11 qualities of the TRUE dentist entrepreneur
Breaking down the key traits shared by visionaries in the dental field.
7. Risk tolerance
In the context of dentistry, risk tolerance is the degree of variability that a dentist is willing to withstand, his or her willingness to stomach the swings in the value of his or her investments. The definition of risk is exposure to danger. In business, this implies downside risk, meaning the uncertainty of a return on investment or the potential for financial loss. Dentist entrepreneurs have a high degree of risk tolerance, which allows them to move bravely into an uncertain future. They understand there is no clear road map for generating a successfully managed group practice, but they believe in themselves and their ability to find their way.
A strong risk tolerance is needed given the numerous financial and professional uncertainties that present themselves in generating a managed group practice. No risk, no reward. And risk also adds power, resourcefulness and urgency, which generates more effective action.
Most dentists are risk-averse. They are sluggish or even reluctant to change. They try to mitigate risk as much as possible by continuing to do the same things they’ve always done, hoping that it will be enough to sustain them. Their low tolerance of risk keeps them stuck in the past, unable to take the necessary actions to adapt.
Motivation is the desire to achieve. Motivation begins with a strong belief. A tremendous amount of motivation is needed to sustain dentist entrepreneurs through the trials and tribulations of building a managed group practice. If not fully committed, the arduous issues a dentist entrepreneur faces will never be resolved.
Almost all dentists are strongly motivated to improve their clinical knowledge and the level of dentistry they deliver, but few are motivated to build a managed group practice.
Being self-aware is a fundamental and critical component of successful leadership in generating a managed group practice. Self-awareness is conscious knowledge of one's own character, feelings, motives and desires. If dentist entrepreneurs don’t know themselves, recognize their strengths and weaknesses, understand why they react the way they do, they will make poor decisions. As validated by numerous business books, experts and studies, the higher the level of self-awareness, the more potent the leadership and the more successful the enterprise will be.
Most dentists see little value in enhancing their self-awareness. They have little appreciation for self-examination and self-discovery, the pathways to self-awareness. Dentist entrepreneurs are hungry to learn about themselves because that understand that who they are—not what they do—is the ultimate key to success.
Next page: What are your core values?