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Think to succeed

Editor’s intro: Endodontists who have extraordinary practices exude exceptional thinking and creative and far-reaching cognitive skills. Read about how to find joy in your career and be energized and excited about the future!

Dr. Joel C. Small discusses skills that can positively impact the trajectory of your practice

“Of all the things you can do, the quality of your thinking has the greatest consequences of all. The quality of your thinking determines the quality of your choices and decisions. Your choices and decisions determine the actions you take. And the actions you take determine the quality and quantity of your results.” ~ Brian Tracy, Bull’s-Eye

Many of you have heard me say that leaders of extraordinary practices think in exceptional ways. I am firmly convinced that the difference between a mediocre and wildly successful clinical practice lies in the mind of the owner. Unlike other practice owners, highly successful practitioners have acquired skills that have positively impacted the trajectory of their practice.

Some of the cognitive skills that highly successful practitioners have acquired include the following:

  • Seeing the big picture: Successful healthcare practitioners are “divergent” thinkers — seeing how problems and their solutions impact their practices in relationship to other dental practices and the industry as a whole. Thinking in a divergent manner is the benchmark of an entrepreneurial mindset.
  • Creative thinking: Creative thinkers are the ones who view old issues in a new light. They see things from a different perspective and provide unique solutions and answers that others often fail to see. Creative thinking creates generative energy that exudes passion and goal orientation for the entire organizational team.
  • Exceptional communication: Successful practitioners not only think differently, but also are skilled communicators. They are able to offer clear explanations to complicated issues. They are the thought leaders, not only for their individual practices, but also for the profession as a whole.
  • Decisiveness: Successful healthcare practitioners are not always the quickest to make decisions, but they are often the most committed to the decisions once they are made. This is because they make decisions only after thoughtful review rather than compulsive “knee-jerk” reactions.
  • Scaling capabilities and capacity: Successful entrepreneurs understand that change is inevitable and that keeping pace with change is a prerequisite for long-term success. As the complexity and demands of our business environment increase, our knowledge, skill, and capacity to do more must also increase. Strong leaders are visionaries who do not respond to change. They foresee change and are proactive by ensuring that their organization has the skill, knowledge, and capacity to respond appropriately.
  • A philosophy of abundance: The most successful people, in any industry, will tell you that they achieve lasting success by making those around them successful. Yes, financial success is achievable with a “scarcity philosophy,” but it is, more often than not, short-lived.

Not all great practices are led by people who naturally possess these unique qualities. Many entrepreneurial practitioners have worked hard to develop these critical skills. Some have taken courses or have become avid readers in areas that enhance these skills. Others have surrounded themselves with a team of advisors who collectively provide these cognitive skills when addressing practice-related issues. And some practitioners have relied on coaches to help them uncover these essential skills that they never knew they possessed.

Interestingly, the doctors who think in this extraordinary manner are also the ones who find the most joy and fulfillment in their professional endeavors. Why? Because they exude confidence and are willing to change course or take bold steps when their analysis indicates the need for change. They do not see themselves as being trapped in the status quo. To them, everything is fluid and subject to change. They find the path to success challenging and exciting rather than intimidating and fearful. They are fully engaged in the game. If loss of passion and clarity is the etiology of “burnout,” these folks are the living antithesis of these symptoms.

Finally, those who have developed these cognitive skills are successful leaders. People are attracted to them because of their positive energy and their focus on creating cultures that breed success. You will find that these are the ones who surround themselves with high performance teams and experience little turnover in their staff. They become magnets for high achievers that are interested in developing their capabilities.

Ask yourself if you are one of these exceptional leaders. Do you find joy in what you do? Are you energized and fully committed to succeed? Are you excited about your future or fearful? Is dentistry just a job for you, or is it more?

Another way to develop extraordinary practices is by clarifying expectations and practicing integrity. Read another article from Dr. Joel C. Small, “Practice integrity, part 1: fulfilling the promise” here.

Joel C. Small, DDS, MBA, ACC, FICD, is an endodontist, author, and board-certified executive leadership coach. He received his MBA with an emphasis in healthcare management from Texas Tech University. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas postgraduate program in executive coaching and limits his coaching practice to motivated healthcare professionals. He is a nationally recognized speaker on the subjects of leadership and professional development. Dr. Small is available for speaking engagements and for coaching healthcare professionals who wish to experience personal and professional growth while taking their practices to a higher level of productivity.

**To receive a free copy of Dr. Small’s “Core Values Exercise,” please contact the author at joel@joelsmall.com. He is also available for a complimentary coaching session to discuss your practice-related issues

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