When my law partner (David Mayzel) and I took the Dental Practice Management course at U of T, we learned about the all-important DISC personality profile. It’s a way of understanding a person’s personality in the workplace. It’s comprised of 28 questions, wherein for each question you select the word (there are 4 words to choose from) that describes you the most and the least. You do the calculation at the end and voila, your personality is revealed!
Understanding a person’s personality type is very important because you can adapt to suit their needs. For example. An “Influencer” is a social butterfly. They don’t crave the spotlight but don’t like doing work in a back office all day long. They need to be around people. The problem is that, if you have two (2) Influencers, all they’re going to do is chat all day and not get any work done. So you need to pair them with someone who isn’t an Influencer, like a Dominant personality type. I think that’s why my wife and I have been together for 15 years: I’m a strong Dominant personality type and she’s a strong Influencer. At your office, you’ll likely want your influencer to be your dentist and your hygienist (who need to communicate with patients while patients won’t at times be able to communicate back).
You can also use the DISC personality profile to identify your patients’ personality types. If they’re a strong “Dominant” personality type, you’ll realize that they want to start and finish quickly and on time. These are busy individuals and don’t have time to sit around and chit-chat. They want to ‘get ‘er done’ when they go to the dentist. Don’t try to sugar-coat anything; give them the 411. If you are ‘the’ authority (you have credibility, etc.), they will listen to you. They don’t need all the details. They just need to trust you.
If you have a strong “Conscientious” personality type of a patient, on the other hand, they will need details. Lots of details. The more details, the better. They live their lives based on structure and standards. You’ll want to speak with them and treat them in a way that affords them all the information they require to make a decision. They will do a lot of background research before making a move. They are very critical.
Now, in case you wanted to know more about the personality types, here’s a quick breakdown:
DOMINANT: love the limelight/authority/solving problems, need freedom from controls and supervision, is very direct and looks for new opportunities/challenges, but need to relax and pace themselves
INFLUENCER: love interacting with people, need the freedom to express themselves, are sincere and respect sincerity, need public recognition but need to control their time and need to be firm with others at times
STEADY: love stability and predictability, are patient, need security and need to react quickly to unexpected change, are sincere, and need validation of their self-worth
CONSCIENTIOUS: love details, require clarity, are very critical, and value quality and accuracy (don’t need the limelight and don’t need to be around people all the time)
So… based on this quick breakdown, ask yourself: which of the above personality types are you: a strong conscientious, a strong dominant, or perhaps a combination of one or more? Then ask yourself: what are your team members? And what should they be? Finally, ask yourself: what are your patients? Can you profile your patients and categorize them accordingly? And then have your team respond to them in a way that they appreciate.