Building Your Dream Practice Begins with Raising Your LID
Ok, I know what you are thinking. Raising my what?? Stay with me for a minute. Before becoming a coach, I trained in person with John Maxwell, who has consistently ranked as the world’s #1 Leadership Guru for many years now. In John’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership he has a law entitled ‘The Law of the Lid’. It has nothing to do with a toilet, which is for some odd reason what I think about. (Although that is another key lesson I learned early in my marriage!)
What the Law of the Lid says is Leadership ability determines the level of your effectiveness. So, the greater a person’s ability to lead, the higher the ‘lid’ is on their potential. This translates very simply to dentistry. Your ability to lead whether it is yourself, your staff, or your patients will have a direct correlation to the success of your practice.
I’ll make a bet with you. I bet that if we took 5 separate dental practices and ranked them from most successful to least successful, then looked at the doctors and ranked them according to leadership skills, the order would be pretty similar. Do you agree? Now I know there are always devil’s advocates out there, and that it is possible that you could find a practice that bucked this trend, but I bet not too often.
Personal and professional success will always be limited without a strong ability to lead. The more success you want to achieve, the greater of impact you want to have, the greater your leadership capacity needs to be. If the practice owner’s leadership is strong the practice’s potential is high, but if it is low the practice will struggle. Whatever you want to create or accomplish inside your practice will be either helped or restricted by your ability to lead others.
But What if I’m Just Not a Good Leader
It is true that some people may be born with more natural leadership skill than others. However, all hope is not lost. I bet when you started dental school there were a few people in your class that seemed to have really good hand skills, I bet some students could wax a tooth that would make G.V. Black sit up in his grave and take notice. But with practice you improved and today your crown preps are just as good if not better, right?
The good news is leadership is a skill that can be learned. It may take practice but by studying, practicing, and having the right leaders in your life you can raise your leadership lid and thus the potential for your practice. With every click your leadership improves so will the prospect for success in your office. I promise this is a skill too often overlooked, but has a profound effect on everything in your life.
Nothing More, Nothing Less
John Maxwell says “leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” How is your level of influence inside your practice? Do your staff and patients willingly follow you? Your ‘followers’ want to know that YOU are capable of leading them to successful outcomes. It doesn’t matter if success is defined as increased production, a happier work environment or relieving a patient’s pain; both your patient’s and your team need to trust you are the right person for the job before they get on board.
Don’t Just Take a Walk!
There is an old proverb that says, “He who thinks he leads and has no followers is only taking a walk.” As we wrap up, I encourage you to take inventory of your followers. Spend some time trying to accurately assess what your leadership lid is. Once you spend some intentional time thinking about it you may realize you are doing a great job in your leadership roles. If you decide it is an area you could improve a little, congratulations you are NORMAL! Having that self awareness and honesty to be able discern that there is some room for improvement is a great leadership attribute. The time you spend trying to improve your leadership skills will not return void. A key trait in leaders is they are always looking to grow and improve. You are already doing that by reading this article and taking action if needed! (Insert golf clap here!)