Creating the Right Culture
Culture is the way of life for an individual or a group; it encompasses the beliefs, values and attitudes those individuals and groups experience and share each day. So what is the culture of your office? Is it built upon creating an ideal environment for your patients and team? Have you thought about what your office culture is or should be? If not, you should.
Since Heartland Dental was established, we have sought to create a culture that exemplifies our mission and vision. This culture is built upon professionalism, loyalty and advancement. It’s also based on openness. All supported doctors and team members work together for the personal and professional benefit of everyone in the Heartland Dental family.
To create a similar environment in your office, you should adopt a similar culture. First of all, define the goals and values of your office and clearly communicate them to your team. Maintain this communication daily so that everyone is on the same page. Also, continually build team unity through team initiatives, outings, morning huddles and participating together in community events.
In addition, focus on advancement. One of the most prominent elements of Heartland Dental’s culture is our commitment to supporting continuing education. Throughout each year, supported doctors and team members are encouraged to take advantage of a wide variety of educational opportunities to enhance their clinical, leadership and communication skills. Supported doctors also have access to online educational platforms, such as Dental XP, where they can access online courses and videos, as well as connect with other dental professionals. Heartland Dental also supports dentists with outside educational opportunities, such as becoming a Master or Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry. AGD Masters and Fellows are recognized in dentistry as leaders and exemplify to other dentists the importance of quality continuing dental education. When supported dentists complete Heartland Dental accredited CE courses, their hours are automatically sent to the AGD.
As an MAGD and FAGD myself, I strongly encourage other dentists to pursue these achievements. It does require time and dedication. To complete an AGD Fellowship, dentists must complete 500 continuing education hours, take a Fellowship exam, be a member of the AGD for at least three years and be present at the Fellowship convocation ceremony. To become a Master of the AGD, dentists must first complete their FAGD, then earn an additional 600 approved continuing education hours (including 400 hours of hands-on courses), while meeting minimum requirements in certain dental disciplines.
This dedication is well worth it. In completing the process, you can raise your level of care tremendously, master new clinical skills and become a stronger leader overall. Don’t only focus on advancing yourself either, encourage your team to seek educational opportunities. Maintain a student mentality and create a group mindset focused on progression. This will go a long way in developing your ideal office atmosphere, and in turn, an ideal office culture.
Samson Liu, DDS, MAGD, Vice President of Clinical Affairs at Heartland Dental and full-time practicing dentist at mywildwooddentist.com in Wildwood, Missouri.
Since graduating dental school and the start of his career at Heartland Dental, Dr. Liu's practice has grown to a 12-chair office.