The strongest method for navigating problems as they arise is to purposefully create a culture that can withstand them. The reality of running a successful office is that you will encounter professional failures that lead to personal doubts. To overcome them, you have to prepare for the worst ahead of time.

Dr. Eric Farmer on creating a dental practice culture that withstands issues. In this interview with Dr. Eric Farmer, we continue our recent blog theme on what to do when you face challenges or setbacks in your dental career. He conveys his perspective on strategizing, motivation, and pursuing success.

Culture Creation: Dr. Farmer on Issues and Inspiration

Q: What small or large issues have you had to deal with in the practice lately?

A: There are always small issues. That is part and parcel of working with people. Small issues turn in to large issues when there isn’t a culture to handle the small stuff.

One of the things I have changed in my office this year is that I’m no longer the first point of contact when there is an interpersonal issue. If a staff member is having an issue with another staff member, the way we are handling that is for those two to discuss their feelings wth each other in a non-accusatory way.

We went over some strategies for having these discussions and it has helped clear the air of resentments and little things that build up. It is never pretty when I have to get involved.

Q: What’s one of the greatest struggles you’ve faced in your time as a practicing dentist?

A: My biggest struggle has been confidence and satisfaction with myself. I am horrible at celebrating my achievements. There is always the next thing to do or accomplish that keeps me from celebrating the present. I think this is pretty common of dentists. ‘Achievers in general are we.’ -yoda

Q: What is your advice for troubleshooting problems?

A: Take a deep breath. Never let ’em see ya sweat. Work the problem. And number 1 … take good records, keep original models.

Q: What about dentistry keeps you motivated and inspired to deal with difficulties or letdowns?

A: Motivation comes from the relentless pursuit of getting better, inspiration comes from those who I have seen do it better, and then dealing with the difficulties and letdowns gracefully comes with experience. I learned that it will always work out if you communicate with patients honestly and forthright. I find even with things we have to re-do or re-prep, they are pretty much understanding and on my side. It inspires me that my patients are my biggest cheerleaders and my partners in their care.

How do you create a cohesive system for dealing with issues in your practice? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!