Leadership Means Knowing Your People and Processes
When I am in one of our 14 dental groups looking into how to streamline or enhance a clinical process, the first thing that I do is observe the processes that the dentists or hygienists are currently using. I talk to everyone from the dental assistant to the hygienist and even, sometimes the patients themselves to get feedback on how to improve. Being able to speak the “clinical talk” to a dental professional, means that you have walked in their proverbial clinical shoes before. My candor is derived instantly as caring because I understand the clinical processes of each position in our company, from the front desk to the dental assistant. Instantaneously, that creates mutual respect and a situation where progress can be made.
Leadership to me, as a practicing general dentist with over 100 dentists, dental specialists, and dental hygienists on our growing Chicagoland Smile Group clinical team, means talking to each and everyone of them and having a “lateral leadership” mentality. Therefore, that makes me no more important or vital than anyone else on our 250 person team. As the old cliché does, it’s not what you say, rather it’s how you say it.
There are some Board of Directors or companies that install “hired guns” to run a company but, where possible, nothing beats a homegrown leader. Someone like Jack Welch from GE that started his career as a junior chemical engineer for GE in 1961 and worked his way up to head of Consumer Products and Services before becoming GE’s youngest Chairman and CEO in 1981. His intrinsic knowledge of GE coupled with his leadership capabilities helped propel GE to grow from $12B to $280B during his tenure, while making 600+ acquisitions.
For all the emerging companies out there, look within to see where you can cultivate and then promote to leadership roles. The mutual respect and passion that is created internally from moves like this will resonate throughout your company and help create a culture where employees truly believe that “anything is possible.”