Respect Your Stakeholders


When you own a business, you are placing yourself in a position where you will have an affect on many people. The way you treat your ‘stakeholders’, or the people that both have a direct impact on your business, and those who are directly impacted by your business, is something you want to get right!

The stakeholders of a dental practice range from the staff and patients, all the way through to the person that pounds the pavement doing an advertising mailbox-drop for you.

I started working as a dental nurse way back in 1987. Over the years I have been in a number of dental surgeries, and observed many practice owners in action. Despite all being highly skilled in the surgery setting, I noted a large disparity in the quality of the relationships they developed with people outside the practice walls, such as those at the dental companies, temp agencies and the laboratories.

Over the years, on the dark side, I have seen many highly frustrated owners, not getting what they want. After working in dental laboratories I have also seen the same with technicians, upset at having to meet what they perceive as unrealistic expectations from the dentist.  The interactions always seemed doomed, because everyone was upset, trying to be heard and wanting to cover their own behinds.

On the light side, I also saw the opposite. When things went askew the practice owner and stakeholder would discuss the issue and together, formulate a solution.

What I saw as the difference between these two interactions was RESPECT. The respect that the practice owner had for the challenges that the stakeholder needs to overcome in order to provide what the practice wants.

There are many factors at play for the stakeholder. They have the same business obligations that you do. They need to be viable, have reasonable expectations on their staff, and on their products and services. And just like dental practices, they have time and skill constraints.

When I reflect back over the many times where the solution to my problem required the input of another, the quickest and most ideal results occurred when I addressed their ‘obstacles’ as well as my own.

Most would agree that good relationships are good for business, but deeply respectful relationships develop great business.