The Team-First Mentality

Part II — The “why” behind dental office culture

In the last issue of Smiling, we discussed Dr. Bill Bloink’s team-first mentality and the impact it has made on his dental office since 2011. By focusing on team development both personally and professionally instead of focusing solely on the technical side of dentistry, his office has significantly advanced access to care each year and increased their number of team members and practicing dentists. But how did he get this shift in thinking initiated?

Dr. William Bloink
William Bloink, DMD
Dental Group of Springfield
Springfield, Illinois

As described by Dr. Bloink, he first had to figure out what his “why” was? Why was this approach the right move? Why was this important to the overall goals of him and his team members? We spoke with Dr. Bloink once again to discuss further.

Q: What was your "why" behind this shift?

A:

Early in my career, my goals revolved around providing a good living for my family, becoming a leader in my community and determining my own destiny. All of those things are still important to me, but those are “what’s” not “why’s.” The reasoning behind those goals was really my driving force. Over the years, helping my team also become a top goal. That ultimately became my “why” for making the change in mindset. How could I make their lives better and why was this needed?

Many dentists make the mistake of thinking dentistry is all about dentistry. When asked what their main goals is, many will say, “To be a quality dentist providing high-quality care to patients.” Again, that’s a “what.” They need to ask, “Why should they be aspiring to accomplish that?” Technical dentistry is the “what” and “how” of our profession, but the best practices in the world have realized that the “why” behind what we do is all about people.

Team-First Mentality

Q: What helped you reach this epiphany?

A:

Several things helped me come to this conclusion. During that time, I came across a TED talk with Simon Sinek, who is an excellent author and speaker who focuses on leadership and management. His TED talk helped me realize I was looking in the wrong place in regards to what I should be focusing on as a leader. The Achiever series from the Bell Leadership Institute also helped me develop my team builder skills.

Q: How has focusing on your "why" impacted your team and ultimately, your patients?

A:

We focus on the “why” each day and it has created a chain reaction of positive results. My team has become happier, more committed and in turn, more masterful in their roles. Patients have picked up on that. They want to be treated by people who enjoy working with each other. Experiencing that positive energy, patients then become happier, more committed to our office and in turn, recommend others. Hearing that positive buzz about our office, other dentists and team members want to become a part of our office.

As we built this culture, we have learned from each other. Our office has become an open environment for learning and sharing. This occurs not only at team meetings, but during every interaction we have with each other every day.

This has all resulted in an ideal office culture where everyone involved (dentists, team members and patients) are all happy and excited to be here. It started from my desire to create an environment that was safe for team members, so they could grow naturally and comfortably.