The Petri Dish Problem: Want to Change Bad Culture to Good?

Team culture survey

A recent culture survey proves NextLevel Practice practices what they preach

When you were a kid in your first science class, no doubt you were entertained by watching those circular plastic petri dishes sprout spores and magnificently furry mold. The culture you grew was based on both what was there to start (the medium) and what kinds of bacterial agents were present in the air. Of course, temperature, time and humidity play their parts, as well.

Jonas Salk, the father of the polio vaccine, was very careful to provide the exact right medium to grow the virus—and save billions of kids.

Why would you leave the culture you grow at your dental practice to chance? After all, you’re in the life-changing business, too.

At NextLevel Practice, a recent survey showed that we have succeeded in growing a great culture that’s getting better. Why should you care?

Measure what matters

Here are the cultural values we ask our practice teams and leaders about:

  • Proactive
  • Responsible
  • Accountable
  • Compassionate
  • Transparent
  • Integrity
  • Community
  • Equality
  • Service

Most of these cultural touchstones are clear—how do the people in the practice behave with one another; patients; vendors; leaders? If I were to unpack all of these definitions for what makes a dental office a functioning, respectful and putting in an honest day’s work, I would probably say something like what Brian Chesky, Co-Founder and CEO of AirBnB said:

“Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with a passion.”

Survey your team

All of the practices we work for have implemented a survey process and monitored results over time. The questions we ask the teams are structured to evince a 1-5 rating, with 5 being the highest. Some examples are:

  • “Our vision, purpose and values are alive in the organization.”
  • “I see each of these company values being upheld among our team and by our CEO.”
  • “Our executive team is healthy and aligned.”
  • “I feel energized at work from doing something that I personally value.”
  • “My team is committed to doing quality work.”

Scared yet?

If you don’t really want to know the answers that your team members would give to these questions, you are not alone. Please don’t feel ashamed or any different from most dental practices out there. But let me tell you that I have seen the most abysmal answers to these questions turn around in weeks. It’s not magic—it’s just a proven practice process we follow that’s both relatable to people and repeatable among teams.

The NextLevel Practice team recently took the same culture survey and gave these comments:

“I believe we are not only committed to doing our best but being world class.”

“I find ways to learn and grow in my position every day.”

When asked, “Every facet of our business has a person assigned with an accountability,” the respondent said: “This is something we do well” and gave our team a 5.

Just a sec

Think about it for a second: How would your practice and team transform if your people believed that every facet of your business is covered by a named individual with responsibility to get the job done? What would be the result of that belief up and down the org chart?

The culture survey is anonymous but almost every person here not only took it but responded with a 4.5 or higher to the questions, with 5 being the highest. What if your team felt that you were living with integrity, accountability, building community and being transparent nearly perfectly every day? Do you think your patients would feel the difference? Yeah, they do. And you will, too.

Contact us today to find out how you can grow a culture that grows, changes, learns and excels instead of just sitting there in your office, feeling like a moldy little mess. Don’t settle for less—call us today and we can go over the processes that will revolutionize your work and life. Build the practice you were meant to have and take back your life. 212-388-1712