5 habits of highly successful dentists

March 18, 2019

Here’s some habits that may surprise you, but if adopted may help “up your game.”

In working with dentists for more than 34 years, I’ve picked up on a group of habits that are shared between those that are among the most highly successful. These habits may surprise you, as they aren’t clinical in nature; however, I believe they're an integral part of their success.

1. Build powerful practice cultures. Practice culture is the overall environment, behavior, attitude and approach to daily activity in the practice. While practices may provide excellent dentistry, patients typically select and stay loyal to a practice based on these factors. Whether the practice focuses on offering fun and engaging activities or providing five-star customer service, building a practice culture can help patients view the practice more as a dental home than a dental office.

2. Continue their education. For highly successful dentists, this involves more than just accumulating continuing education credits. It refers to a continual process of learning about clinical, business, self-improvement, economic and worldly topics that allow dentists to be challenged, seek new opportunities, and be prepared for economic and dental industry changes.       

Trending article: 6 common mistakes dentists make on personal finances

3. Make decisions quickly and act quickly. Successful dentists have learned that 98 percent of all the decisions they make really don’t matter. Even if they get the decision wrong, it won’t have a serious impact on their life. As a result, they make those decisions quickly. For the remaining two percent, they tend to surround themselves with expert advisers who can help them make decisions, which increases the odds they will get it right almost every time.

4. Have a plan. Most dentists go to work every day with the objective of providing excellent care for their patients but don't focus on planning for the future. In observing highly successful dentists, I often note that they have a plan and can typically tell you what they want to accomplish going forward. Whether it’s opening another office, adding team members, implementing a new service, or making a financial investment, they have a set direction with goals and targets to follow.

5. Accept mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes; however, when successful dentists make mistakes, they accept it and move on. They simply recognize that everything will not work out. Sometimes there's financial loss or even some embarrassment, but they don’t let it deter them and they keep moving forward. For these dentists, failure is the stepping stone to the next great opportunity.

Highly successful dentists have a number of habits, although not clinical in nature, that are instrumental to their prosperity. The five habits listed above are typical of most of these dentists, and anyone who can adopt these and truly live them will have better odds of success in both their professional and personal life.