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Front Desk

by Stephanie Sisk

  • June 2, 2017

Partners need to see eye-to-eye on practice goals

Gates and Allen, Hewlitt and Parkard; no doubt these names ring a bell as the dynamic duos behind two of America’s biggest and most successful companies, Microsoft and Hewlitt-Packard. Those ground-breaking businesses began with an idea for a business, sure, but their success was due to the magical alchemy of “partners.” Dentists making the decision to take on a partner in their practice must evaluate a number of practical factors: volume of patients, production, location, staffing, just to name a few.

But one of the biggest considerations that can make or break the endeavor is a clear-eyed assessment of the character and personality of the incoming partner. While the relationship – and the practice -- could soar, lasting success in a partnership will depend on shared goals, even in moments when partners disagree.

When contemplating adding a partner, take the time to see whether your personalities mesh and whether you share the same vision for the practice.

“It’s important to find someone who complements your skills, but don’t underestimate the importance liking one another,” wrote Patrick Hull, an entrepreneur and Forbes contributor.

Unless partners see eye-to-eye and support the same goals, the relationship is at risk of disintegration, harsh words and ill will.

What makes a partnership work? Some tips:

Communicate.

“I believe that ongoing dialogue is so important because it helps to reduce the risk of assumptions and encourages you to stay focused on your shared vision,” according to Hull. “Of course, there is likely going to be some miscommunication and disagreement. That’s ok. But I’ve found that open communication with my partners minimizes misunderstandings and helps us work through them more quickly.”

Be committed.

Both people must be committed to the shared goal. It won’t work if one is lukewarm while the other is gung-ho. It will be through give-and-take that partners will see the benefits of working together toward a shared objective.

Avoid being judgmental. 

We have all had moments where we felt judged, and no doubt have harshly judged others as well. In our more reflective moments, we know that it is more productive and kind to put ourselves in the shoes of the other person. That same applies to partners, whose opinions should be valued and discussed without blame and judgment. Showing respect for the partner’s ideas and viewpoints will ensure a more harmonious relationship and can pay dividends if discussions point the way to better solutions.

Every moment may not be smooth – and there may be some tension or disagreements along the way –but when partners can keep the focus on the shared goal, the result – of shared success -- brings great satisfaction. And if you’re lucky, in addition to a fulfilling partnership, you also may have made a friend for life.

The views expressed in this column are those of the writer and not necessarily the opinions of the Chicago Dental Society. CDS presents Front Desk, a column addressing problems dentists and staff members experience in the office. Front Desk is prepared by Stephanie Sisk, a freelance journalist. Suggestions? 
Email topics you wish to be covered to the Chicago Dental Society.