Last month, we discussed how the perfectionist mindset many dentists have can be a barrier to their willingness to delegate certain tasks to team members. These dentists either wind up doing too much work themselves or micromanaging team members to the point of frustration.
Neither approach is helpful to build long term success.
Today, I would like to continue with the issue of mindset because, no matter how much I coach on the skills needed to become a successful dental CEO, you will never develop those skills if you do not approach your position with the right mindset.
A friend recently reminded me, quite eloquently, that you can choose between a mindset to merely survive or one that aims to thrive!
In other words, you can choose between the mindset of positivity over negativity – of courage over fear.
There are many times it does not seem we really have a “choice” over the mindset we adopt. “Survival,” in fact, is such a basic, primal instinct, it seems natural for the mind to adopt that path. It can be a reminder of the most basic human condition: run from danger or die!
Looking back, I realize how much I relied on this mindset to excel in university. Rather than approach my exams with the positive belief that I would do well if I studied hard, fear was my primary motivator – fear that if I did not study more and more and more, I would fail!
Looking back, it is rather sad to realize how much I allowed a mindset of fear and survival to dictate my actions. However, it seemed to work. I was able to excel in university to the point that I have Masters degrees in both law and business administration.
However, I now have to question if that survival mindset is as effective for the role of CEO as it was to simply pass or fail a class.
The more I ask this question, the more I realize that my options at the university level were binary in nature. Whether I chose fear of failure or belief in excelling, the end result was the same. As long as I was motivated to study hard, I would attain good marks.
As a CEO, however, the decisions you make are not as binary. You may have many different strategies to choose from for your practice; different options in the vision you have for you, your team and your patients; and so many choices on skills training to help improve your performance.
Being fearful of a negative outcome may motivate you to work harder. But if you are working harder on the wrong tasks, will you be able to excel? Will you, your team and your practice be able to thrive?
More importantly, will the oral health of your patients be restricted because you chose fear in your approach to the care you provide? Or will it thrive because you have a positive vision of the difference you can make in their lives?
Will your practice run from one survival level decision to the next because your fear prevented you from delegating tasks to your team members? Or will it thrive because you believe the more skills, training and responsibility you provide to them, the more they can contribute to the patient experience and your practice growth?
As a CEO, you need to work on the positive mindset! It is about believing in your potential as a leader! It is about believing in the potential of your team to become engaged in the pursuit of your vision for your practice.
Maintaining that positive belief is not always easy. Fear of survival is such a primal motivator, it can easily creep back into your decision-making mindset.
But with awareness, you can take that moment to ask yourself if the decisions you are making are enough to simply allow your practice to survive…or will they allow it to thrive and truly provide you with the quality of life you desire.
The choice to be a Dental CEO is about mindset – and it is your choice to make.
About the Author
Shawn Peers is the President of DentalPeers. DentalPeers is one of Canada’s oldest, continuous operating buying groups exclusively for dentists.