles that will allow you to build and run a premier dental organization. Our current economic environment is one filled with incredible opportunities for growth; as well as challenges in keeping talented, committed and passionate staff. To meet that challenge, we must also be mindful as business owners to provide the right conditions for our employees to stick around. Both aspects of running a successful dental practice are a lot to think about, balance and juggle.  

The 3 Drivers of Successful Dental Practice Culture 

So, how do you strike that balance between attacking opportunity and nurturing a thriving organizational culture? It starts with the basics: your mission, your values and your norms. These three foundational elements are the backbone of your decisions, your priority-setting and your business cadence. Without them your organization runs the risk of being a rudderless ship foundering in the shallows. So, let’s look at each of these principles one by one, starting with your mission statement.  

Your Mission Statement Defines Culture in Your Dental Practice 

Your mission statement serves as the north star for your dental practice. It defines the purpose and direction of your business. This may seem a bit arbitrary for a dental practice, after all the mission is sort of built into your business structure: take care of people’s teeth. But a mission statement encompasses not just what you do but how your company approaches its work, the purpose of your practice’s existence and its overall objectives.  

Hubspot offers a great resource for understanding and crafting a mission statement that reflects your objective, how you intend to achieve it and the values that will drive your objective. Check it out here

When writing your mission statement, make it clear, simple and inspirational. Your statement should align your purpose and goal with your values. It should also be imbued with a sense of passion that inspires your team and rallies them around your goal and vision. A mission statement isn’t just for your patients to understand you, it’s for your teams to align themselves with what you want to accomplish.  

Values Set the Tone for Team Culture in your Dental Practice 

Values are the principles by which your actions are guided every day, and they are a reflection of your life and what you hold dear. Your company’s core values are the guiding principles that dictate how your employees and your organization operate. They are the moral compass of your business. One big advantage in defining your values and setting guiding principles is that it gives your employees an understanding of what you expect from them and what they can and should expect from you.  

Defining your company’s core values might be daunting if you don’t have a clear understanding of your own personal values. Harvard Business Review has a step-by-step guide to help you assess your personal values.  

Here are some elements to consider when defining your dental practice’s values:  

Norms: The Everyday Behaviors That Build Trust, Communication and Cadence in your Dental Practice  

Norms are the behaviors that govern how your teams interact and work within your dental practice. Norms help set the tone for your practice culture. To establish effective norms: 

Gallup has a wonderful assessment to help you determine and define what norms are currently working in your practice’s team culture and what are not. Having a starting position of current norms allows you to keep what’s working while building on that foundation to include what might be missing.  

Launching your dental practice success

The Synergy of Mission, Values, and Norms for Your Dental Practice Operations

When you combine a clear mission, well-defined values, and strong norms, you create a synergy that can transform your dental practice culture. Through alignment of your mission, values and norms you foster a sense of shared purpose and passion amongst your team; Employee engagement is elevated and remains high when employees understand and believe in the mission and values, they are tasked with achieving. This team behavior leads to higher productivity and satisfaction.

Finally, a strong internal culture driven by mission, values, and norms will also reflect positively on your practice’s reputation in your community; and a well-crafted culture sustains itself over time, making your practice resilient and adaptable in a changing economic landscape. 

A dental practice’s culture is its identity. It sets the tone for how you do business, how you treat your employees, and how you serve your patients and community. Mission, values, and norms provide the essential building blocks for creating a culture that not only attracts top talent but also retains it, while also earning you a stellar reputation in the marketplace. Invest time and effort in crafting and nurturing these elements, and you’ll see your practice flourish and thrive. 

Recently, I published my book, Extraction: The Surprising New Formula to Systemize, Scale and Sell Your Business. In it, I talk extensively about the mission, values and norms that guided my success in scaling my organization. As a newly minted dentist out of dental school, I didn’t have a business plan. That’s not something you get in dental school. All I had were the values that my parents instilled me. My mission came later.

Along the way I made a lot of mistakes but learning to rely on my vision, my values and eventually the passion that became my mission, I was able to overcome tremendous obstacles and challenges, alonside the team that helped build that enduring legacy. If you would like to read more of my story, click the image below.

Extraction by Dr. Jack Bayramyan - Dental Practice