This week on Winning In Business, Angus Pryor Number one Google-ranked dental marketer in Australia and Practice Growth Specialist will be sharing with you the last part of an interview with Dr Jesse Green, the overlooked skill in dentistry.
Angus Pryor: Yeah. Hi. I have a family member who’s in the veterinary industry. And their practice won a national award for small animal practice. And I asked him about and I said, you know, kind of, and it’s a little bit like a applying one of these Telstra awards, where it’s, you know, it’s like submitting a PhD of all this stuff you’ve got to do. But one of the things that he said to me was that, that real empowerment of the team members along the lines of what you just described, and he said, which I thought was quite interesting, but not only is it good, because it helped the team work better, but it actually made for more meaningful, happier employees. I mean, let’s face it, the days of sort of employing our pair of hands, you know, the gopher, we don’t want that. I mean, isn’t that a more meaningful job for the other team members?
Dr Jesse Green: Absolutely. You know, you know, for a young daughter, she’s just, you got her first job, she’s working in a local cafe, just up the road. And you know, she’s suddenly been employed for her hands as a bit of a gopher, and yeah, she’s learning about work, and it’s great, and she’s got a bit of pocket money. But I think once she kind of gets past the novelty of that, she’ll kind of realise that, you know, being a pair of hands or being go for doing all that is perhaps not going to be so fulfilling. So we talked about wanting to engage people’s hearts and minds rather than just their arms and legs. You know, we want people to bring their best selves to work. And I think if we want people to bring their best selves, we’ve got to give them meaningful work to do. And that means more than just holding on to the end of the sucker means more than being the gopher. So if we want people to give us their best, we’ve got to create an environment where they can give us their best. And that means the meaningful workplace that you just spoke about. So I think there this two way street. But I think if we’re going to get the best out of them, we’ve got to give them the opportunity. And I think that part of the frustration that dentists have is the tension between, you know, someone’s coming to work and not giving their all, but I’m not really creating the environment for them to do that. And they don’t realise that they’re potentially part of the issue, as well.
Angus Pryor: Yeah, the book by what’s his name, Jocko Willink. And when are the guys that extreme leadership experience? Extreme ownership? Yeah, I mean, again, it’s just a book I’ve read through and I’ve gone, you know, what everything’s my fault, basically, as the bottom and that’s, that’s the book in a nutshell, if you if you are prone to be blaming team members for not doing the right thing, the question is, what are the systems that you’ve set up to help them achieve their best? You know, there’s always going to be people who, either themselves or with a bit of help for you figure out that their skills are not the best match for the position, and that’s fine. I interviewed someone recently from an award-winning dental practice. And he, he said, he said, you know, basically, that they weren’t scared of moving people on because his view was that it would help them to find something that’s a better of match with what they best. So now Jesse, from your list of the kind of pillars that we want to go down, we probably won’t cover all of them will certainly come back to marketing, but we’ve got leadership. The other one is from reading your book. And I these are related but culture. You spoke a lot about culture in your book, Retentions the name of the book, by the way, a really great read. Tell us a bit about culture. Why is culture so important in 2021?
Dr Jesse Green: Well, I think culture is almost like the invisible force within a team. It’s the vibe, to quote the castle. Exactly, you know exactly where we’re going. I wonder if you’ve got to be a certain generation to get that joke. I don’t know how old your audiences but YouTube, but if you want to guys and girls. But in any event, it is the vibe and you can feel it, you can tell whether there is energy and dynamism and enthusiasm, but equally you can feel if there’s tension and so on. And it’s a bit like, yeah, fish in water, the fish is swimming in water, you can also see the water, but it’s there, and it sustains the fish. And for me, it’s like the water that sustains the team. It’s definitely there. You might not always see it, but it could be polluted water, it could be lovely, clear water. And it can either really develop the team and support the team or it can cripple the team. So culture is really really key. And you know, we talked about, we’ve got a model, which I created called the culture telescope, the culture creation telescope, and it’s really about looking at your business through different lenses. If you imagine like the Navy, I’m always going to revert to Navy metaphors, I guess. Sorry, but it’s like you it again, Russell Crowe with his telescoping area looking at to see and there’s this lenses that kind of collapsing on one another. So the first lens really is around the values. And, you know, I think it’s really important that we understand what our values are, we’re clear about those values, we use our values to make decisions. And, you know, when it comes to bringing on new team members, we want them to share those values with us. But of course, we need to look at the vision of the business, you know, where we’re setting sail to what is it we’re trying to achieve what’s in our mind’s eye. And beyond the values in the vision, we look at the habits and the behaviors that would underpin those sorts of values and vision. And then we connect all of that with stories. And I think probably a great resource for anyone listening who wants to learn more about culture would be a great book called legacy by James Kerr, who wrote a book about the All Blacks culture. And yeah, the All Blacks are obviously a massively successful sporting team, you know, sort of disproportionately successful when you look at the population size. They shouldn’t be as good as they are. Yeah, exactly. And yet, they just keep on winning. And so this book by James Kerr talks a lot about the power of story as a way of uniting team because on the All Blacks team, you’ve got Maoris, Polynesians, Caucasians, and so one of their habits, or rituals Would everyone be familiar with is the Haka. And of course, you know, sometimes it seems a bit of an anomaly for a Caucasian guy to be doing it, Haka. But it’s not about that. It’s not just a Maori ritual. it’s an all black ritual. And the stories that people share, allow them to come together as one. And I think culture is really what helps a lot of people to that. But again, just on that angle, you know, if we want to have a great team that works really well, we won’t have people who are really competent, and there are people who perform very well, but who are also a culture fit. And what’s tricky is if you’ve got a good performer, but someone is not a great culture fit, because you’ve got this skill set.
Angus Pryor: Yes. about losing it. I heard of podcasts where the what do they call them, basically, the capable jerk was it was an American podcast, but I thought it was quite an apt description, whereas basically, they’re the star, but they’re a bit of a jerk to work with. And, you know, unfortunately, it probably isn’t going to help. Um, Jesse, let me play devil’s advocate for a second. Look, I agree with what you’re saying, but some people listening to this are gonna go maybe subconsciously, Jesse, you know, values, culture, vision, blah, blah, how is that really going to help me in 2021? You know, when Angus is telling us that there’s all this increased competition? What, you know, that just sounds like, what are we going to do, stick a poster on the wall? And I mean, why, what’s the benefit of doing that?
Dr Jesse Green: Well, I think it’s a really good point, because I think traditionally, people have thought about values and vision as posters on a wall. But what makes it real is the habits and the behaviors, which is why we have those other lenses of the culture creation telescope, it’s really about how those values and vision come to life, and the behaviors that we exhibit on a day by day basis. And we can really set for ourselves what habits and behaviors we feel underpin that and we can hold each other to performance accounting standards and accountability. And so I agree wholeheartedly sometimes, you know, values and vision have been caught up with management fluff. And it seems like a feel good thing or let’s go to retreat and hold hands and come back with a poster which we put on the wall which we then Julie neglect.
Angus Pryor: Yeah. And in fact, this brings some spectacular company crashes, I think Enron was wondering is the one yeah, it’s wrong the wall. And so they’re all this suddenly one small little problem they weren’t living, which does beg the question, let’s say the viewers, they listen to this, they go Okay, Jesse, you convinced me we should do this? I’ll go out and Google how to work out our values. How do they, you know, make sure that it doesn’t just become a poster on the wall and they’re practically living?
Dr Jesse Green: Well, there’s because it’s coming back to those habits and behaviors and and once you’ve determined those values, yeah, and again, let’s just pick one, everyone kind of puts up on their value statement, which I think can descend into fluff very quickly. And that is integrity. Integrity is a lovely word. I guess no one wants to be anything other than gesture, I put it to you. You’re not showing integrity. It’s not It’s not an easy conversation is not an easy conversation. But, you know, if we were to think about this from the perspective of our customers, or patients, our employees, other people we might interact with, you know, the owners or other stakeholders etc right? How would where behavior be if I was operating from a place of integrity when I was interacting with our patients with our employees, the other owners and anyone else? What sort of behaviors might exhibit? So we talk about the CEOs. So customers, employees, owners and stakeholders, you know, what are the habits or behaviors that I’d be displaying to demonstrate integrity when I’m in those scenarios. And so it’s really about getting clear about taking that word integrity from something a little bit, a theory a little nebulous, and bring it down to something grounded, and it’s taking the poster. Yeah, version of integrity and get right. So for us to be in integrity, this is how it shows up in our practice, this is what it means it means telling the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable, like you know what, the patient sitting in the chair, and guess what the crowns not back from the lab, or whatever it is, it’s about owning up to that if if there is ours, rather than blaming the lab technician, whatever it happens to be, it’s about not diving into excuses. So that’s just an example. But it really comes back to taking this nebulous concept, and making it real and practical, observable and accountable.
Angus Pryor: Yeah, absolutely. But one of the techniques, I had a highly paid consultant to work with my team, believe it or not, when I was at the Australian Embassy in Washington, and what he got us to do with our values that I thought was really interesting as a technique developed by Toyota, you may have come across this one, and it’s what they call the circle, triangle cross. And so at each meeting, if you hopefully you’re meeting with your team reasonably regularly, you say, Okay, well, you know, here’s value one its integrity, how do you think we’ve been performing against that and team members, rather than saying, you know, imagine you’re the boss, and I’m the employee, or Jesse, it hasn’t been very good. That’s hard for an individual to say, but the Toyota technique is, if they do that, that’s good. If I do that, it’s okay. And if they do that, it’s not good. And it’s a really non confrontational way to do that. And then the boss says, Oh, look, you know, last week for our five values, we had, you know, four circles and one triangle. This week, we’ve got a couple of crosses in there or whatever it is a change. Would anyone like to comment? And I think that can be really hard for team members who are worried about the boss, because let’s face it, you’ve got the power of hiring and firing me in your hands. And yet, I’ve got to be able to be bold enough to, you know, speak up. So this becomes a much simpler system.
Dr Jesse Green: Yeah. And I think it comes back to the leadership thing we spoke about earlier. Angus is, if you want to be an effective leader, in my opinion, at least, is you’ve got to be open to those conversations. And that takes a bit of humility from time to time, it means perhaps putting our own thoughts and feelings and perspectives to one side just for a moment. And realising that what’s coming back at us might not be pleasant, but really valuable. And, and, you know, people care enough to give us that feedback. What a gift. Because the easy thing to do is to say nothing.
Angus Pryor: Yeah, yeah, I agree. Absolutely. You know, seeing the company song, etc, etc. Jesse, we’re gonna change tack a bit here. Let’s talk about your journey. So you did your schooling in Brissy.
Dr Jesse Green: I did, mum and dad went to Port Moresby when I was a young kid. So I was a boarding school in Brisbane, from a very young age. So yeah.
Angus Pryor: Okay. At what age did you decide you wanted to become a dentist
Dr Jesse Green: About six
Angus Pryor: goodness? Did you was there a particular dentist person that you had contact with or I
Dr Jesse Green: Had a really good dentist back in the day and I think I don’t particularly know what it was, there was no one thing. But I think I just liked him. He was a really good guy, he’s pretty cool. And I just was probably more about him than dentistry, to be honest with you, but that thought anchored in my mind. And so from a very young age, I wanted to be a dentist.
Angus Pryor: And you continue through school. I may be wrong, but I get the impression you took a bit of a non traditional route in terms of you got a scholarship from the Navy, was that straight out of school? No.
Dr Jesse Green: So my path has certainly been anything but linear and is very non traditional. Yeah, I had my first business when I was at high school, which was you know, selling football jerseys to other kids at school. So those were my first kind of business experience occurred. Then I had a scholarship at the end of second year dentistry. So years three, four and five were sponsored by the Navy. And then I had a return of service obligation for a few years following that, but I stayed longer than that obligation. I was having fun. And I had some other business experiences as well as in the Navy and so on. So, I’m happy to go wherever you want to go. But let me know what parts you want to explore. And I’ll happily open up the lid on all of that.
Angus Pryor: Alright. Where did you first practice? I know, I know you were practicing as a Navy dentist. At some point. You got out? Yeah. Was that to set up your own practice?
Dr Jesse Green: No, I got out because I spent my entire Navy career threatening to leave the Navy if they posted me to Canberra. Irony of ironies, isn’t it? And then I met a girl and then I couldn’t get a posting to Canberra so I left the Navy to get to Canberra.
Angus Pryor: Right. It’s a great story. So your wife is a dentist.
Dr Jesse Green: She is and we it was an incredibly romantic interlude. Angus, we met at an occlusion course and and for all those listening, you’ll notice how that tragic that really is. So yes, we met in an occlusion course. And yeah, took it from there.
Angus Pryor: Yeah. And then tell us about your first experience as a practice owner.
Dr Jesse Green: Well, I was thrown into the deep end, because my wife owned a practice. And in all seriousness, when I was in the Navy, I was living in Sydney, very happily. So and then Miranda and I, our relationship got to a point where one of us had to move, she had the practice. So I moved. Again, without kind of getting into the nitty gritty in the, you know, the detail that probably no one needs to hear, but we decided that once we got married would have kids, we’re at a certain age where, you know, it’s kind of now or never, and so we went down that path. And you know, we had a baby and I got a practice. And so I took over Miranda’s practice. And at that particular point in time, we then renovated it and grew and expanded it and did all those other sorts of things. So that was my first experience. And I remember very clearly, I’d come out of the Navy and I walked into the practice, I think we just had the baby and one of the associate dentists said to me who I didn’t, I’d never worked with never had anything to do with and she loved Miranda, and she looked me in the eye. And she said to me in front of the entire team, by the way, Jesse, I’ll never respect you the way I respect for Miranda. And I just need to let you know that.
Angus Pryor: Wow.
Dr Jesse Green: Yeah. Oh my God,
Angus Pryor: Any particular reason why not?
Dr Jesse Green: If there was I’m unaware of it, because I’ve had not much to do with the we’ve had not much of an interaction prior to that. So I had no real reason to understand why that was why that comment was made to me, but I can assure you that internally, my thought I was very smiley on the external, but internally, I was right. I don’t think there’s a place here for you on our team. Yeah, that was my immediate reaction to you know, as we’ve already discussed, you know, perhaps, to liberate that person and let them find somewhere where there’s a better match for them and their skills.
Angus Pryor: Yes, How interesting. So, you know, get the girl, get the baby, get the dental practice first experience of ownership, and then you sold up and move to Brisbane?
Dr Jesse Green: Yeah, look, we sold up for a couple of reasons. And I’ll touch on that really quickly. And that is because in my view, there’s not a one size definition of success. And you know, if people had looked in at the practice, they would have said, Wow, great practice, really busy, making good money, doing all those sorts of things. But I’d followed a traditional path of practice management and really wanted didn’t provide me with the time to enjoy the money. And so I was externally successful, and internally not so successful. And so we sold that business and thought, you know, let’s just, let’s leave that behind. And we went to Brisbane, as you say, and then I promised Miranda that I wouldn’t do anything business wise, for three months, while I promised we wouldn’t get another practice. And literally the day we landed in Brisbane, she took our daughters to the ladies room, and I was in the bookshop and I found a book on internet marketing and and you know that that commitment was, you know, caught on by the wayside a little bit, or I’m embarrassed to say,
Okay, yeah, well, we’ve, we’ve got those stories, don’t we? So you had it, you had an internet marketing business for a while. You come back to Canberra and get involved in another practice. But also, I assume, at some point in the journey, this is where 70 dentists start.
Yeah, so the journey started off as the book title in the airport was called make money while you sleep and having just sold my practice. You know, that was a great headline for me at the time, but it was really all about affiliate marketing, I guess. And so I’ve been heavily involved in affiliate marketing, selling all sorts of weird and wonderful things. And then what happened from there is my friends at uni said, Oh, you know, the website is you know how to do that, you know, what a crown is can you build me a website. And so very quickly, we built a digital marketing agency around that. And then, you know, I take my hat off to you, Mate, because I know how hard that work is, you know, for anyone listening and watching this program, Angus and his team work really hard to make that all happen. There’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff to bring that to life. And what happened for me is that business then became, you know, I was getting lots of queries. Now, look, Jesse, I know you’ve made the phone ring. But I need help with this, this and this. And slowly but surely, my business pivoted from being a marketing agency, to being a consultancy that it is now. And, and so, you know, I just found that I enjoyed that work a bit more. I enjoy the marketing piece for me, but I just stopped enjoying doing for it others. And that sounds terrible when I say it out loud.
Angus Pryor: But from my point of view, I understand where you’re coming from. So let me ask you a couple of hard hitting journalistic questions.
Dr Jesse Green: I can let me brace myself, Angus, hang on, here we go. All right.
Angus Pryor: I know, I’m seeking absolutes when the answer is probably variable. But is there a moment in your career, because one of the things I know is success leaves clues. And I read something very recently that talked about the link between successful people and the number of times they’ve failed. And this is pretty much a statistical connection, you know, maybe you’re going to be n equals one and sort of not that, you know, you’re not going to sort of run with that path. But is there a day or a moment in time, where you look back on and you go, that was that was my toughest day in the business? That was my toughest day in the field of dentistry? Is there one moment that really sticks with you?
Dr Jesse Green: Absolutely. Happy to run all of that for you. It was when we were in Brisbane, and I had sold the first practice, I was working as an associate dentist, and it was on my ninth wedding anniversary, so 16th of November. And you know, I’d become busier at this practice. And there’s a whole story, it’s actually in the book. And I lost my job. It was the first job I’d ever first and only job I’ve ever lost in my life. And it was deeply humiliating, and deeply upsetting. And I remember the time being devastated, angry, you know, all of those sorts of things. And you know, I can kind of look back on it now with a much gentler perspective. But I remember that night a friend of mine came over and he said, this is the best thing that’s ever happened to you. Yeah, you should be so grateful to and at the time I couldn’t see it. But it was losing my job that made me lose the security of having that, that gave me the courage and the impetus to really push on with what is now savvy dentist. So that that was a huge turning point for me. And even as I say those words out loud, and you know, having lost my job, I still feel a sense of oh, you know, admitting to that publicly, but it is what happened. And and it was heart wrenching at the time. But it was the best thing as well.
Angus Pryor: Yeah, it’s interesting, and it’s happened to me once too in the banking industry. And as I said, this is comment from a very successful dental practice, they, they liberated me to go and find a better match. And that’s exactly what happened that started the journey to here. But at the time, I was like, I’ve never been sacked.
Dr Jesse Green: That’s exactly right. And the thing for dentists as well as typically dentist types A type of personality, usually high achievers, you know, as you said earlier, they’ve worked hard to get into uni worked hard to get through uni. And then to be sacked is like a failure that most people have not really experienced that much off. Yeah. And so yeah, that was that was tough, mate. I didn’t enjoy that one bit.
Angus Pryor: All right. Well, let’s let’s sort of swing the scales back the other way. What would you say is your proudest moment in relation to the dental industry
Dr Jesse Green: In relation to the dental industry? there’s a there’s a couple of things. And I say this and the things I want to come I don’t want us to come across as proper bark because it’s not a question. Yes. Yeah.
Yeah, I know. But I think what gives me pride is when clients win, when clients when I feel like I’ve done my job well. There’s a guy called Roger Rashid, who’s a tennis player. Most people have never heard of Raja Rashid, but he is the coach to help Lleyton Hewitt to get to number one in the world and to win Wimbledon. I like being the Roger Rashid to someone else’s Lleyton Hewitt. Like being the person that is helping orchestrate things behind the scenes so they can step into the limelight and have success and when they get there, their moment in the sun, then for me, that’s really, I feel really proud of that point.
Angus Pryor: Awesome. Well, Jesse, appreciate your time so much. For the viewers, seriously, do yourself a favor and get a hold of Jesse’s book. I mean, I don’t have a dental practice. I’m not even particularly in the practice management space, but I learned absolutely tons reading it. So that’s Retention. That’s Jesse’s book. And Jesse, if people want to get in touch with you, if they you know, they like the sound of what you’ve been talking about, what’s the best way to do that?
Dr Jesse Green: Thanks, Angus. I look, the best way people can reach out to me is either email us Hello@DrJesseGreen.com. Or just hit me up on the usual social media channels. I’m around. But yeah, we’d love to say hello, and come come check it out. But thanks for having me mate, your’re wonderful interviewer. It’s been a lot of fun to talk to you.
Angus Pryor: Yeah, I’m only sorry. We’re limited by the time we have. I think it could be triple the length, but anyway, it is what it is. Thanks so much, Jesse. Thanks, Angus.