We have talked quite a bit about the individual components of the Sensation Seven. I would now like to tie it all together and attempt to draw some conclusions. We have worked for a decade or so in an attempt to identify the factors that lead to success in our partners at Comfort and likely, anywhere else in dentistry. If I do a good job here, I should create nearly as many questions as I do answers. Don’t misunderstand. We are quite certain we have the 7 success factors nailed. What is less certain is which are more important as well as less so. We know for certain that 1 absolutely and probably 2 are more important than the rest. But be careful not to interpret this as the other 5 or 6 are not important. THEY ARE ALL IMPORTANT. There are simply 1or 2 that, if strong, can compensate for weakness in the others. Then I have the perpetual question: Can the 7 be taught to grownup professionals? Our purpose has been to identify the strongest Comfort partner candidates BEFORE they become partners. In a fairly big way, as you will see, we failed. But not for lack of effort. See if you agree.
We invested heavily in institutional testing for a number of years. We identified the 7, tested our existing partners, rated our existing partners, and of course, tested all potential partners. All of these results were then coordinated to the performance of all existing partners to date. We have a lot of data. I don’t know how to confirm this but I guess it to have been the most exhaustive study of performing dentists in the non-clinical arena ever done.
The Sensation Seven are, in no particular order, Likeability, Clinical Speed/Efficiency, Clinical Quality, Work Ethic, Organizational Skills, Leadership/Character, and Confrontational Tolerance. Our years and investment in testing taught us that the list is complete. Comfort partners who are strong in most of the 7 will be successful, meaning they will earn well. (For us, this is 200-300% the average for dentistry) Those who are not strong in most will struggle, those who are not strong in any will fail, and those who are strong in all will be superstars and earn among the highest earning Dentists anywhere.
We also learned that, while all are important, 2 (especially 1) trump the other 5. The 2 most important are Clinical Speed/efficiency and Work Ethic. The 1 that’s head and shoulders above all others? WORK ETHIC. In our system, if the Doc has a strong Work Ethic, he/she can be weaker in the others and still be successful. We believe very strongly that these are facts. The frustrations? We don’t know how to test for Work Ethic or Clinical Speed prior to working in our system. To be sure, our volume makes a steep learning curve for clinical efficiency but we can’t see it until the partner is in the system. That and we don’t believe we can substantially teach most of the 7 and we’re not sure most of them can be taught to grownup professionals at ALL. Which do you believe can be taught significantly? Some, all? All, some? Most, not very much? Bear in mind, I’m strong in all 7 and most of it came naturally to me. My career’s challenge has been to find a way to teach things that I didn’t have to be taught at all. Obviously Clinical Quality and Clinical Speed are taught and learned throughout our careers. The other 5? To me, in large part, a crapshoot.
So we love what we’ve learned but have stopped testing and live with our frustration. Clearly, each of the 7 could use up a blog. But I will try to give you plenty to think about and you can take it from here yourself. Let’s take the 7 individually and I’ll give you my own score assessment for each on a scale of 1-10 with the usual apologies for ego. You do the same.
I guess I don’t have to explain Work Ethic in much detail. Again, this is difficult for me because Work Ethic comes so naturally to me. Either the Doc is willing to work his/her butt off or not. We have a wealth of patients so “busyness” is not an issue. I think elitism is a big part of the problem. To me, elitism is synonymous with laziness. Elitists won’t (can’t) see as many patients as we see, won’t match the fees we can offer, won’t work the hours we work, won’t do the procedures we do and do it all one patient/one procedure at a time so big fees are necessary. Again, a lazy Doc will fail at Comfort Dental but one with a strong Work Ethic can be weaker in other areas and still be successful. Balls-to-the-wall for 6 or 12 hours. I give myself a 9 on the 1-10 scale here. It’s not fun, necessarily. That’s why we call it WORK. Fun is more likely to happen after WORK. Oh and how do you teach Work Ethic?
Clinical Speed/Efficiency can certainly be learned and we have discovered that REPS (many multiples of the same tasks) is the key to it. We do LOTS of bread & butter procedures and lots of procedures means more reps and more reps leads to Clinical Speed which leads to more procedures and more reps and on and on. It’s a beautiful thing and it’s our 2nd most important success factor. Our Docs must be committed to Clinical efficiency. I give myself a 9 here as well. Remember that an overall quest for us is to figure out how to do twice as many just as well in half the time for half the fee. Do that and you will be successful beyond your dreams.
Likeability is so important and so MANY DDS’s don’t understand this basic human concept. I fear it can not be taught although I’m willing to admit that with a strong Fantastic Five, (Post-op care calls the best of the FF here) a less likeable Doc can appear more so. Likeability is your communication skills, really, and I also like to refer to it as good PISS (Patient Interaction Skill Set). Are you a patient magnet? We’ve had some success with our partners who struggle in this area by providing public speaking continuing education to develop confidence in communication. It may surprise you that here again I give myself a 9. My patients absolutely loved me and referred everyone they knew to me. I’m probably not as good clinically as you. I wasn’t fooling them. They see through that eventually. In any field, people do business with people they like. Oh and convey your likeability in a moment or two. SMILE maybe. And for goodness sakes lighten up. Dentistry is deadly serious to your DSI’s but doesn’t have to be for you. Talk some, not too much and NOT about dentistry.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of Sensational Seven….