By Todd Cohen, CSP
The opposite of Purpose Culture is Silo Culture. Silo’s kill practices. They have a corrosive effect on the entire operation. When dental practices have a Silo Culture, every person in the practice does not believe or see how they are important to the practice’s success. People think that success and yes, sales is someone else’s responsibility. They believe helping customers and patients say “yes” is somebody else’s job. They don’t have a direct line of sight to revenue. They don’t care about the bottom line. Moreover, they think their success has nothing to do with the practice’s success. In fact, they often think helping the practice become more successful hurts them because they are spending time helping other people when they should be helping themselves.
It’s important to remember that no one in your practice ever wakes up and says, “I am proud to be overhead.” I have also written in the past that three deadliest words of dental practice are “I’m just the.” If anyone feels as if they do not contribute, this hurts the practice and makes its way to the patients. As a patient, I want to be worked on by a hygienist who gets that they are not walled off from the heart of the practice.
Silo Cultures not only stop us from adapting to change. They stop us from seeing change coming in the first place. Silo Cultures narrow our vision. We only see the little picture when we are in a silo and tell ourselves the big picture is someone else’s responsibility. Silo Cultures allows us to indulge in “not my job-ism.” They let us get comfortable being box-checkers and clock-watchers and Silo Cultures let us get good at measuring just how big our slice of the pie is. Not because we think our slice might grow. However, because we want to make sure that slice is not shrinking.
There are two things that Purpose Culture and Silo Culture do share, however. The first is that they are mindsets. These cultures are sets of beliefs and attitudes which influence how we do our jobs. The second is that good leaders can change these beliefs and attitudes. Good leaders can tear down Silo Cultures and build up Purpose Cultures.
It’s important to remember that no one in your practice ever wakes up and says, “I am proud to be overhead.”
Everyone in the practice has a wonderful opportunity to develop a purpose culture. This happens in two ways. First, the owners must embody leadership in this regard. This means that every day they show others in the practice how what they do matters. How a specific action helped a patient accept the case recommendations or make life better. Secondly, the practice leaders encourage anyone in the practice to do the same.
More than ever today, we need to tear down Silo Cultures – and we had plenty of reasons to tear them down in the past!
More than ever today, we need to build up Purpose Cultures in their place.
Moreover, we need leaders to take the first steps by living the principles of Purpose Culture in their visions, in their words, in their attitudes, and in their actions.
Todd Cohen, CSP