In your dental practice, culture is king. When I first met Jack Bayramyan, I was skeptical. A dental practice owner, I could tell right away that he was a nice person, but I had no idea what he valued, what his priorities were or the vision he wanted to achieve. However, all that changed during the course of a day.  

What started out as an intro meeting with Jack and bankers about money and investment, eventually turned into a meandering discussion between Jack and I about culture. In the video below, you’ll see, at one point during that pivotal day, Jack asked me aside for a private conversation. I assumed he just wanted to get to know me, so I obliged because I was interested in the same thing.  

Sitting in a room full of bankers or investors, the discussions tend to focus on one thing: money. But Jack was savvy enough to look beyond those discussions and I was curious as well. During that private conversation, I really got to know Jack, the human being. And maybe even more importantly, I got to know how he worked as an entrepreneur.  

In Your Dental Practice Culture Begins with You 

I’m a talker. I love to talk, but I think that is a by-product of my real passion, which is teaching. Teaching requires two fundamental components: talking and listening. So, in my initial private conversation with Jack, I went first. I opened up and spoke from the heart about the things that mattered most to me in my organization, what did I have to lose?  

I spoke about my values, my goals, and most importantly to me, the culture of my company and how it was created. And I’m glad I had the courage to open up and speak on that level to someone I had just met. Turns out, he shared my opinions on those topics and was inspired to speak from the heart as well. We found we had three primary areas of focus when it came to building an organization: 

Any organization, whether it is successful or not, is built on the foundation of the culture of the people that work in that organization. You can have a counterproductive culture built on the naked ambition of the people working within that culture. But you can also build an organization on a culture of compassion, open-mindedness and balance. Many times, it is the values of the leader that begin and build that culture. But if you have an absent CEO, or a leader whose values are based in, say, greed, selfishness and a “my way or the highway” attitude, that will be the driving foundation of the culture that is built.  

So, as a dental entrepreneur, if you want a culture that reflects your values, you need to show up and pay attention to your leadership style, your willingness to change and your focus on a growth mindset. If you’re not paying attention to these things, your dental practice’s culture will be formed by the dominant personalities within your organization. That may or may not be a good thing, but it won’t be intentional.  

The Power of Partnership – Part 3 

Who is Going to Drive Your Vision in Your Dental Practice?  

The second area of focus as a leader is learning to pay attention. You may be intentional in the values and tone you set to build that culture, but it will ultimately be your teams living and working within the framework of that culture that will build and expand upon it.  

So, it’s your job to continually observe, listen and speak from an intentional position. You can’t just build the foundation of something and walk away expecting people to just pick it up and run toward the finish line. As a leader in your dental practice, you must pay attention to the tone you set and the tone your teams keep: are they in alignment? And if not, it’s your job to get your teams refocused on the tone and values you’ve set. For us, at OPS this comes in the form of weekly check-ins and a weekly company huddle as well as quarterly meetings keeping us focused on our vision and culture.  

You may have a very clear vision of where you want to take your organization, but if you don’t have buy-in from your team, you won’t get there. And buy-in comes from team members who want to see you, their organization and themselves succeed. If they don’t have hope that they will succeed, if they feel your eye is not on the ball or if they feel they ‘re just clocking into a job with no future for them, they won’t have the cohesion to rise to the level you need to reach your goals. It starts with you.  

Finally, the third focus is learning to stay aware of how culture transforms over time. It is the relationships within your organization that will dictate how this culture changes and adapts as your dental practice grows and expands. How your culture changes and adapts is dependent on the top team members and how they translate your values and vision company wide. 

If you’re not checking in with your leadership teams regularly and mentoring their leadership styles and directives, the culture you meticulously built in the beginning will erode over time and collapse even as your organization expands and grows. That’s where a lot of scaling organizations run off the tracks, because they can’t contain the fallout that permeates the culture through its growth.  

It Always Starts at the Top in Your Dental Practice 

So, whether you’re building the culture, choosing the people who will live in that culture or caring for it over time, it is your attention and focus on the culture staying healthy, nimble and cohesive that will steer the ship toward your vision.  

And this is what I found out during my conversation that day with Jack. He shared that same level of attention to culture that I have. He knows that to reach his vision he needed a healthy, strong cohesive team and he knew that team had to last the distance to eventually reach his vision. By the time we met, he had reached his vision, so he had a roadmap of leadership style. It wasn’t just about our shared values; it was about having the mindset of attention to culture where we found common ground.  

Your Vision for Your Dental Practice 

As leaders both Jack and I are passionate about mentoring and coaching. And part of our role here at OPS is to assist leaders with their growth mindset and leadership styles. Finding your voice as a leader is pivotal to the success of your scaling efforts. If you’re interested in learning more, take our free assessment to find out if your dental practice is ready to scale.