How to Build the Right Team to Transform Your Dental Practice

Although all six elements of building a dental practice that can run without you are important, building the right team holds a special place of significance.

Building the right team for your practice is much more about vision, culture, and qualities than it is about assembling a group of people with the technical skills to perform tasks. Skills can be taught. Vision, culture, and qualities, however, are often deep-seated personal traits that are tough to change.

The best way to build the best team for your practice, then, is to start with vision, culture, and qualities. From there, you can help your team succeed by putting them in the right positions for them to succeed while investing in their technical skill development so they can continue to grow.

With the right people on your team, you will protect your core values and culture, and your practice will run much more smoothly. That will allow you to delegate more, work less, and feel confident that every patient will get the same great service no matter who serves them.

With the wrong people on board, it doesn’t matter how great your vision is or how strong your systems are, results will be inconsistent at best. When that happens, you’ll either have to do everything yourself or go through the time-consuming and costly process of firing, hiring, and training people over and over again. That’s a recipe for burnout.

Here are five steps to get started assembling the right team for your dental practice.

1. Commit to making sure every team member is a good fit for your practice.

Although this might seem obvious, it’s important to recognize your commitment because even one team member with a bad attitude or poor work ethic can put a big strain on your practice.

2. Identify the qualities you need in your team members.

Take a few minutes to list the qualities everyone will need in order for your team to succeed.

To help you get started, the two most important qualities are “strong work ethic” and “good attitude.” Those are two non-negotiable qualities because they can help overcome almost any obstacle a practice will face. Avoid people who are just looking for a paycheck or who aren’t willing to do whatever it takes to achieve your practice’s vision and goals.

With those two qualities in hand, list other qualities that are important. These need to be specific to your vision and goals. Do you prefer people who live in the community you serve? Do you need people who have a history of volunteering to serve not-for-profits?

With these qualities in mind, you’re ready to transform your team.

4. Invest in and evaluate your current team members.

Assembling the right team for your practice starts with investing in current team members. This requires you to explain your vision, show them how they fit into it, and clearly communicate what is expected of them. Make sure they feel included, see the value of their role in the future of your practice, and understand how to succeed.

This also requires you to invest in your team’s development by helping them grow personally and professionally. Provide tools and resources. Consider providing Kindles to fast-track their learning. We did this at my practice and recommended books to reinforce the vision we were building toward. We then facilitated helpful discussions about the books. Three great team reads are The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith. If you’re new to Audible, you can even get a free audio copy of any of those books through my partnership at

When you invest in and evaluate your current team members, you’ll likely find most of them come alive with new energy and get excited about their role in building your vision. You may also find that some existing team members aren’t a good fit, even after sharing your vision and trying to invest in them. If you discover a team member isn’t willing to make the transition needed, I suggest helping them find a better fit. It’s important to be a strong leader and not let a team member’s resistance keep you from building the practice you know is best for you.

We had one woman who thought the transition we needed would be too much work. I understood and told her that this was the new direction we were going with the practice and I was okay if she didn’t want to be a part of it. She found another practice that was a better fit for her. I moved forward with an extremely motivated team.

5. Incorporate your vision, culture, and qualities needed in external searches.

Although including your vision, culture, and required qualities up front will reduce the number of applicants you will get, it will also help filter applicants who aren’t a good fit. This will save you time, money, and frustration.

When people contact your office in response to an ad or a team member referral, continue include your vision, culture, and qualities at every stage of the interview process.

Before scheduling an interview, either you or a trusted team member should ask them why they’re interested in working with you if they’re responding to an ad, or communicate your vision, culture, and qualities if they’re a referral from someone. Listen to their response to make sure they sound like a good candidate before inviting them for an interview.

During the interview, discuss your vision. Ask them to share their ideas about how a practice can achieve that vision. Ask them what it would mean to them to work at a place like that. Ask them what it would mean to the community to build a practice like that. Finally, ask them for examples from their past experiences that demonstrate the qualities you need.

By doing this, you’ll help ensure new team members know exactly what type of practice they’d be joining. You’ll also get valuable information about whether they’re a fit for your practice and not just someone with the necessary technical skills to perform the tasks needed of them.

Your vision, your culture, your team

By including your practice vision, culture, and team‑member qualities in team development, you’ll help ensure you have the right people in place to help you grow the practice of your dreams.

Once you’ve assembled the right team, you’ll be able to delegate more confidently and sleep soundly knowing your practice is in good hands.

Take a few minutes to start walking through these five steps for your team.

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1 Comment

  1. […] In short, hiring the right people is one of the best ways to reduce this stressor, while simultaneously making more, working less, maintaining consistency, and achieving better results. Here’s a step-by-step guide to building the right team for your dental practice. […]