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a blog by Chris Barrow

Leadership and teams

Wednesday’s call-in day was the usual blast – many conversations with clients and the inspiration of seeing the changes that we are facilitating – making a difference. As always, there are truffles and pings in the day. My favourite quote was from a client who said:

“I’m going to recruit a dental therapist to handle all of the routine work, so that I can spend more time on the Gucci dentistry.”

Gucci dentistry – I like that. And my favourite truffle came during a conversation with Kim Black at about 7.30pm last night. We were talking about my repeatedly unsuccessful attemps to find business partners for my expansion plans. I know loads of people who are keen to help me grow The Dental Business School – but when it comes to sharing ownership I always seem to get either cold feet or a cold sweat at the prospect. Kim and I share the same birthday and we are both only-kids – so we are very similar in our make-up. As I interpreted my hesitation in this area as a failing on my part, she quickly reminded me that we are “wired” that way – self-sufficiency and the “lone ranger” syndrome. Later in the evening, I was listening to a recorded bridge call from Nicola Cairncross’s Money Gym – a teleconference call to discuss the gut-spilling contents of my recent ezine. I’m a celebrity – aargh! I have to say I was very flattered by all the nice things said by a group of people who didn’t know I would subsequently be listening. I was especially interested in the comments from Judith Morgan, who eloquently described how people like myself make themselves the centre of their own businesses and often end up making their clients successful and happy at their own expense. Sounds very familiar – and it was somewhat comforting to know that “it’s not just me”. I am the centre of my own business – even though I am blessed with a superb support team. It sometimes feels as if everything will stop if I do. A fundamentally weak and risky business model – but escaping from it when we are wired for solitude is a challenge. My truffle was in the conversation with Kim:

“I am great at leadership of a team But no good at team leadership.”

And by “team leadership” I mean that I find it very difficult to share ownership, power, responsibility – call it what you will. It’s been 53 years that I’ve been alone in the world and 21 years that I’ve been alone in business – with three brief and miserable periods as a business partner in my 37 year working life. I’m so used to having things my own way – boom or bust – that I don’t know if I can ever change. How does a lone ranger build when they have made themselves the brand? I know it’s about my current expansion plans for the business:

  1. Develop a “toolkit” business that allows clients to buy coaching “in a box”;

  2. Continue the existing Dental Business School but on a modular basis – you don’t have to buy a year’s coaching;

  3. Evolve the Mastermind Group and Platinum Club into an implementation service delivered by trained dentists – Practice Analysts

I’m on with that and making good progress. I just need some seed capital from someone who is going to let me get on with the leadership and take a back seat. The dilemma is that investors seem to want to meddle in leadership and management – and that doesn’t work for me. Ho hum – dilemma…

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