The Four Universal Promises of Leadership – Part 5

August 5, 2020 Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

In previous parts of this series, we looked at leadership, the commitment it requires, and the first three of four universal promises of leadership. The first promise was the promise to set a clear direction and create meaningful work for the organization you lead. The second was the promise to engage all stakeholders and hold them accountable for performance. The third was the promise to ensure your strategies, systems and processes facilitate focus and execution.

Now we will look at promise four.

The Fourth Universal Promise

You will lead effectively by maintaining relationships of trust to achieve and sustain results.

Why would someone want to follow you? The answer is trust. In order to keep the first three promises of leadership, you must value the priceless currency of relationships built upon trust.

Trust is one of the most difficult concepts for sociologists to describe and define. Two exceptional thought leaders on trust in our culture said this:

Steven M. R. Covey: “Trust lives at the intersection of character and competence.”

Rachel Botsman: “Trust is a confident relationship with the unknown.”

Becoming Trustworthy

Because trust builds confidence and frees up hearts and minds to commit, it forms the basis for a thriving practice culture and draws out the inherent potential of your team (their individual talents, energy and passion). Traditionally, I focused my energy on building trust.

Rachel Botsman proposed that in creating a culture built on trust, we would be served better by focusing on becoming more trustworthy. Rachel’s idea hit me hard. It was spot on. Trust demands the best that we have to offer. Perhaps, it demands all that we have to offer. It is the secret sauce of why people decide to surrender themselves to the great vision you offer.

If you take one thing away from this, take away a renewed devotion to becoming a more trustworthy person. You will likely find that your aspirational identity shows up with more clarity, courage, conviction and compassion.

And So, Back to Clarity

People follow leaders they trust by surrendering to a compelling vision that engages their hearts and minds. Others will trust your vision if you are clear, courageous, have conviction, and are compassionate. These are the building blocks of a shared (collective) style of operation and leadership in which each individual in the organization contributes, benefits and leads. This is relevant to your patients (clients) as well as the team you lead.

As I end this series, I leave you with my belief that developing and elevating your leadership competencies is the best investment you can make. Effective leaders who deliver on the four universal promises of leadership create strong cultures that outperform average cultures by multiples, not percentages, in every measurable dimension over time.

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Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Dr. Edwin A. McDonald III received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Economics from Midwestern State University. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. Dr. McDonald has completed extensive training in dental implant dentistry through the University of Florida Center for Implant Dentistry. He has also completed extensive aesthetic dentistry training through various programs including the Seattle Institute, The Pankey Institute and Spear Education. Mac is a general dentist in Plano Texas. His practice is focused on esthetic and restorative dentistry. He is a visiting faculty member at the Pankey Institute. Mac also lectures at meetings around the country and has been very active with both the Dallas County Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. Currently, he is a student in the Naveen Jindal School of Business at the University of Texas at Dallas pursuing a graduate certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching. With Dr. Joel Small, he is co-founder of Line of Sight Coaching, dedicated to helping healthcare professionals develop leadership and coaching skills that improve the effectiveness, morale and productivity of their teams.

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Miracle Makers

May 26, 2020 Paul Henny DDS

As the Pankey community begins to re-open its practices, reports indicate that most patients are responding with high levels of trust and gratitude. This represents a clear indication that the investments we’ve made in building truly helping relationships with others are paying back significant dividends at a most critical moment. Relationship-based / health-centered dental practices are designed to give the kind of meaningful caring and support that relationship-starved people truly need as they venture back out into this brave new world. 

The truly person-centered Pankey practice model aligns well with research which shows longevity and happiness aren’t just linked to healthy diets, habits, and genetics, but also to the consistent presence of positive social engagement. My mother frequently spoke of these types of happy people as being “givers.” She’d say, “They are givers – not just takers, and they pass this attribute along to their children, because, well, that’s just who they are.” 

Abe Maslow called these types of personalities “B-Lovingindividuals—individuals who self-actualize through their unconditional love of others. These are the folks who buck today’s meta-trend of consuming more, contributing less, and living a silo-type of existence. And we look forward to seeing them on our schedules, enjoy spending time with them, and feel a tremendous sense of loss when they finally pass.  These folks are the ones who intuitively know that the loving attention they give to others, no matter how simple or brief, is an ever-expanding positive experience that yields out significant benefits to themselves as well. 

When you add up all of those moments, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, you end up with the smiling and joking Betty or Bob. They’re the ones who are the first to give you a hug when you’ve had a bad day or experienced a personal tragedy. And they’re the ones who alter the course of our lives through a laugh, a smile, by demonstrating strength, courage, and irrepressible hope. In short, they are miracle makers. 

As practitioners of relationship-based / health-centered dentistry, we need to remind ourselves that we’re miracle makers as well, because we’re also in a perfect position to listen intentionally, care more deeply, and help more significantly. But that’s only possible when we choose to see dentistry as being a helping profession and not just about teeth, technology, production – and now PPE! 

On a personal level, I’ve found myself sharing my feelings about what we’ve experienced with my team and patients, and I’m finding myself opening-up on an emotional level more each day. As a result, we’ve ascended to yet another tier of caring as a teamWe’ve used this communal tragedy as an opportunity to strengthen our social bonds through love and understanding instead of allowing fear to drive us further apart.  Abe Maslow would likely say that we’re self-actualizing on the individual, group, and community levels through B-Love. This represents a key realization, because in spite of all the new stress which has been thrown into the middle of our lives, we’ve been able to see the huge practice development opportunity the situation has created for us.   

Those of us who have grown technically, intellectually, and spiritually through The Pankey Institute have “givers” hearts (just go to one Pankey Alumni meeting and you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about). Consequently, this communal tragedy plays right to our natural strengths, inclinations, and existing practice structures. So, in spite of all of the changes surrounding us, it’s time to confidently step forward and demonstrate principle-centered leadership. And by so doing, we’ll be holding fast to what we already know is true – that the secret to living is in the giving. 

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Paul Henny DDS

Dr. Paul Henny maintains an esthetically-focused restorative practice in Roanoke, Virginia. Additionally, he has been a national speaker in dentistry, a visiting faculty member of the Pankey Institute, and visiting lecturer at the Jefferson College or Health Sciences. Dr. Henny has been a member of the Roanoke Valley Dental Society, The Academy of General Dentistry, The American College of Oral Implantology, The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantology. He is Past President and co-founder of the Robert F. Barkley Dental Study Club.

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Selling Dentistry

September 9, 2019 Deborah Bush, MA

Janet Hagerman’s book, Selling Dentistry – Ethically, Elegantly, Effectively, presents a provocative and compelling analysis of how sales opportunities are missed by the entire dental team. Filled with practical solutions for how to feel good about your treatment recommendations and build your practice at the same time, Janet’s book focuses not only on how to be effective in your sales communications but also how to be elegant in your approach.

Selling Dentistry – Ethically, Elegantly, Effectively was born from a need, a cry for help from dental teams says the author and dental practice coach Janet Hagerman. Dental teams kept asking her how to stop dentistry from walking out of their doors and how to reverse the trend, so more patients would say yes to dental treatment.

In her book, Hagerman uses real-life examples and stories that come from her years of experience helping dental teams succeed.

According to Hagerman, dentists want to know how to sell dentistry. Their teams want to know how to sell dentistry. They want to move beyond an aversion to the “S” word to embracing the “E’s” of selling. Selling does not need to be controversial, says Hagerman, it’s about better serving patients and building trustful relationships, so patients accept the care they really need.

It comes down to surpassing external marketing and focusing on internal conversations with patients.

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Deborah Bush, MA

Deb Bush is a freelance writer specializing in dentistry and a subject matter expert on the behavioral and technological changes occurring in dentistry. Before becoming a dental-focused freelance writer and analyst, she served as the Communications Manager for The Pankey Institute, the Communications Director and a grant writer for the national Preeclampsia Foundation, and the Content Manager for Patient Prism. She has co-authored and ghost-written books for dental authorities, and she currently writes for multiple dental brands which keeps her thumb on the pulse of trends in the industry.

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We’re There for You!

June 27, 2019 Michael J. Scherb, DMD

How many of us have had a patient call who was really upset with us or our office?

The other day, my office manager came to me and said, “Mrs. Jones called and is super upset.” We had just completed an upper and lower reconstruction. Due to the complexity of the case, I opted to place the lowers in permanently, but I placed the upper in with temporary cement, in case there were any modifications that she wanted made prior to finalizing the case with permanent cement.

My office manager continued, “her new bridge is loose, and she said she is going to get an attorney because she paid a lot of money for this and it is already failing.” I told my office manager it was in with temporary cement, and the patient must have forgotten that I told her this, which in fact was the case.

I asked my office manager to bring her in immediately, and I would take care of it. Mrs. Jones presented, and I greeted her with a smile. I said, “I will take care of you immediately.” I proceeded to remind her that the upper arch was in with temporary cement, and she said, “Oh yeah! I forgot about that.”

After allaying her concerns and asking her if she had any difficulties over the last month, to which she said no, I opted to place the restoration on with permanent cement.

I reminded her that there was one other section, which still needed to be put in permanently, but I would do this in the future, since I was unable to tap it off at the time. (Sometimes, when the seal is really excellent, even temporary cement will hold very well.) I reassured her that all should be well and to always remember that “We’re here for you!”

This can be one of the greatest statements you can make to a patient. So often they feel “discarded” once their work is completed, and you “have their money.” Or they feel like they are being bothersome if they contact you to make any adjustments. They feel that any issues they are having will work themselves out, or they will just get used to it.

I remind them that we are always there for them and want to make any needed adjustments or corrections to the work we’ve done before any other problems arise. We want to be proactive in taking care of their issues and not be reactive. Often it is a very simple correction.

Letting a patient know “We’re there for you” can go a long way to creating a patient missionary and can be one of your greatest practice builders. “We’re there for you” is one of my favorite messages to convey to my patients, and I repeat it often.

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Michael J. Scherb, DMD

Dr. Michael J. Scherb is on the Visiting Faculty of The Pankey Institute and a Pankey Scholar, an honor which has been conferred on less than 50 dentists in the world. He has been awarded Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry. A graduate of the University of Alabama School of Dentistry, he has practiced dentistry in Jupiter, FL since 1989. He is a certified member of the American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, and former president of the North Palm Beach County Dental Association.

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The Last Frontier of Trust

November 23, 2018 Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

How can a patient trust you, if you don’t even trust yourself? Let’s dive in:

Trusting Yourself

The last frontier of trust is trusting yourself. Most people would say that trusting themselves is by far the most difficult.

When you have decided to place your trust in another person, you have surrendered some control to them that you previously held. When you decide to trust yourself, who or what are you giving up control to?

The answer, in my view, is a four letter word called ‘fear.’ Nothing gets in the way of human progress and performance more than fear. Often our fear is grounded in the inaccurate internal assumptions we use to organize our identity, define how we see ourself, and define our relationship with the world.

When fear dominates our inner world, meaning, happiness, achievement, and our relationships suffer.

Performance and Attention

In pursuit of high achievement, ancient philosophers, theologians, and modern brain science all agree: “We become what we give our attention to.” Our first option is simply to give our attention to the fear that lives within us and the possibility and consequences of failing.

It often sounds like this: “What will happen….What does it mean…How bad will it hurt…What will people think…If I fail.” It is uncertain, unknown, improbable, and anxious. The other option is to create all of the certainty that I can and attack the fear head on.

In this approach, I study my performance as much as possible in order to learn. I structure a plan and rehearse every sequence. I practice this plan for as many hours as needed. I identify and create solutions for each potential problem in advance.

I create a very clear picture of the final result that captures my attention and focuses my energy and creativity. By spending the time and energy in advance to prepare myself, I have created all the certainty for success that I can.

At that point, it is all about trust. Trusting in my preparation to create certainty. The certainty of success.

The white hot center of human performance is trust. There is no substitute for a deeply held trust in yourself. As Covey said, that kind of trust changes everything!

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About Author

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Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Dr. Edwin A. McDonald III received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Economics from Midwestern State University. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. Dr. McDonald has completed extensive training in dental implant dentistry through the University of Florida Center for Implant Dentistry. He has also completed extensive aesthetic dentistry training through various programs including the Seattle Institute, The Pankey Institute and Spear Education. Mac is a general dentist in Plano Texas. His practice is focused on esthetic and restorative dentistry. He is a visiting faculty member at the Pankey Institute. Mac also lectures at meetings around the country and has been very active with both the Dallas County Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. Currently, he is a student in the Naveen Jindal School of Business at the University of Texas at Dallas pursuing a graduate certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching. With Dr. Joel Small, he is co-founder of Line of Sight Coaching, dedicated to helping healthcare professionals develop leadership and coaching skills that improve the effectiveness, morale and productivity of their teams.

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Referring Your Patients to a Dentist You Trust

September 18, 2018 Lee Ann Brady DMD

Referrals can be a real challenge, especially for those invested in building a strong relationship with their patients. It’s a bummer to let go of the many years you’ve put into developing a patient’s trust, but it happens all the time. You just have to make sure the trade-off goes as smoothly as possible.

Everyone has patients that move or need to leave their dental practice for whatever reason. As part of the service and care we have provided I like to give them a referral to an office where I know they will get the same level of care and quality.

Referring to Another Pankey Dentist

I may not know every dentist that has gone through Pankey, but I know a lot about them. I know they care passionately about dentistry based on their commitment to education and being the best dentist they can be. I also know they have learned the same approach to clinical care that I have and really understand how to connect with their patients. Many have created their own individualized, relationship-based practice.

One of the best resources I have for referrals to dentists in the Pankey family is the “Find a Dentist” link side banner on the Pankey.org website. I can type in their area code and find members of the Pankey Alumni association anywhere my patients are moving to. I use this resource all of the time.

I also know that I get patients referred by other Pankey dentists every month. That’s why when I look at the dues and fees I pay to belong to dental organizations, my Pankey alumni membership is the easiest one to pay. What I get back in rewards is a small cost to market my practice to other Pankey dentists looking for a new dental home for their patients.

What’s your favored referral process? Let us know! 

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Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded leeannbrady.com and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

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