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I’ve seen it happen in hundreds of dental practices, and I’d be shocked if it hasn’t happened in yours. You went to a CE course and learned about a revolutionary new product or service. The lights went on and EUREKA! this is exactly what your practice needs. You couldn’t wait to roll it out to the team on Monday. You walk into a maelstrom – your new front desk no call-no showed, the 9am patient is running 10 minutes behind, and you have an emergency in op 2. In the midst of this, you briefly blurted to your office manager that you’re going to start treating sleep apnea and you signed everyone up for training. Yeah, whatevs…

It’s no surprise when the new procedure that was going to save your patients’ lives, rocket you to the pinnacle of career satisfaction, and drive collections sputtered, stuttered, and croaked before it ever took off. Why does this happen, you want to know. Good question because it starts with Why.

You’ve probably heard some variation of the “what’s your ‘why’” phrase over the past decade. Popularized by Simon Sinek’s seminal book Start With Why, the phrase’s underlying concept has reached cliché status, but it’s still worth the read.

In his book, Sinek posits that people are inspired by a sense of purpose (their “why”), which should be communicated before the “how” (processes and methods) and the “what” (results or outcomes). Inspiration, not manipulation, is the more sustainable and impactful motivator.

Defining your “why” is vitally important to getting your team aligned with your vision. You’re not sharing about the workflow or medical billing. That all comes with the “how.”

In real terms, tell them about the epiphany you had at the course. Tell them about how your father passed prematurely and how, if you’d known then what you just learned at the CE course, he’d still be alive. Open up about not wanting another kid to suffer the way your family has. That’s what you want to tap into – passion.

Don’t pass this along via the office manager or shove it between bites at lunch. Schedule a special team meeting to drive home that this is not business as usual. It’s not a drill. This is for real.

Call it your purpose, your passion, or your “why.” You’re sharing your core with them. Tell them. Show them. Paint a picture in vibrant color.

But you can’t expect them to care about your dad as much as you do. They have to identify their own “whys”, and you can be their shepherd to the promised land. Talk about celebrities who suffer from OSA, and highlight how the statistics translate to real life. For example, “We’ve got 16 patients coming in today. Statistically, four of them have sleep apnea and are at greater risk of heart attack and stroke. They’re at increased risk of falling asleep behind the wheel and crashing into your kids’ school bus. Devastated families will be left to pick up the pieces, but we can do something about it.” They should believe this so deeply they want to get it tattooed on their foreheads.

Lead them through an exercise to identify their purpose. You might think this is just a step away from new age crystals or asking, “What’s your sign?” If it sounds “woo-woo,” it’s not. It’s a huge leap toward creating alignment and buy-in. You’re building a movement. Joey Reiman, CEO of BrightHouse, nailed this point with his statement that, “Revelation is the collision of information, intuition, and your highest values.”

Think this sounds wacky or cultish? You’re right-ish. Cults are fanatically wrong about something while your practice is fanatically right about helping people.

Now that we’ve established WHY, it’s time to go deeper, into the HOW. Until next time…

If you want to learn more about aligning your team’s efforts with your vision by finding your “whys” together, use the specific how-to team exercise in my new bestselling book Transform Dental Sleep available on Amazon.

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