It has been said that most leaders are made, not born. This is true.  But what also needs to be said is that all leaders are not equal. Most leaders excel in good times. They are charismatic, polite, engaging, and smart enough to allow a good economy to create a positive leadership scenario.

Unfortunately, some of those same leaders are not always good at handling more challenging times. For example, a dentist who builds a highly successful practice or borrows money to build multiple practices in a good economy may look brilliant. But when that good economy disappears or dissipates, the results are not the same. And that dentist learns very quickly that the leader you are good times is much different than the leader you are in bad.

Dentistry, like the rest of the economy, is under pressure. At Levin Group, we believe that any leader can begin to transform into an excellent leader even in these unprecedented times. We urge every practice leader to employ the following three recommendations to navigate their way through this crisis and any other challenges they may face.

What you need to navigate a crisis


We have seen hundreds of practices hitting record production numbers in their first months back. This has allowed them to quickly recover some of their lost revenue and set the stage for future growth. So how were they able to move forward during these challenging times? Resilience was the key. The resilient leaders of these practices immediately accepted that things weren’t ever going to be the same again. Changes and flexibility are now the norm. Resilient leaders are successful in a crisis because they are willing to change and change quickly. Every day they ask themselves “What needs to change tomorrow?”

Daily Measurements.

The 25 key performance indicators that Levin Group normally teaches clients to measure monthly are now whittled down to 8 key performance indicators that must be measured daily. The key here is that leaders in a crisis understand that information must be gathered and reacted to quickly. Waiting even one month to see what is going on can have significant negative repercussions. Key measurements should include:

  • Production
  • Collection
  • Revenue
  • Expenses
  • Doctor Income
  • Number of active patients
  • Number of patients to be reactivated
  • Number of new patients

If all these measurements are on target the leader can have confidence that the practice is moving successfully through the recovery phase.

Empathy and compassion.

Leaders must understand that all practice rules, regulations, policies, and protocols must all be reevaluated or made more flexible. During this time, your team members will be much more concerned about their family, financial situations, and health. As a result, any type of emotion or behavior can suddenly emerge without warning. It doesn’t mean that person is not dedicated and committed. It just means that they’re having a bad moment that requires your empathy and compassion. You may need to send a staff member to the staff room to spend some time regaining their composure. They may even need to go home. Yes, it puts pressure on the rest of the practice but when they arrive the next day they will most likely be back to normal performance. This is what empathy and compassion are all about. And remember, this applies to your patients as well. There will be patients who need payment plans or even discounts. Others will want extra assurances about their health and safety.

Any dentist can learn the art of leadership

Leadership in a crisis is different than leadership in good times. We all look better and perform better in a good economy, but we may not lead as well when facing challenges. The good news is that any dentist can learn and master the art of leadership in a crisis. By following and incorporating the three essentials outlined above you will be able to better navigate rough times.

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