What does leadership have to do with marketing?
Consider these two scenarios:
Invests $40,000 per year in external marketing efforts. Dentist can be described as “low energy.” Is not very interested in the team, and has not provided training for asking for referrals, phone skills, patient relationship building, etc. Occasionally delegates, but could do so more often. Seeing 5-10 new patient inquiries per month, converting less than half of those into actual patients. Having trouble growing the cosmetic side of the practice.
Invests $20,000 per year in external marketing efforts. The dentist is committed to actively improving him or herself and the team, has high energy; people want to do their work best around this person. Has inspired the team to provide excellent patient care and service and regularly ask for referrals. Seeing 5-10 new patient inquiries per month from external marketing, which is translating to about 8 actual new patients per month. In addition, is seeing 10 new patients per month from the team’s commitment to asking for referrals. Total new patients per month: 18. Easily converts general dentistry patients into cosmetic patients thanks to the trust and loyalty that patients feel to the practice and the dentist.
Which leadership attributes that dentists possess give way to overall practice success?
Here are the top 16 leadership attributes for dentists:
- Action Oriented – Actively working, full of energy when it comes to challenges, seizes opportunities.
- Caring About Direct Reports – Interested in people who they work with, asks about plans, problems and desires, knows about personal concerns of others, monitors work load and acknowledges extra effort.
- Confronting Direct Reports – Deals quickly with issues in the practice in a timely manner, holds regular discussions about growth and performance, deals effectively with low performers or troublemakers.
- Patient Focus – Dedication to meeting patients’ needs, acts with patients in mind, establishes rapport and relationships quickly, will put off tasks to exceed patient expectations.
- Directing Others – Good at setting clear direction and objectives, excellent planner, manages workload of self and others, is well planned, people want to do their best around this person.
- Integrity and Trust – Widely trusted by others, is direct and truthful, keeps confidences, admits mistakes, doesn’t misrepresent for personal or professional gain.
- Managerial Courage – Says what needs to be said, provides current, direct and respectful feedback, lets people know where they stand, is not afraid to take unpopular action when needed.
- Motivating Others – Able to articulate vision clearly and consistently, empowers others to step up, understand individual motivations, makes people feel as if their work is important and appreciated.
- Patience – Tolerant with people and process, sensitive to due process.
- Perseverance – Seldom gives up in the face of resistance.
- Perspective – Can see the big picture, and can articulate strategy and vision.
- Drive for Results – Very bottom line oriented, steadfastly pushes self and others.
- Development – Committed to actively improving self and team, a natural and curious learner, works to deploy strengths, works on compensating for weakness, enjoys receiving feedback.
- Managing Through Systems – Ability to design practices, processes and systems that work for others, comfortable letting others manage themselves.
- Building Effective Teams – Creates strong morale, fosters open dialogue, has team meetings, lets others be responsible, creates a feeling of belonging on the team.
- Manages Vision and Purpose – Communicates in a compelling fashion, is optimistic, speaks in terms of possibilities, can inspire and motivate the dental team.
How to hone these skills? Here’s a good start:
- Attend a leadership conference with the dental team, perhaps Disney Institute, which has events across the nation
- Work with a practice coach, like those at Fortune Management
- Read leadership books like Good to Great, Start with Why and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Read CEO books, like Delivering Happiness by Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh, Onward by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz or Losing My Virginity by Virgin CEO Richard Branson
- Join a study club that has a reputation for cultivating leaders, such as the Seattle Study Club
When the dentist hones strong leadership skills, the team does, too. When the entire team is inspired by the dentist’s vision, they are more apt to be ambassadors for the practice: helping with marketing efforts, singing the practice’s praises across town, and attracting high-quality patients by regularly asking for referrals.
Now, that’s marketing in motion!