When did you last ask yourself why? You know your what: you’re a dental owner with a practice that provides dental services to people in your community. Yet do you know why you do what you do?
Why the Why matters
Simon Sinek’s bestseller Start with Why delves into how and why companies and individuals that know their why are particularly effective and productive.
As a dental owner, understanding your why can impact how your practice runs and how big it grows. Knowing your why allows you and your staff to connect day-to-day tasks to a larger, more meaningful purpose, leading to more satisfying work. It also guides you to hire the right people who will work towards expressing your practice’s why, and achieving the vision you have for your business.
Understanding your practice’s purpose is an important component of creating a solid foundation for a meaningful work life.
How to find your Why
For some in-depth exercises on how to find your own why and the why of your dental practice, I recommend checking out the exercise on Simon Sinek’s website. My book, Responsible Dental Ownership, also has three powerful exercises to help guide you through the process.
However, you can dive into the process of discovering your why right now. Start by doing what I did, when I set out to discover my why and the why of my company, Maxim Software Services. I asked my close friends and family members what they thought my purpose was. Why do they think I do what I do? What I found out from these conversations was eye-opening. If you can, I encourage you to have similar conversations, even though they can be difficult, with some people close to you.
Quick caveat: If you think that your why is money, I challenge you to explore more deeply. You’ll inevitably find something else driving you in your work beyond the money.
How to Implement Your “Why”
The why should come first, so the what and the how are not just circumstantial, but purposeful expressions of that why.
Remember that a why is not a goal in and of itself, a benchmark to be reached. It’s more like a guiding star and a constant reminder of what motivates you.
Communicate it to everyone in your practice. It will keep them connected to the real reason they’re here and the impact of the work they’re doing. It’s especially important to communicate your why to your office manager, as they are the face of the front of your office.
Make it part of your hiring process. Talk about your practice’s why during the interview process with potential candidates. Look for people who resonate with your why and show enthusiasm about it.
Let it guide decisions. Knowing your why will help you and your staff make decisions when stuck. When opportunities arise, your why will help you evaluate whether those opportunities are aligned to your greater purpose. When challenges arise, knowing your why can help you find the right solution.
Finding You Why Isn’t Easy
Purpose is such a profound and ineffable thing that it can be hard to pin down, but it is worth it. It takes effort to discover your why, but when you do, it will guide your decisions, actions, and even the future of your dental practice. If you haven’t yet, take the time to find your why.