The biggest secret to becoming a REAL dental entrepreneuer

December 12, 2016
Dr. Marc Cooper

Dr. Cooper's professional career includes private periodontist, academician, researcher, teacher, practice management consultant, corporate consultant, trainer, seminar director, board director, author, entrepreneur and inventor.Dr. Cooper has studied with masters in many disciplines, participated in formal business educational programs, and worked as an independent contractor with top-flight consulting companies. In 2011, Dr. Cooper was selected as a coach for the prestigious TED Fellows Program.The Mastery Company has been in existence since 1984. Dr. Cooper's client experience in dentistry includes solo private practice, small partnered practices, managed group practices and retail corporate enterprises. Dr. Cooper has worked with numbers of health care entities such as insurance companies, clearing houses, bio-technical companies and disease management companies, as well as the senior executives and boards of large hospitals and hospital systems and a number of their related physician groups. In addition, Dr. Cooper has worked with Silicon Valley start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. He has worked with dental clients in the U.S., U.K. Canada, Chile, Brazil, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and Israel.Dr. Cooper is author of eight successful books; Mastering the Business of Practice, Partnerships in Dental Practice, Running on Empty, SOURCE, Valuocity, Valuocity II, Valuocity III, and The Elder. His electronic newsletter reaches thousands of subscribers in 31 countries. Dr. Cooper also co-developed a suite of online dental practice management assessment tools.Dr. Cooper can be contacted

Dr. Marc Cooper explores the key to true dental entrepreneurship: transformation.

At the Mastery Company, we have been working with dentists committed to being entrepreneurs for many years, and our results have been outstanding. Through our work with qualified dentists, they are able to alter how they think and act well beyond the limitations of their personality. Through our process they are able to become highly successful corporate leaders and effective senior corporate executives.

One question that always comes up is: How does a dentist break out of their personality, a personality that lends itself to being a small business owner rather than a powerful corporate leader and executive manager?

Analyzing the trends: Why group practice will dominate the future

For many years, the prevailing theory has been your personality is fixed. The multitude of personality profiles, such as DISC, Enneagram and Myers-Briggs operate from a single principle, that whatever traits you have are stable throughout your life and consistent across different situations. Such that an honest person would behave like an honest person no matter where they went or how much time passed, and a criminal would remain a criminal.

Of course each personality profile is far more nuanced than the above example, but they all are based on the principle that your personality is basically fixed. But this theory of a fixed personality type has been debunked. Just listen to this episode of the NPR podcast, Invisibilia, all about the changing of personality. Therefore, if personalities are not fixed, then the door is wide open for transformation. 

In the work of transformation, you are able to operate beyond your “given” personality. You are able to reshape yourself in accord with your commitments and intentions. You are not stuck in what you have been, or what people have forecast you to be, or even the dictates of your family of origin. Transformation allow you to release yourself from your past and therefore from your prearranged personality.

My work with dental entrepreneurs is about transformation. I am often asked: “How is this done? How does it work? How do you change who I am?” Transformation is most commonly achieved through a particular guided process of self-examination and self-discovery. My process happens to be based in language, but there are numbers of other modalities of transformation available. But the point here is: You are not stuck with who you have been.

Related: The most critical personality aspect of a successful associate

In our work with dentists who are committed to being entrepreneurs able to run large dental enterprises, a transformation is required. Who one needs to be to run a solo or small group practice is not the same person who runs a managed group practice with a dozen or two dozen offices and a hundred employees. Someone who can lead a senior executive team consisting of non-dental professionals, a CFO, COO and VP of HR, is not the same person who runs a staff meeting with seven staff members. Someone who can deal with the risks and tribulations of leading a multimillion dollar enterprise is not someone whose main focus is keeping the status quo.

Transformation is not “airy-fairy.” It is not mystical. It is not supernatural. Transformation is an established outcome. You are not stuck with who you are or who you used to be. Transformation is accomplished through a conscious and committed pathway that enables you to break the chains of your past and your given personality, to become someone who is shaped by a visionary future, operating from commitments and integrity, shaped by courage and intention.