The Purple Velvet Suit Syndrome

I’m here in San Diego, about to head home after seeing some great speakers and learning a lot from those I respect so much. I got some great practice pearls and learned a ton of ways to help my patients get better outcomes.

Most of all, I love watching great dentists talk about their practices. I love to hear how they market, how their teams interact with patients, to see their stationary and their websites and pretty much everything there is to learn about how they made their practices successful.

I leave those lectures ready to run home and implement a million new strategies. After all, we all want to have more successful practices and if these ideas worked for the speakers, they should also work for us, right?

But, it took me about 10 years in practice to learn a valuable lesson.

The people lecturing have the practices they do because of their culture. Their practices are an extension of who they are, and the things they do work because of that. If that weren’t the case, 20 speakers would have 20 very similar types of practices and we all know that isn’t the case. So, should we be implementing these strategies in our practices?

I had a patient who is arguably one of the coolest guys around. He’s from Great Britain and is a bona fide lead singer in a rock band. Like, the real-deal Mick Jagger, Adam Levine type. Cool haircut, pegged pants, crushed purple velvet suit and the gorgeous girlfriend. He’s a great guy to hang with and just exudes a swagger that just makes you feel like you’re around Frank Sinatra in his prime.

But back to the purple crushed velvet suit with the black lining. I LOVE it. I’ve always wanted a suit like that. It’s just so cool, but if you know me, while I’m a bit of a clothes hound, that suit isn’t who I am. But it’s so cool and I want to be THAT guy. While I could pull it off if I walked into bar in SOHO where nobody knew me and I changed my personality for the night, if my friends saw me in it, they’d laugh me out of the room. The suit was made for someone whose personality isn’t mine. Maybe you could pull it off, but I can’t.

Yeah, I know. You’re saying that my attitude is what’s keeping me from wearing that suit and you may be right, but at the end of the day, my sense of style just doesn’t jive with that suit and I’ll leave it to the rock singer to wear it. However, the guy who wears that suit is also probably not the guy who’s married with three kids, shows up to work every day doing everything he can to do awesome orthodontics and make sure he meets payroll for his employees.

What I’m trying to explain is that your practice needs to be a representation of YOUR style, not someone else’s. You may see some awesome ideas, and they may have worked for someone else, but you need to ask yourself if they match who you are as a person or the type of practice you run.

When you see great marketing strategies or things teams do, figure out if it will be a great extension of who YOU are or will it come across as disingenuous. I’m not saying to not do it, but rather do it in a way to make it yours, and not someone else’s. For years, I tried to simply do what others did and it frustrated my team because it wasn’t who we were.

So, emulate the great things you see, but make them yours. Do things that match your style and not someone else’s. Make your practice awesome as an extension of you and remember that your practice is going to be awesome because of you and your team and the culture you create and don’t feel bad if you don’t implement every great idea you see.

Help others, do awesome orthodontics and grow the strongest practice in your region…

And if you can get away with wearing the purple suit, I’m really jealous.

All the best,

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