The very fact that you are at this website and reading this right now is in an indication that you are probably among those dentists who have an innate desire to always pursue new ideas. The question then becomes: Do the people around you share that way of thinking? One of the more common laments I hear from dentists is that they personally are excited about the possibilities for the practice, but their team “doesn’t get it.”
Is it true that some people will just always have “a fixed mindset” about their role in the practice and there is nothing you can do about it? Maybe in some cases (here is a great Harvard Business Review article about “fixed mindsets” versus growth mindsets). But I think it is possible, more often than not, to get people re-focused and re-energized about what they do.
I know this because we see evidence all around us of people who, when put in the right environment, change gears mentally, and their performance escalates dramatically. If you follow team sports at all, you are aware of the phenomenon of champion mindset transference. That’s when a player from a mediocre team makes a move to an elite team and suddenly discovers new abilities. Of course, those abilities were always there, it just took the right environment to encourage the player to find them – an environment with the right coaches, with teammates who set a new standard, and with a culture of winning where everyone is expected to pursue their best and find new ways to improve. It’s amazing what a person can discover about themselves when they are dropped into an environment like that.
How do you cultivate that kind of “championship environment” in your practice? You start by simply devoting the time and energy to instilling that growth mindset in the team. You don’t take for granted that because you are evolving and learning that they will just somehow keep up and grow along with you. Make it clear that your practice is a place where passion is prized most highly, where there is always an emphasis on the process of ongoing learning, where they are always growing, and consequently feel great about what they are doing.
Take your team to workshops. Commit to a schedule of taking online lessons together – our CE courses on Spear Online, for example make it easy for you to follow a curriculum of progressive learning (or just review material on a specific issue that is relevant to what is happening in your practice at any time). You don’t have to be a dynamic speaker or a subject matter expert yourself; you just need to be a dedicated facilitator. And it doesn’t take a big investment of financial capital to drive development of your most important asset: the human capital that is represented in the people who make up your team.
Put your people in a situation where they are surrounded by learners and they get a new sense of what’s possible. Provide the kind of practice environment where they can build on that momentum. Ignite the passion, then give them the framework to sustain it. This is how you overcome the numbing effects of routine and inertia. This is how you populate your practice with champions.
(Click this link for more articles by Imtiaz Manji.)