Core Values and Vision: Business Jargon or Real Direction? (Part 1)

by Dr. Ron Arndt

The best and most essential way to create a positive, interactive dental workplace is by creating two critically important documents. The first is a value-centered set of guiding principles and the second is a clear vision statement.

To some this task may seem foolish, a waste of time, and just more ridiculous business jargon. To others this challenge may seem daunting. And to other dentists, they have discovered that to have a truly remarkable, life-balanced, and solution-oriented practice, the undertaking has been essential.

growth strategy for dentistsThe first of the two documents, Core Values, is the most critical. It is the responsibility of the doctor to establish a set of values that all team members will respect and adhere to on a daily basis. This is not an exercise where the team gathers in a quiet, dark room, sit on the floor, hold hands, hum while we light incense and then collectively share our deepest and innermost thoughts on what our morals for the practice need to be. This is the sole responsibility of the doctor…the CEO of the firm to author this slate of guiding principles.

So what are these Core Values, how do I identify them, and how do they impact my team and my office?

Core Values are the doctor’s equivalent to The Ten Commandments. They are the Guiding Principles around which the doctor will make ALL business (and personal) decisions. It is what he or she will view as “right” and “true.” These values are non-negotiable. They originate from the heart and soul of the doctor. They are the foundation and the backbone of the practice.

Any time there is a question about what to do in typical and unusual circumstances, when there are upsets about staffing issues, how to best to communicate with patients, how to behave individually and collectively, what choice is the most appropriate for the practice, everything……..the Core Values serves as the “Ultimate” guide. It is the “source of center” for behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes for everyone (including the doctor) in the office.

Identifying Core Values can be simple or challenging, depending on how you choose to attack this mission.

What most people have discovered is that their value system is “there”, they’re “inside them”, and however, they just have never taken the time or the effort to “get them out.”

When I ask my clients to identify their values they readily admit they know what they are in general terms yet they have never put them in writing. To help them and you, below are some simple ideas to improve your ability to identify your Core Values.

Find a quiet place and begin to write out what you value. Recognize that…..

  1. A core value is something I have chosen freely and with consideration for the consequences of my choice.
  2. A core value is something I prize greatly and has a positive influence on my life.
  3. A core value is something I want to publicly affirm.
  4. A core value is something I am willing to act on.
  5. A core value is something I would repeat……if given the circumstances, I would respond in the same way.

People expect to achieve certain ideals from their jobs, employers, and careers. These workplace values have a direct impact on your satisfaction with your job, with your career, and even with your life.

Since you are the business owner, your values affect how you run your business. What are your core values?

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