Why do some practices grow and thrive, while others never seem to meet their goals? Why do some experience dramatic growth and longevity, and others find themselves facing stagnant growth and shrinking patient loads? And why are some practices staffed with loyal, happy, fulfilled teams while others experience stress, low morale, and high turnover?
The difference might boil down to how these practices define and live by their core values.
Let’s begin by looking at a couple of examples from the business world.
You can get a cup of coffee almost anywhere, from your local convenience store, the corner gas station, or your office. So why does Starbuck’s dominate the coffee industry? Pretty simple. Here are their core values:
• Acting with courage, challenging the status quo, and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
• Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity, and respect.
• Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.
We are performance driven, through the lens of humanity.
Starbucks isn’t just in the coffee business. They’re in the people business. The key to is the culture, the atmosphere their shops exude worldwide. Company founder and former CEO Howard Schultz put it this way: “We’re in the business of human connection and humanity, creating communities in a third place between home and work.”
Travelers have a choice of airlines when they must fly across the U.S. It’s no secret that Southwest Airlines is a no-frills, economical alternative in air travel. But what makes them so successful and popular with the flying public? Here are Southwest’s core values:
• Servant’s Heart – Follow the Golden Rule. Treat others with respect. Embrace our Southwest Family.
• Fun-LUVing Attitude – Be a passionate Team Player. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Celebrate successes
• Wow Our Customers – Deliver world-class Hospitality. Create memorable connections. Be famous for friendly service.
Travelers know exactly what they’re going to get when they fly Southwest — a dedicated, fun-loving team that pushes the envelope on service and provides a unique travel experience.
And employees at both Starbucks and Southwest are among the happiest in the workforce.
So what does this have to do with your practice and its success?
Think about it this way:
Just like Starbucks, there are lots of dental care providers in your community.
Just like Southwest, people have lots of choices when it comes to dental care.
Why should they come to YOU for dental care? What can they count on your practice to provide?
And what makes your practice a happy, fulfilling place to work?
Where do Core Values Originate?
Every modern management book or workshop or TED talk speaks about core values as essential for success. Core values are one of those “everybody’s gotta have ‘em” phenomena in modern business. CEOs, boards of directors, and senior management invest time and money in crafting their organizations core values.
But to be meaningful, core values need to define what makes your organization unique in your market — not just a collection of important-sounding, high-minded words like “integrity,” “honesty,” and “customer service.”
In a 2014 speech at Stanford, Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb put it this way:
When you look at the core values of companies like Starbucks, Southwest, Airbnb, Ben and Jerry’s, Zappos, or any other wildly successful organization, you’ll find their core values are robust and powerful, driving every interaction among customers and team members alike.
Why do Authentic Core Values Matter in Business?
The most powerful core values endure over time, transcending people and even the company’s physical presence. Powerful core values have staying power as the organization grows and evolves. The most powerful core values are authentic expressions of the heart, soul, and guts.
When an organization’s core values deeply touch and inspire the human spirit, they bring forth people’s deep desire to work for a higher purpose, to make a difference, to contribute, to make the world a better place.
If an organization’s core values are inauthentic, customers, employees, and stake holders feel it. There might be a poster on the wall that lists “integrity, honesty, and outstanding customer service,” but if those values are not living things that influence every interaction within the organization and shape its culture, the business will not thrive.
Again, from Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky:
Determine the Core Values of Your Practice
Defining the core values of your practice requires more than a 15-minute mental exercise, a quick Google search for the “right” values to put up on the wall, or a weekend retreat with your staff and your stakeholders.
You’ll need to reach deep inside yourself to discover the place where your greater humanity lives. Who are you in the world? What do you most deeply feel about your profession and the difference it can make in people’s lives? What do you want to be known for? How do you want to be remembered? What matters most to you?
When you’ve discovered the authenticity of your own core values, you’ll need to act in accord with them. You’ll need to manage your staff in accord with them. You’ll need to interact with your patients in accord with your core values.
And when you’ve touched the deepest place of your humanity to determine your core values, they’ll become the driving pulse of your practice — not only influencing every interaction with your staff and your patients, but with their lives and the people in them. Like iron filings to a magnet, your living core values will align the attitudes and behaviors that will transform your practice.
We’d love to help you discover your core values.
If you’re ready to explore how you can transform your practice and take you, your team, and your patients to the next level, we’re here to help.
For over 25 years, P & S Coaching has successfully assisted practices just like yours, working with them not only to discover their core values, but to achieve and surpass their goals and create the kind of exceptional patient experience that keeps their practices thriving.
Schedule a complimentary Discovery Call today.
One idea — one tiny shift in the way you do business — could make your practice more satisfying and profitable. Why not take advantage of this complimentary opportunity?