Dental Office Culture – Seeing Beyond the Veil

February 13, 2023

Dentists have trouble with knowing the true state of their office culture.

The dental employer /employee work relationship lends itself to keeping the employer from ever knowing the true attitudes and feelings staff have about their employer and the job they are asked to perform.

Unfortunately, the staff’s attitude, all to often, depends on what they are hearing from the “grape vine” As well as how they perceive their personal situation is developing. Dentistry has no way of truly hearing from their team members about how they feel deep down, about their employer and the “job “. Staff are often too willing to give their employer slanted or incomplete information until now. White and Associates has developed a series of questionnaires when administrated to the team on an anonymous basis, allows the team members to communicate with a third party who is sworn to confidentiality. We learn about office issues that the dentist will never know about. Developing strategies that deal with these issues is a big part of our success.

Throwing money at a dental office culture problem often only postpones a solution.

Many times, it’s the Soft Issues that are the challenge. Dentists like dealing with the “hard” issues because they are concrete, easy to see, recognize and measure. Dentists place importance on hard issues because they are seemingly based on fact. Addressing the hard issues is like being the proverbial drunk who looks futilely for his keys half a block away from where he lost them because there is no street light over there.

Dentists have found that real problems do not often go away when ignored.

The underlying cause of hard issues is often found in the soft issues of the practice. Soft issues are the HUMAN ISSUES. They consist of the fundamental attitude or mindset of their people. They are not easily measured and are usually subjective. And the dentist is usually less experienced in dealing with these people issues.

An individual’s performance is directly related to his/her state of mind, a soft issue. Performance, which is easily measured, is a hard issue. An effective mindset creates good performance and desirable results.

Much of dentistry’s management doesn’t seem willing or equipped to address directly what is often the real issue i.e. their people’s mindset. Referring to such issues as “touchy-feely” or none of our business. They hope that sooner or later the problem will go away. Plus, dentists tend to deal with soft issues poorly, and only as a last resort. Often, when it’s too late to make a difference. Dentists seem to ignore the fact that their practice’s performance is linked directly to the attitudes their people.
Many dentists are inclined to look for what is wrong or what’s not working rather than for what is right or what is working. It somehow seems encouraging that other people have problems too. This approach of looking for what is wrong, directly affects the mindset of their people. Relating to their people from a “what’s wrong” attitude tends to threaten others on the team. These people are likely to move into a defensive, self-protective mode to avoid being blamed for problems— a reactive state. They
will do just enough to avoid being terminated but aren’t willing to contribute energy and new ideas that will help the practice.

White and Associates questionnaires get to the bottom of the “soft issues”. The issues identified through them will often shine a ray of sunshine on why certain behaviors are exhibited. And identify answers that the doctor would never have seen.  Contact Us today to start your assessment.