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May 7, 2020 | President's Message: Be Impactful and Find Success in the Middle of It All

The implications of COVID-19 have been profound at so many different levels and the path to recovery is still evolving and fluid. While much uncertainty remains around the timeline for re-entering workplaces in markets across Texas, how to safely return to our practices is at the forefront for me and many of you. 

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to observe and learn how a healthy culture in the workplace can have a profound effect on you, your team, and your patients. In my opinion, a strong, healthy culture is as important, if not more important, than a business strategy because it can strengthen your practice and the objectives it is trying to achieve. Whether you are a practice owner, a partner, or an associate, I think this message will resonate with you. Why? Because at the end of the day, we are all dentists that play a key leadership role in the dental health of our patients; therefore, we all have the power to influence positive outcomes, even in a crisis, no matter the stage of our career.  

On May 1st, Texas dentists were granted approval to open their practices and start providing needed dental care to the residents of Texas. Navigating through the TSBDE guidelines, to ensure the dental team knows how to safely interact with one another and their patients has been challenging for some (but not impossible) and scary for others. Somewhere in between, in the middle of all things COVID-19, I want to encourage you to find success despite all of the outside challenges. According to Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a professor at Harvard Business School and author of Kanter’s law, “In the middle, everything looks like a failure. This is why we should talk about having a growth mindset, which allows us to think of failure as a natural part of the process before we begin any big changes.”

Embracing a people-first culture that listens to team members, with an intention to serve others, will help us achieve a growth mindset to navigate our next steps with a clear direction. So I ask, “How do you make an impact and maintain a healthy culture in the middle of all of this?”  Here are some simple recommendations from Kanter: 

  • SHOW UP
    The first key to leadership is to show up. Your presence makes a difference. Showing up allows an opportunity to fall in our lap and the chance to seize the moment. In our world, where we juggle busy schedules and value work flexibility, we have to make an effort to be present for the activities that promote community and culture.

  • SPEAK UP
    Don’t be afraid to speak up and express your ideas to others. Be articulate; be an advocate. Use the power of your voice to own your airspace.

  • LOOK UP
    Without vision and values, leadership is hollow. Higher values inspire us to pursue positive change with determination, while narrower interests often stand in the way. Companies that stand for vision and values, create something for the world.

  • TEAM UP
    Anything worth doing is going to require collaboration and collective effort. Use your team to broaden your knowledge and problem solve horizons. Everything is better with the right set of partners.

  • NEVER GIVE UP
    Kanter’s Law: “Everything can look like a failure in the middle. Everything we start has something that looks like a roadblock in the middle. Middles are difficult.” Be patient; be persistent.

  • LIFT OTHERS UP
    Share the success.  When you share the credit and recognition, you have a positive impact on the quality of the work others do. When other people feel elevated, you build support. In turn, the culture is primed to repeat the cycle of success.

All of these items are imperative to growth, right? Implementing these recommendations during and after this crisis will provide assurance to your team and overall to your patients. I encourage you to foster a harmonized approach between utilizing science to guide your procedures and to maintain a healthy culture mindset. We are leaders, we have the strength to persist, and we can make an impact.    

The Texas AGD will continue to be your voice, advocating behind the scenes on your behalf, and providing resources to help you emerge from this crisis with strength and success. 


Take a deeper dive and read Leading Your Team Past the Peak of a Crisis    |    To Read Past Messages, click Recent News