Collectively at Practice Financial Group we have worked with hundreds of doctors. They are all unique in their personalities, practice circumstances, income, net worth, age, etc. We have advised deca-millionaires (net worth greater than $10 million) and clients with multimillion-dollar debt loads. We have seen both thriving and floundering practices, and the broad spectrum in between. Our experience has been a fine-tuned education in what creates and sustains wealth, including the keys to running a successful practice.
With regard to the successful practice, we often asked, “What do successful dentists do, that less successful ones don’t do?” Do their secrets lie in better advertising campaigns, or free whitening promotions? Many of our blog posts aim to answer this question; our information comes from what we have studied and more importantly what we have observed.
After years of study and observation, it has become clear that to ask “what do they do?” is to ask the wrong question. Perhaps the most salient truth that has emerged from my experience advising practice owners is this: it is not what successful dentists do that most distinguishes them from their colleagues, it is who they are that makes the difference.
Their deeper character is what matters. And they often don’t even recognize what they are “doing.”
Although there are many important characteristics that define the whole being of a successful dentist, let me mention one that we believe is paramount to them all:
The most successful dentists we know sincerely care about people.
They care about their employees. They care about their patients and genuinely want to help them. They show and express appreciation to these people, and they mean it. Their behavior is not informed by gimmicks gleaned from motivational books; there is not a profit motive behind their kindness. Their success grows from a genuine concern for the wellbeing of those around them. It is because they care that they smile more, work harder, and perform better treatment. Patients can feel this sincerity, and they respond to it. Associates and staff can also feel their genuine concern, and they are willing to sacrifice more for these doctors.
All this is to say that if you don’t genuinely care about people—your team and your patients—and if you don’t feel and express sincere appreciation for them, you will underperform your colleagues who do, and more importantly you will significantly underperform your own potential.
Although there are other factors, (level of training, effective and persuasive communication, leadership qualities), caring about people is perhaps the most critical component of successful dentistry and the foundation of a successful life.
In conclusion, please resist the urge to ask what successful dentists do; instead examine who they are. The path to becoming a successful dentist is not paved with quick fixes or easy answers; it is a continual course of self-improvement.