Trust in Relationship-Based Practices

November 9, 2018 Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

What is trust and why does it matter in the relationship-based practice? 

Writer and public speaker Steven M. R. Covey says that trust is the one thing that changes everything. Trust lives at the intersection of competence and character. In other words, great skills alone are not enough because you might use them to benefit yourself and not your patient/client.

Trust in Relationships

Character alone is not enough because you might not be able to deliver great clinical results. When character and competence are both present, then what is possible within that professional relationship becomes different.

A strategy to establish and build high trust working relationships in a professional practice is equally as essential as developing high clinical competency. In fact, they are synergistic and will provide energy for one another.

Trust then is not just a philosophical construct. It is not just a means to bring your personal mission to life. It is also a critical business strategy in building a relationship-based professional practice. This is the face of the trust that lives between a dentist and their patient.

Strong Leadership

Much research has shown observable trust to be the number one factor in a patient’s decision to trust the practice as a whole and the dentist in particular. This is simply a measurable function of leadership and the culture that results when great leaders are at their best.

A high performing leader will have strong relating competencies, high integrity, courageous authenticity, self-awareness, and a focus on achievement. These competencies will attract like-minded team members, establishing a culture of respect, appreciation, accountability, and trust.

When this happens, trust will flow in both directions and be visible and experienced by all. This entire process is nonlinear. It is very interdependent and, by necessity, simultaneous. Much like each biochemical system in a cell is necessary for proper cellular function, each complex biochemical unit is also necessary for the other systems to form in the first place. Together, they ensure the entire cell functions properly.

Similarly, while the dynamics of respect, trust, appreciation, and accountability are essential ingredients to establish a healthy practice culture, they also rely on one another to sustain a successful system. They are necessary for the entire practice to function at its best.

Check out this article for quick and easy body language tips that develop trust! What’s your take on this oft-debated topic? 

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About Author

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Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Dr. Edwin A. McDonald III received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Economics from Midwestern State University. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. Dr. McDonald has completed extensive training in dental implant dentistry through the University of Florida Center for Implant Dentistry. He has also completed extensive aesthetic dentistry training through various programs including the Seattle Institute, The Pankey Institute and Spear Education. Mac is a general dentist in Plano Texas. His practice is focused on esthetic and restorative dentistry. He is a visiting faculty member at the Pankey Institute. Mac also lectures at meetings around the country and has been very active with both the Dallas County Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. Currently, he is a student in the Naveen Jindal School of Business at the University of Texas at Dallas pursuing a graduate certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching. With Dr. Joel Small, he is co-founder of Line of Sight Coaching, dedicated to helping healthcare professionals develop leadership and coaching skills that improve the effectiveness, morale and productivity of their teams.

One thought on “Trust in Relationship-Based Practices

  1. Great article Mac! Years ago I wrote my own definition of Leadership: “A leader is a person who is Willing and Able to Influence behavior; their own first, then others, toward a Preferred Future, even in the face of resistance.” Richard A. Green, DDS, MBA

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