Dental Practice: Core Values

By Dr. Addison Killeen

January 24, 2023

The Values We Want

Sometimes when people come into the coaching at the Dental Success Institute’s Elite Mastermind, we ask them some “fluffy” questions. Here’s a couple of them:

Now, most people who have worked through their business plan have a good vision, mission, and set of core values. However, almost no one says they evaluate employees upon those core values. Why is that?

We love to set the rules, and write down grand visions and values. When it comes down to living those values, sometimes it’s a little different. Sometimes we love to espouse that we “live” these everyday, but when it comes down to time for the rubber to meet the road, we don’t hold people accountable to these values.


The Values We Have

There’s also the other problem of “Shadow Values”. These are the dark sides of the values- or values that hide right below the surface and can be super detrimental to the organization, team culture, and long-term health of the organization. According to

Similarly, an organization’s shadow values gain their power from being kept below the surface. At their worst, they are destructive mutations of the official values which pose an existential threat to the integrity of an organization’s ethical culture.

Despite the official values of ‘teamwork’ and ‘respect for individuals,’ one case study company’s implicit leadership model was widely recognised as one that valued ‘autocracy’ and delivering ‘success’ at any cost.

Reading through that should scare any dentist into some self-reflection. We often say we focus on health, but when it comes down to it, do we put ‘watch’ on teeth when we know there’s going to be an issue. We say we focus on honesty, but when it comes down to it, do we hide behind half truths because we are afraid of an employee being angry or mad?

Oftentimes, setting up a system of monthly accountability can help mitigate employees who stray from the core values. It might even help us keep true to what we strive for in ourselves!

P.S. If you are a DSN Member and want access to all our examples of the Monthly Accountability Assessments, you can download them free in the Document Library part of the DSN Website. Including assessments for: