Why would you have core values for your dental practice?

More and more companies are starting to create and embody core values as part of their company culture and the business’s mission statement.

Netflix, Google, Apple and Virgin are just some of the large corporations that embed core values into their everyday working practice and this has now filtered down to smaller businesses; creating and owning their own core values.

Should dental practices be following suit? A lot of dental practices have already embraced the idea of core values for the day to day running of their practices. But, before you start picking out random, powerful words from the dictionary and sticking them up all over your practice, have a think about what core values really mean to your team and business.

What exactly are core values?

Core values are a list of words or statements that best represent: your company, you and your team. These words should align with your practice’s mission statement and your goals. This is not a new thing even the ancient samurai had the bushido code, the 7 virtues they lived by.

The benefits of having core values

Core values should not only build your company culture and motivate your workforce but they also help with your brand message and marketing. Your patients will relate and feel confident that you have core values that you adhere to and run your practice by; and they will help shape the identity that clients see of you.

How to write your core values…

It’s not as easy closing your eyes, opening a dictionary and then putting your finger on a word. You need a set of values that don’t just sound “nice”, but shape the way your business and employees behave. Your values should guide your decision making; and if performed correctly should provide ROI in both an engaged team and loyal patients.

Before you start you need to really think about how you want people to feel about your dental practice. What are the kind of things you look for when you recruiting your team? Use our step-by-step guide to help get you started…

Choose your limit

Some companies have 5, 7, 10 even up to 20! Each word or statement should just be as important as the other, so having too many or too few could devalue them. Try to aim for no more than 5 core values.

Have some wordplay

Have a brainstorm to find your keywords; this could be part of one of your huddles with the team, as the more involved they are the more they’re going to believe and live them. Make it fun, you don’t have to take it too seriously at this stage, ask your team what they feel are the words to represent the dental practice that they work.

Write them down and forget them

Keep a track of all your favorite words, write them down in a spreadsheet or even better on pieces of card and pin them to a notice board. Once you have narrowed your list down to your desired number, forget them.

Walk away and take them completely out of your mind, then come back to them a few weeks later with completely fresh eyes. This will make it easier for you to be more objective. If these words still embody your core values then, you have found them.

Understand the true meaning of your words

Now you have identified and finalised your core values, dig a little deep to add additional depth to them. What does each individual word stand for and how does it relate to you, your practice and your dental team?

Remember these are not rigid rules for your employees to adhere to but as guidelines to help and assist them.

Embrace, Embody, Encourage and Enjoy

Well done, you have found your core values for your business, now you need to make them a reality. You can put them up in your practice, add them to your website and use them as part of your marketing strategy. But they’re not just there to look nice. They should be principles you standby, there is no point in doing all this work if you don’t actually embrace them, embody them, encourage them or enjoy them.

As part of the Henry Schein group, Software of Excellence also follow our own core values as a business and as a team we embody them. Some of ours include “People are our greatest asset”, “recognise creativity and encourage it” and “open communication”. Sometimes we use these in meetings to check our decision making, and if what we’re doing doesn’t align with these values, we don’t do it, or we change our thinking so they do align.

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