The three steps you can take as a leader to build a positive environment in your practice.

By Roger P. Levin, DDS

There are many types of cultures in businesses. At Levin Group, we encourage dental practices to build a culture of positivity. Having a culture of positivity simply means having a continuously positive environment from which the team derives satisfaction. They will not only enjoy their jobs, but provide excellent customer service and be supportive of each other as a team. However, having a positive culture does not happen by accident. It is deliberate, based on leadership, and must be constantly reinforced.

Leadership and the culture of positivity

The orthodontist is the key factor in building a culture of positivity. However, the reality is that most orthodontists don’t think about building a culture. If they do, it is usually short-lived until the next idea or initiative is undertaken, and then the culture is forgotten. Yet, every top business school teaches that the culture of a business is a determining factor in its long-term success.

In the dental industry, the days of low competition and the favorable supply and demand of patients are over. Competition is expanding and coming from many nontraditional service delivery models. As a result, I always encourage orthodontic practices to focus continually on maintaining a strong competitive advantage. Building a culture of positivity is one of the best steps a practice can take to build a dedicated team that will remain competitive.

Here are three things an orthodontist can begin to do as a leader to build a culture of positivity:

  1. Be positive. Bringing a positive personality to work every day as a leader is the most essential aspect in building a culture of positivity. We know from years of experience with thousands of staff members, that the team follows the leader. If the leader does not think about culture, the team will never think about culture. If the leader is negative or gossips, the team will be negative and gossip. If the leader is always positive, and we mean always, the team will gradually become positive.
  2. Make an inspirational or positive opening statement at every morning meeting. This sets the tone for the day and reflects the personality of the leader. If you feel that you are working at this and it is not your natural state, that is perfectly fine. Working toward becoming a positive leader can take a little bit of time but it is well worth it, and it benefits the entire team and practice.
  3. Always respond to negative comments with something positive. When you continually say something positive after a team member complains or gossips about another team member, people will gradually understand that negativity has no place in your practice.

The benefits of the culture of positivity

We have seen time and time again that building a culture of positivity will help to increase production as the culture becomes more positive. Here’s why:

  1. People who are positive deliver better customer service.
  2. Positive people are contagious and get along better with patients, parents, and other team members.
  3. Positive people work harder and are more productive without realizing it.
  4. Positive people are more cooperative and don’t argue about who isn’t pulling their weight or helping out.

These benefits almost always lead to enhanced production, which is the number one factor in short and long-term orthodontic practice success.

Building a culture of positivity starts with the leader. Leaders must take their role seriously, strategize what they are going to do, and work at it. As one orthodontist said to me recently, “I approach every challenge by asking what the positive options are and then I pick the best one.” This is a lesson in a culture of positivity.OP

Roger Levin

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the CEO and founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 practices to increase production. A recognized expert on orthodontic practice management and marketing, he has written 67 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the U.S. and around the world. To contact Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit or email [email protected].