In the last few years, the new healthcare landscape has dramatically changed every specialty, including dentistry. Global challenges and economic shifts have forced dental practices to pause and rethink how to navigate these changes as they are, first and foremost, businesses that need a leader with a clear vision. Enter Kiera Dent.
Kiera Dent is the CEO and founder of The Dental A-Team, and we had the absolute pleasure of chatting with her on The Pinnacle Podcast. Her company provides training, online education, and empowerment for dental teams and practices across the US. By providing these services to more than 200 clients, she aims to strengthen the structure and culture within dental facilities. Her goal is “To positively impact the world of dentistry in the greatest way possible,” which she does one practice at a time.
As a founder, she identifies with the everyday struggles that new business owners encounter.
The Common Mistakes New Leaders Make
When Kiera first launched her business, she focused on achieving as much success as possible. She constantly burned the midnight oil to make her aspirations a reality – from early morning to late evening, repeat the next day. Because she was pushing her limits, she eventually reaped the rewards of her hard work, and people applauded her. However, most people didn’t see the cost of being hyper-focused on chasing success.
In exchange for the initial success of her business, Kiera had to deal with repercussions that manifested in her body, personal life, and mental state. She realized that running a business is not a sprint where you run as fast as possible to finish the race more quickly. Instead, it’s a marathon where you slowly but surely check things off your list because, contrary to popular belief, there is no end in business – you shouldn’t burn yourself out trying to reach an ending point that doesn’t exist.
Kiera’s advice to new and seasoned business leaders? Take care of yourself.
How You Can Take Care of Yourself as a Leader
As a dental practice leader, you most likely have many things on your plate because you are the golden goose that can make or break an entire practice. However, the sheer amount of responsibility should be manageable for your ability to care for yourself because your body and mind are your most valuable assets.
Kiera shifted from focusing on earning a great title to living her dream life while building her business. Her approach to self-care includes the following:
Resting when the body needs it
Taking in proper nourishment
Reading books to strengthen the mind
Even though you might think that resting wastes time, you need to remember that resting is essential – you shouldn’t consider it a reward for accomplishing something. Also, a strong mindset is necessary as your perception affects your approach, and the strength of your team reflects who you are as a leader.
Kiera also suggests getting a good coach. As a leader, you need to be the strongest person in your practice because it is your responsibility to guide everyone involved. However, you still have limitations that make you human, and you can’t be perfect 100% of the time. Get a good coach who can not only guide you but can also identify weaknesses that you can’t see.
Moreover, always continue learning from your coach, academic resources, or the people you surround yourself with. When you pursue continuous learning, you are going on an upward trajectory that will help you grow as a person and a leader.
The Future of the Dental Industry
Following the global pandemic in 2020, the dental industry has seen a radical change. According to Kiera, how dental practices operated before was already dated & less than optimal for efficiency. However, the need for a new approach became paramount when the pandemic hit. Not only did COVID safety measures heavily limit dental services, but they also weakened the workforce as more and more employees made impulsive career decisions in light of a troubled economy.
“We were in a hygiene drought, then a dental assistant drought,” Kiera explains. With an economic recession approaching, the future of the dental industry practically relies on whether or not practices are willing to adopt and embrace changes to the standard approach.
As a dental consultant, Kiera has three tips to help you combat the incoming recession and see your dental practice through it.
Be Mentally Tough
No matter from what angle you try to look at it, an economic recession will always trigger negative thoughts – Will your dental practice make it? Will you be able to maintain vital resources? These thoughts can cloud your thoughts and impair your ability to make rational decisions. For these reasons, strengthen your mindset by meditating, journaling, getting a coach, or anything that will help you gain clarity amidst all the noise. We are going into warrior mode, where every move matters.
Be Fiscally Conservative
Cash is critical as it helps maintain different aspects of your dental practice, from physical location and assets to human resources. As a business owner, you are responsible for knowing your numbers to have a better strategy to combat the recession. In addition, start building cash reserves so you can pivot accordingly, ultimately securing your dental practice. Remember, recessions can turn intelligent business owners into millionaires and billionaires.
One of the most apparent struggles of a recession is the weakening of resources, including those working within your team. Economic struggles often push employees to leave, shift industries, or change their priorities. While retaining them ought to be in your best interest, you should still be prepared by turning to other staffing solutions, such as an outsourcing company that gives you access to virtual dental assistants with great potential of being an invaluable asset to your dental practice.
When staffing your dental practice during an economic downturn, stepping up as a leader becomes more crucial as you must put the right people in the right seats.
How to Staff Your Dental Practice
As the saying goes, “Small hinges open to big doors.” One person can make or break your team during a recession, so finding the best candidates is an excellent way to see your dental practice through the recession.
Kiera lists the following strategies to help you staff your dental practice ideally:
Maximize Available Resources
Most practices rely on the interview process and gut feeling to help them determine whom they should and shouldn’t hire. However, it would be best to use various online tools, such as those that let you profile candidates based on their qualities. That way, you can have a clearer picture of your chosen candidates.
Test Candidate Performance
A staff member’s value is primarily determined by what they do. During the interview, try to see how well they perform specific tasks. Doing so will help you determine whether or not their abilities match the skills they put in their resume. Furthermore, testing their performance will also give you an idea of how you can maximize what they bring to the table.
Strengthening your team isn’t just about onboarding someone with a suitable skill set but also finding someone who can journey with you as you run your dental practice. Think of what kind of practice you want to have in the long run and find someone who embodies the core values that fueled how and why you started it in the first place.
Kiera has shared incredible insights with us on our podcast. You can listen to the full podcast episode here for an in-depth look at how to prepare your dental practice for success.