Help! How do I know who to hire?

January 4, 2017
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

A look at the questions you need to be asking before you hire someone.

I am often asked about what kind of people to hire. There are many avenues for screening applicants such as personality profiles, in-depth interviews, job history, references, a probationary period, and so forth. All of them are important. But the most critical question that determines whether you pull the switch or not is this: can they convert your intentions into reality?

The primary attribute of successful people is their ability to convert intention into reality. They first generate a clear intention, usually stated as goals or outcomes, and then they make it happen. There is no hyperbole, reasoning, justification, pretext, defensiveness-they just get it done.

Related article: 6 easy steps to making sure your new hire becomes a great hire

Successful people hold their word as sacred. What you’ll hear from people who cannot convert intention into reality is “Other people didn’t do what they said. Other breakdowns happened that were more urgent. The marketing didn’t work. They weren’t there when I called.” Much of what you’ll hear is excuses and explanations.

This is often followed by the “oh poor me” act: “I tried really hard. I did everything I could. I didn’t get the support I needed. What more could I have done.” They become the victim. If they become the victim, they need to have a persecutor and a rescuer to complete the triangle.

The victim creates the persecutor by faulting someone or something. “They didn’t help be enough. She didn’t give me the time I needed. He didn’t help me out.” And if you have a victim and a persecutor, you need the rescuer so the victim tries to find a rescuer, someone to bail them out. They often use guilt or some other form of manipulation, like trying to gain sympathy, to create a rescuer.

Read more: The right way to bring on an associate in your dental practice

Ultimately, what you are looking for is an “Andrew Rowan” type, found in the famous story A Message to Garcia. With tension increasing between the United States and Spain, which ruled Cuba at that time, President William McKinley desired to initiate communication with the Cuban rebels, believing them to be a valuable ally in case of war with Spain. Lieutenant Andrew Rowan was tasked with delivering a letter to Calixto García, one of three top commanders of the rebels.1

Rowan was sent for, and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. Rowan took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle and came out on the other side of the Island three weeks later. He had traversed a hostile country on foot and delivered his letter to Garcia.

Related article: Tips for hiring in the dental practice

The point of this story is this: when McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia, Rowan took the letter and didn't ask, "Where is he at?" As Elbert Hubbard writes of the incident, “By the Eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: do the thing- ‘Carry a message to Garcia!’”1,2,3

Hire people who can carry a message to Garcia.


1)     Wikipedia:

2)    A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard:

3)    How I Carried the Message to Garcia by Colonel Andrew Summers Rowan: