Table of Contents

The following is an excerpt of my book, Extraction: The Surprising New Formula to Systemize, Scale and Sell Your Business. These are the insights I gained into the meaning of leadership and how I was able to successfully scale my business from 1 to 8 practices before selling my organization. Learning to change my attitude to leadership allowed me to build strong teams that supported a new vision that would eventually lead me to a successful scale and exit strategy.

Extraction for your Dental Practice

Below are two qualities that, in my opinion, leaders need to successfully execute on their visions, no matter what that vision may be or what values you hold as a leader.

Tools that Shape Visionary Leaders

Building effective leadership is the core resource of successful execution. I would like to share with you two of the foundational qualities of leadership required to unleash effective execution of one’s vision. But what is truly essential for execution? You need a strong vision and you need team buy-in. And before either of those, you need credibility. So, how do you establish vision, buy-in and credibility? You must first develop yourself.

I have always been a seeker of knowledge and an avid student of human motivation, both mine and others’. That searching for knowledge and understanding of how humans work has led me to incredible insights. I have discovered key leadership principles and characteristics by reading the works of experts and attending seminars as well as one-on-one coaching and mentoring sessions.

Extract Yourself from the Way It’s Always Been Done

There are two principles specifically that I want to address here through excerpts from my book. I hope these insights bring you greater clarity and awareness about your own gifts as a leader in your dental practice or organization. As an entrepreneur, you have the skill and gift of leadership already. After all, you’ve led your teams this far, haven’t you? Now it’s time to up your game and refine your leadership skills through gaining buy-in and establishing your credibility.

Principle #1: Leaders are Forward Thinkers

Effective leaders are forward thinkers who can see their own potential as well as that of their teams. They constantly seek to maximize the potential value creation of their customers as well as their organization’s ability to fulfill their customers’ needs. Great leaders can clearly see around corners. The future is as real to them as their current reality because effective leaders can clearly see, feel and be in their future vision. They absolutely believe it is achievable and this optimism gives them a situational awareness of possible future roadblocks and obstacles.

Principle #2: Master Your Own Integrity First

Powerful leaders uphold the highest level of integrity in themselves and in their work. This level of integrity is more than the virtue of being an honest person. This integrity in a leader is the ability to develop authenticity, vulnerability, immediate access to emotions and a belief system. These qualities engender trustworthiness in the leader by the organization’s team.

Subsequently, this level of trustworthiness felt by their teams translates and engenders credibility from their customers and vendors. This level of trust allows leaders to follow through on their visions for growth and risk. These leaders have the ethical courage to do what is right no matter what the cost, even if it means being disliked, or resulting in short-term revenue loss. Doing what one believes to be true, and right, is foundational to showing up with integrity and earning the trust of your teams.

Competent leaders are good at, and committed to, self-mastery. They are always experimenting with new ideas, allowing themselves to make mistakes and learn from them in order to improve on processes. As a clinical dentist, I was limited on experimenting outside of established clinical guidelines to preserve the health and safety of my patients, but operationally I was willing to experiment with ways that improved the experience of our customers and our teams.

We must continue to strive to find easier ways for our teams to deliver a better experience to our customers. We must be willing to experiment, try new things and get feedback. These steps are the raw material for us to course-correct and innovate, coming up with multiple pathways to get to our desired results and fulfill our visions.

Competent leadership also means providing the courage and giving permission to our teams to take their own risks, to make mistakes, to take ownership and transform their own feedback into growth opportunities. This is how we continuously become more competent and confident in our abilities to execute on new ideas and keep growing.

Conscious leaders create a culture that welcomes and embraces change and creates opportunities for innovation and progress without being confined by the dangerous trap of old habits. Conscious leadership consciously breaks an organization out of the mindset: we have always done it this way.

People follow the visionary more than they follow the vision

We see this phenomenon throughout history with both creative and innovative results as well as destructive and treacherous outcomes. During the early 1930’s, Hitler was considered a bold visionary for his prescription for the German people. Millions were blinded by that vision with devastating and catastrophic results. Contrast this to Gandhi’s vision for a free and democratic India which was the culmination of a lifetime of peaceful, non-violent protest.

Gandhi’s vision was taken up by millions, time and time again, and continues to influence people all around the world to this day. It is the visionary rather than the vision that attracts people over and over. You may not be fighting to free people from unfair systems of governance, but you are fighting for your business to survive and thrive whether you feel comfortable picking up that mantle or not. So how do you become an effective leader whose vision your people become passionate about?

Don’t Burst Through your Comfort Zone, Expand it

Effective leaders must learn to challenge and stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones and old habits, while being willing to try new ideas, technology, processes and skills. This gives their teams permission to follow this paradigm for growth. That is why it’s imperative for you, as a business owner, to learn to transform your mindset into an effective leader and successful investor. Learning to work on your business rather than in your business is a personal transformation first and foremost.

So how do you adopt an investor’s mindset for your own organization? It starts with how you see your business. When you started your business, did you give yourself a job, or did you make an investment? It all comes down to mindset.

Learning to Invoke Leadership Qualities in Your Dental Practice

In the rest of Chapter 6 I delve into 3 more qualities I used that turned my mindset and subsequently my company’s success around. I also redefine what it means to be a leader in the 21st century by unpacking the wisdom of the past. I hope you give it a read. Using these insights were invaluable to my success and I know they will be for you as well.

Want to Test your Leadership Skills in Real Time?

Here at Optimize Practice Services we have developed a monthly mastermind exclusively for dentists. My partner and the moderator of the mastermind, Josh Gwinn, has 20+ years experience in leadership and team-building and is the perfect person to help guide and facilitate dentists and practice owners in discovering their best selves as leaders and entrepreneurs.

A mastermind is a group of peers that come together on a regular basis to work out their biggest challenges, share resources and lean on each other to get through the rough patches and celebrate the wins. It is the single most effective tool that an entrepreneur has in her entrepreneurial toolkit.

One of the best ways I know to remain steadfast in your goals, bust through your obstacles, find resources and community to keep you strong is joining a Mastermind. We get together regularly to discuss the biggest obstacles to growth that dentists are facing in real time; tell stories of inspiration; share resources and celebrate what’s working in their practices. It’s a wonderful community and we want you to be a part of our movement. Click the button to register for the next one and we’ll see you at the next one!