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Episode 212 – The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Everyday Practices podcast co-hosts Regan Robertson and Dr. Chad Johnson continue their asynchronous business book review series as they discuss Ben Horowitz’s book The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers. Regan and Dr. Chad explore the challenges and triumphs of leadership, resilience, and the art of building successful dental practices.

Discover why this book is making waves in the business world and how its principles can be applied to everyday dental practices. From handling crises to the value of transparent leadership, Regan and Dr. Chad dissect key takeaways that will resonate with you.

As you listen to this episode, pay close attention to the following:

  • How making the tough decisions can lead to growth.
  • People, product, and profits: understanding the CEO’s roadmap for success.
  • The value of vulnerability.

In case you would like to read along with Dr. Chad and Regan for future episodes of our asynchronous business book club, these are the next books we’re aiming to tackle: 

  • Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
  • Margin by Richard Swenson, MD
  • Everyday Millionaires by Chris Hogan
  • Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
  • The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy


Regan 0:01
Hi, Doctor. Regan Robertson, CCO of Productive Dentist Academy here and I have a question for you. Are you finding it hard to get your team aligned to your vision, but you know, you deserve growth just like everybody else? That’s why we’ve created the PDA productivity workshop. For nearly 20 years, PDA workshops have helped dentists just like you align their teams, get control of scheduling, and create productive practices that they love walking into every day. Just imagine how you will feel when you know your schedule is productive. Your systems are humming, and your team is aligned to your vision. It’s simple, but it’s not necessarily easy. We can help, visit that’s to secure your seats now.

You’re right. If they’re not growing, they’re you know they’re looking somewhere else, then it doesn’t have to mean growing into a new role. Welcome to the Everyday Practices Podcast. I’m Regan Robertson and my co host Dr. Chad Johnson and I are on a mission to share the stories of everyday dentists who generate extraordinary results using practical proven methods you can take right into your own dental practice. If you’re ready to elevate patient care and produce results that are anything but ordinary, buckle up and listen in.

Welcome to Everyday Practices Dental Podcast. I am your host Regan Robertson and I am here with Dr. Chad Johnson. He is not practicing dentistry today. He is not off on a glorious vacation. He is not volunteering and many of his philanthropic endeavors. He’s here with us today. Welcome Chad.

Dr. Chad Johnson 1:48
Wha wha Hi, everyone. Hope you’re having a great day. Yeah and do you want to know a secret? I’m going to share it to the whole world here, okay.

Regan 1:59
Do I know this secret?

Dr. Chad Johnson 2:01
Yes, you do know. So my wife. My wife doesn’t listen to this. She, but she’s also out there like, you know, with the kids and stuff, so I’ll just say it kind of softly but are you listening? Do you have the volume turned up enough? Okay, so I’m going to take my wife on a secret trip to Iceland that she doesn’t know about after Christmas. She’s finding out on Christmas. Yes, some people hate me for that. Yes, I can get over that. No, they’re just like, “You’re only giving her one day to plan?” And I’m like, “Yep.” And oh, I

Regan 2:33
I see, I see consideration of of her if she’s Is she a planner? I think so roll with it. Yeah, well, how long have you been married?

Right 17 years,

then I think you’re going to know your spouse after 17 years, you probably are going to know well

Dr. Chad Johnson 2:47
Well in a lot of the small details and whatnot. I have planned out well and so we’re ready to roll so yes, so I’m not somewhere fun right now but I am planning somewhere fun so we’re going to do a week and um you know you guys will hear this you know who knows when so the trips probably already over? Yes, I’ll share with you the details and stuff like that but I’m looking forward to seeing if there’s like any of that volcanic activity if we get to see some of that you know come about so we’ll see.

Regan 3:18
This is a Hallmark movie I am invested in the storyline deeply

Dr. Chad Johnson 3:23
right. This is this is Hallmark take it to another level because when you’re involving volcanology, you know that’s that’s just another level

Regan 3:31
level. vulcanology no volcanology correct volcanology?

I’ve never heard that term before. Yeah, well,

Dr. Chad Johnson 3:39
you’ve heard of volcanologists, right.

Regan 3:41
No, no, I mean, I know what it is. Clearly it’s very self explanatory, but no. Art and science and scientists may call them chronologist.

Dr. Chad Johnson 3:50
It’s the art and science of marshmallow roasting.

Regan 3:53
I love it. I should be a storyologists

Dr. Chad Johnson 3:56
Yes, I you know what, I almost see that being a Donald Miller kind of thing. Alright, enough of the cuddle talk. Listen, listeners, we are talking about The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. This is part of our book series. And Regan, you’ve been reading it why don’t you tell? Why don’t you fess up? Fess up to the listeners.

Regan 4:18
I’m on chapter five. I have not completed the book yet and I am so compelled. It is so good

Dr. Chad Johnson 4:24
Good. So share with me what you’ve read so far. And, and and stuff like that. Okay.

Regan 4:29
Well, what I understand about this gentleman, no, I’ve done no previous research on him. I don’t know anything about his background or anything like that but, you know, he starts off telling the tale of really being in tech in big tech during the late 90s, early 2000s When it was not actually a great time. So like on the edge there when everything was crashing, and he pushes through to be ultra successful and all of the challenges that come that come with the process of it. So by chapter five, I’ve read through him, him starting up loud cloud service, and then breaking it off starting it into like creating a new company out of it, watching the stock price rise and then come crashing down dramatically going public, being responsible for all of this capital and all of the dynamics that go along with it. And really, I mean, just like the title said, the hard thing about hard things. So a book that is about what happens when really, things go wrong and I love it, because I feel like this is this series of book lessons. The past two now The Four Hour Workweek, which listeners, you can go here at a previous podcast, and this one feels like reverse engineering to me, because I’ve been a leader for many years now and I’ve gone through hard things. And so reading it now gives me a much different contexts than had I read it 20 years ago,

Dr. Chad Johnson 5:57
When, when you are a dentist, business owner, so not every dentist, but when you are a small business owner, you are the CEO naturally and so you would read this also with a different flavor, because we’re not dealing with a $200 billion company or stuff like that. There’s Ben Horowitz was with big transactions, but we are working a multimillion dollar industry kind of stuff we have big decisions to make and that those decisions also affect our paycheck. So basically like to recap from our book series, we’ve had a lot on stoicism, and this book kind of goes off of that. So within context, here it is, there are no silver bullets for this only lead bullets. They did not want to hear that. Ben writes to his leadership team but it made things clear, we had to build a better product, there was no way out, no window, no hole, no escape hatch, no back door, we had to go through the front door and deal with a big ugly guy blocking it, lead bullets. After nine months of hard work on an extremely rugged product cycle, we regained our product lead and eventually built a company that was worth $1.6 billion. Then the chapter went on to say, “Stop looking for the silver bullet.” There comes a time in every company’s life where it must fight for its life. If you find yourself running, when you should be fighting, you need to ask yourself if our company isn’t good enough to win, then why do we need to exist at all? So in other words, we don’t get this too big to fail stuff as a dental office, right? So what makes you unique enough that you should succeed? You’re not entitled to success, right? So how are you any different and what what are you going to do better or faster or cheaper? I mean, it’s one of those three, right? Better, faster, cheaper to an or a combo there have to out when your competition as far as you know, being able to pay the bills, being able to keep the lights on now I know that’s rudimentary level, but then you start getting up the hierarchy and going, “Okay, well, so how do we become altruistic? How do we become the kind of office that we want? You know, others to emulate? How do we become the kind of office that we are excited to get to work and we’re looking forward to taking care of patients? What are we going to do so well? And, and right now, if our company isn’t winning, you know, what do we even why do we need to even exist?” So answering those some of those big questions? This is a stoic moment within the book where he’s like, there’s no silver bullets. Only lead bullets in other words, sometimes it’s just the main mundane Tuesday morning grind and yeah, well get over it. So that was one of my take takeaways.

Regan 8:51
Well, he’s, he has this work ethic in his in his description of the you know, the first two, few chapters when he’s talking specifically about that if there is no silver bullet, and there’s only lead bullets, you have to be willing to put in the work and get comfortable being uncomfortable, which is where I know you know, a lot of us have gone through. You do have to put in the hours and I think what you said though, really tips the surface what is the mission and Dr. Bruce, I, I feel similarities between Elon Musk and Dr. Bruce Baird and Victoria Peterson in the way that they actually approach problems and Horowitz now as well. How Bruce puts it and Victoria put it is, you know, when things are going wrong, get into relationship. So how I define that and how Ben reflects in the book itself, too, is you must focus on quality for retention purposes. So in other words, if there’s if there is lead bullets happening, look at the product, look at what you’re doing, look get feedback. That was a huge one that I like, circled and underlined was getting feedback from customer rumors and I’ve seen Elon do that when I used to be on Twitter. I haven’t been for eons now, but, but I remember him, like publicly looking for feedback and genuinely listening to that feedback because he wanted to create a product that people would actually use. And so, you know, if we trick ourselves into thinking that there are so rubber bullets, that’s just this is not the reality at all and no matter what nothing ever is going to go fully to plan. So it’s better to it’s better to plan for for, you know, handling the objection before it’s an objection because things will indeed go, go sideways on you, no matter if you are a startup dental practice or multimillion dollar dental practice or a, you know, multibillionaire corporation.

Dr. Chad Johnson 10:46
So here’s where one of the like the first of three main takeaways that I have, is that the CEO should be the first to shout out when a crisis occurs and this is stoicism again, applied where like it’s applied. Where if there’s a problem going on, he says, “Here’s the deal, a lot of businesses try and cover up crises. That’s a sucker’s move for two reasons. Number one, the stuff is going to leak out anyway. So employees are going to find out so who are you trying to fool and then by trying to solve the problem alone in secrecy, you’re not allocating your resources to, to, to that problem, and it deserves those, those resources. So in other words, if you have your team working on it with you, then you’re going to be able to get through it better, but if you’re secretly trying to, you know, hide stuff, basically air it out.” So your thoughts on the CEO should be the first one to shout when a crisis occurs.

Regan 11:47
I couldn’t agree more. This is this is one of the best lessons and I’ve lived through this lesson, myself, and in seeing other leaders go through it at the same time, because the natural instinct I think, is so it’s, it’s a counterintuitive one, I think the natural instinct, as a leader is to paint that rosy picture and always be positive, you can use positivity, and still be really honest about what’s going on. So transparency, I think, is king and I, and I’ve had great success in sharing transparency, transparently. You know, what, what challenges we have to face together, in order to get the company to the next level, in order to serve clients better, whatever the task at hand may be, but if you try to, you know, gloss it over, and people can feel it, it’s like it’s it just feels disingenuous when I don’t think you can, I don’t think you can get around that really, it just in that creates this space that doesn’t need to exist, but it is not easy to do. I think it’s easy to talk about it now but, but I don’t think it’s easy to do in the beginning of your leadership journey, necessarily.

Dr. Chad Johnson 12:55
Well, the author gives us the permission to be honest with our team. So that it doesn’t necessarily have to be, you know, hanging all your guts out, but you could just say, “Hey, can I can I be honest, we’ve not had a good couple months and we need to find ways to be able to be viable, because we’re not getting the new patients that we need or something.” Yeah, you know, so listen, that it kind of leads into the second one. The second takeaway that I wrote down, there are two types of CEOs and this isn’t within the book. He calls them ones and twos ones are and this plays into oh, this plays into EOS. Yes. So Gina Whitman’s and I’m sure others but basically, there’s two kinds of thinkers and this is a broad brushstroke. But the first the ones as he calls them are the strategic CEOs or the visionaries. So think about visionaries and stuff like that. He gives an example of Bill Gates. The twos are the executive and management types of execution, managing, over Ries researching and trying to make decisions. So they’re the practical CEOs who want to implement and to direct a team and get stuff done. So they’re the implementers you know, and stuff like that. So think about which one you are and then in essence, try and compensate by you know, working on your skills so that not that you have to be evenly balanced in everything. Oh, my goodness, I see your face right and you want to speak well, no, you’re just you’re you’re full of ideas. I’m sorry, but you know, oh, no, no, no, you’re lighten up. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say. I’m just like, oh, no, but you know, in essence, try and find your weakness and then work on that a smidge. So that way you’re a natural number one who’s working on their number two or and I’m not talking about poop, but or a natural number two who’s working on their number one.

Regan 15:02
Yeah, I see you threw me with the poop comment. So now I gotta read, I got to work for all lit up because I never I have never had the words to articulate Steve Jobs versus Tim Cook and I have often operated under the assumption that a great CEO is a visionary only and haven’t really thought about researching the great executioner type CEOs that are good at the it’s the integrator role is what EOS calls that I think is the integrator person. Yeah, and, and so I have I mean, this, this is what I thought about, even in my own journey, as well, well, I’m not like a great visionary, I can’t see five years down the road and interpret what’s going but I have the luxury of, of, you know, working with a very, very keen to visionaries, co founders that are able to see quite far down, but there is value in having that practical execution, CEO as well. So they’re just two different people and I think my contrary view is, I don’t think you should try to lift up your weaknesses. I used to think that I’ve and I’ve tried to do that myself, I call them my blind spots. I think I think the secret is surrounding yourself with people who actually have strengths that are in and I believe it says that in the book, but not where I’m at right now yet. I read it in your notes about the two different types of CEOs and I was just really excited about it because I think the answer to that is yes. Surround yourself with people who excel in those areas where you’re weak, and then you kind of complete the puzzle together. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Chad Johnson 16:34
Yeah, like I alluded to, I’m not the biggest fan of necessarily being like making sure that you’re even you know, in everything

Regan 16:41
Would be great if I was balanced in all ways and I think it’s good to know like, you should be self aware, great leaders are always be self aware. So you should know what you’re great at and what you’re not great at. But yep, you know, and don’t I mean, I wouldn’t say try to go backwards on it. Yeah, but I’m not I’m not trying to learn Italian and Icelandic at the exact same time, like, my little overachiever, maybe

Dr. Chad Johnson 17:07
Yeah, maybe. Right. So lesson three, take home three, what makes a great CEO is to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and so this is a take home from the book, your thoughts on that Regan?

Regan 17:23
So yes, well, I think it’s a cliche to say it and it’s so accurate, though and that’s again, one of those things where you have to live through it, you have to you have to have enough experience in life to show you that being uncomfortable is an okay thing to be. I talk a lot about that with the kids and school. And that I think that there are a portion of their learning is actually has nothing to do with the content at all, at all, it’s actually getting comfortable being uncomfortable with the process of learning because you want to be an expert right away, you want to just have the, you know, the proficiency in it. So you can just ride your bike better, or you can learn a language or whatever it is that you’re interested in but the actual gift is learning how to navigate learning and being uncomfortable and that so I think we start out as children with that and, and one of the gifts that I see in that that has helped me is being able to evaluate from different perspectives. And I love and I don’t remember if it’s chapter two or three but he speak he talks about when he was about ready to go public, he was in negotiations and the gentleman that he was in negotiations with was very dis pleasant, he was not not pleasant to work with and he listened at a deeper level, he slowed down and listened for what the guy actually wanted. I believe his name was Frank, what Frank wanted. And he actually attacks the problem from a different angle. So by turning his, his, his perspective and thinking about it from Frank’s Frank’s point of view, he was able to get the deal done in a very unique manner, if that makes sense and I think you have to be willing to be comfortable with a little bit of discomfort in that situation, because you’re taking risk in that you’re you’re taking risks and the risk was big in that particular instance, the risk was buying another company that this gentleman wanted so that they could include it in the deal and all of his advisors said “That is a really bad idea.” Yep. And you’ve got 340 jobs on the line, you’ve got millions of investor dollars on the line and it all comes down to you and he made the decision and it happened to be the right decision but we know that that’s not always the case. Tell me a better example of being uncomfortable. You could, you could implode it and all these people would lose their jobs like all that, you know, make testers mad on the

Dr. Chad Johnson 19:47
And take home for that for dentists is the exact thing that I did at 2020 with the with the closing of our offices and stuff like that going fee for service. You know, like that’s burning the ships. This example that you’re talking about reminds me actually of a lot of books that we’re either going to cover or are already covered. One of them being Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow. Another one, and I’m just pray looting this. So because just so you know, like, we’ve got 20 ish books that we’re wanting to tackle and we’re just kind of, you know, chipping away at him.

Regan 20:23
Are we on for three? I don’t even remember,

Dr. Chad Johnson 20:27
Ah, you know what, on the list, we’re on five, this is number five. So, we’ve done talent is overrated, the obstacle is the way the inner game of tennis and I was gonna mention that the inner game of tennis, not the four hour workweek in regard to this point but then even there’s two more books, margin by Dr. Richard Swenson and the compound effect by Darren Hardy that, that go into this kind of stuff and I think even Jim Collins is Good to Great, you know, talking about your weaknesses, and

Regan 21:01
And that’ll be a good one, because I have that one, like, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dr. Chad Johnson 21:07
So I just, it’s kind of neat to think like, I’ve got this list. And I, it’s almost like, we, I want to hash out all of these right now but I’m just saying, you know, be looking forward to these other books that we’re going to be doing that are basically like looking at it from different vantage points, saying about the same thing, be your best view, and be vulnerable enough to be you know, like, when you’re not good at something, you know, like, that’s okay. For example, one of my desires when I retire, if that’s even a thing, or whatever, is, at some point, I want to learn how to play violin. Not so I can become good at it, but because I want to appreciate how hard it is. So that way, when I’m listening, I can be like, “Wow.” For example, when I took up swimming, I was 28 and, and I started swimming and when I started swimming, I then would, would watch Michael Phelps do the, I’d watch Michael Phelps do the, the 100 meter dash, the 100 meter freestyle and he’d finished in, you know, I don’t know, I don’t even remember the times. Let’s let’s it 40, 40 to 45 seconds, something like that and I’m just thinking, “That’s how long it takes me to swim 50. Like, I get it now, like.” So but before, you know, like, at that point, I’m almost 30 years old at that point, thinking, you know, so I watched these people swim. So when he got first place, he’s fast, I’m sure he got an Olympic gold medal. I’m sure he’s fast. You know, I don’t doubt that but I don’t, I don’t have any reference and now all of a sudden, I’m going wait a second, he’s swimming twice as fast as I am. And he’s making it look effortlessly and that’s when I started. Like, I’m just for now one of the things I’d like to learn how to play violin, and again, not so that way I can, you know, fill concert halls and stuff like that for myself, but for my own knowledge to understand the the difficulty of it and basically get, you know, it’s like Sudoku and stuff like that. It’s it’s for for older people, it’s it’s good for your brain, you know, it’s good that you

Regan 23:12
See how I mean, that fits into being uncomfortable that fits into that’s approaching a goal from an entirely different perspective. I have not heard anybody say I just want to appreciate how difficult it is. So I’m going to attempt this not. I mean, I think if I asked 10 people, I don’t think anyone would have given me that answer. Except, you know, maybe you and a few others, but really, it would it would inherently be because I like the sound of it because I like music because I want to play in a symphony, you know, a myriad of other writers, I want to learn music, anything but that one wouldn’t be one that I would see. And I think that that’s I feel I can feel that sentiment already in The Hard Thing About Hard Things, even though only five chapters in the other thing that is becoming very apparent is the the value of people and the value of support and the fact that oftentimes, CEOs feel very alone, I as a leader have felt alone, because you really don’t have a lot you can’t you can’t discuss or vent or feel in certain environments, and it feels lonely but it doesn’t have to be and if you’re able to kind of shift that perspective, and I think he does a really good job explaining the problem and getting the emotion out of it, but saying here is the business problem and that’s where that transparency comes in Chad to like, “Hey, we have a problem with the product or we have a problem with our customer service, whatever it may be. We’ve got to tackle this or we don’t have jobs together. Can you help me?” He was afraid of that initially, but he had no other choice. He had no other option. And so by bringing it to the team, he even said very directly you know, when they were going down and everyone was like you better plan your contingency plan better be bankruptcy like you’ve you’ve got to get this in When he instead said to them, “This is the reality, this is what I need help with. If you are going to if this isn’t for you, then let us know, give us respect, think about it for the day, but I need to know if you’re here or gone.” And he did this big speech and two people ended up leaving out of all of them and to me that says he had he had buy into the vision. He had people there that were, they were ready, they were ready to handle the mission, and they were ready to tackle it and that just was very inspiring for me to read.

Dr. Chad Johnson 25:33
So in the book, there’s another point that I wanted to make was, so when building a company, it has to go in this order. This is what he lays out people first, then product and profits. Yes. The The caveat is he does say keeping a loyal customer base should never come ahead of profits. Wow, because like, now that’s a neat caveat because he’s saying listen, keeping a loyal customer base should never come ahead of profits. So this then kind of almost counters Profit First McCalla wits, and and yet, I’m just saying on the

Regan 26:15
Oh, because he says profits first. Right, right. But Ben

Dr. Chad Johnson 26:19
Horowitz is not saying profits shouldn’t come first. He’s saying when you’re building a company, you need to go in the order of thinking about People First than about the product than about profits and I liked that. I mean, it doesn’t have to negate what other people say about profit first, or whatever because, because again, that as an owner, you need to be profitable and I think he’d be like, “No, when you’re talking about adding people, you need to add the right people right seats, right bus.” You know, everything like that and but it shouldn’t come ahead of, you know, profits shouldn’t come ahead. I’m sorry but the people like just adding 1000 good people doesn’t make you a profitable business and that doesn’t make sense, either. I don’t think he’d agree with that. So if someone’s like, whoa, wait a second, your thoughts.

Regan 27:08
While he says he says early on that, you know, that you should, putting a timeline in place is better than putting no timeline in place at all and so how I would marry that up is since I’ve been in multiple startup environments, I can definitely speak to this, your people end up making your IP, or they contribute to the IP. So you’ve got to get crystal clear on the people that you want to have on the team, they have to be ambitious, they have to be bought into the vision that is really, really important. For sure because then you can’t otherwise you can’t you can’t go in and build out the product and you won’t be able to serve in an in a fashion that you want but the other thing that I think is important, though, in this chat in this equation, is how long do you plan on running that investment. So in startup environments, they often get Pe, or they get some funding from somewhere. So they do their capital run, and then they get it and then they get to use it. Some people bootstrap it. And so how long are you willing to do that? That’s where I think this particular people product profit formula works, because eventually you will have to turn a profit, eventually, you have to get that over. Otherwise, we’re not in business anymore but he’s saying in order to be successful, this is the order with which I like to play. And I agree with it, because they do you can if you do product first. That’s not impossible because you know, once you have your products up and running, you can hire to that. But if you’re building something as a startup, yeah, you want your your talent is your biggest asset. Right?

Dr. Chad Johnson 28:33
The last thing within the book, so as to be a complete book review, there were five points, which I know is long, but five points and I’ll just make them real quick, that he says, “Rules to success in managing your company, a CEO should one of five things. Number one, hire a team whose ambitions are in accordance with the company’s vision.” It begs the question, have you cast your vision? Number two, right. “Number two, a CEO should set up and maintain clear company policies.” So protocols, you know, stuff like that, you know, just how are you running?

Regan 29:10
Which kind of don’t gloss over that? I know, we’re gonna go long that, I can’t speak enough to that though. Did you take clear organizational policies?

Dr. Chad Johnson 29:19
If you Yep. Clear company policies? Yeah.

Regan 29:23
Yeah, it makes it makes life so much easier. It’s really a beautiful thing and I speak to that personally. We hired a Chief Human Resources Officer a little bit ago, and it has been the biggest gift in like 12 years. Very, very experienced lots of great policy, lots of compliance, lots of it just makes everything so much easier and she really brings the human heart into it. So yeah, I think I know I think but we have to have her on the podcast. I think policies actually give you that structure. It holds the frame. It’s like the dancing partner. It holds the frame so that you can flourish and be creative character. he’d gone, no.

Dr. Chad Johnson 30:00
Number three, a CEO should promote and compensate good employees based on unbiased evaluation tools, which I’m excited to say, we have a book coming up. Let me look at the title name it is “Help Them Grow Or Watch Them Go” by authors, Beverly, l. K, and Julie Winkle Giuliani. So help them grow or watch them go, if you want to check that out, that is coming up on the 11th-ish book. So just so you have an idea, I thought I’d point that out because that has a lot of lists of really cool ways that you can, you know, like, evaluate, but to me to oversimplify it within my EOS structure of, you know, like traction, you know, framework, if you have defined your core values, then you judge on core values. So there’s the there’s the, you know, the

Regan 30:56
You, you rank for you, you definitely use those behaviors to judge performance, you can you can incorporate those in a really great way that’s going to be a fun book, because every person is the hero in their own story. So you’re right, if they’re not growing, they’re, you know, they’re looking somewhere else, then it doesn’t have to mean growing into a new role. I can’t wait to discuss this, it does not mean having to promote upwards, it just means deepening your knowledge and Oh, cool. Okay.

Dr. Chad Johnson 31:24
Well, and I, I like that that book is written by two females because it helps bring balance to our guy lineup of authors, you know, so that way, there’s a different way to set that. Thank you. Thank you. So number four rules to success in managing your company, a CEO should number four, hold regular meetings between employees and management. If you have five employees, and you’re the only dentist, you are the management, your office manager, I suppose might be management, if you have an office manager, if you’re that small, and everyone else is the employees, and you need to kind of keep them abreast as to your vision casting and, you know, like what’s going on? So how often? Maybe at least once a year for starters, I think healthy is quarterly.

Regan 32:13
Idon’t know if that’s regular regular meetings, I would see that as consistent, like more than once a year.

Dr. Chad Johnson 32:22
Sure and again, I have you know, like quarterly vision casting meetings and stuff like that with my boys. I run it different. But if Dennis said, No, I don’t do that. It’s just like,

Regan 32:32
Wait, don’t you do morning huddles though?

Dr. Chad Johnson 32:34
Yes, no, but um,

Regan 32:36
I don’t know like to hold to a gritty. Yeah, gotcha.

Dr. Chad Johnson 32:41
And we even have a leadership team that gets together weekly. We get together as a whole team monthly, you know, and stuff like that. But then quarterly so yes, there’s a there’s a pattern that we have don’t don’t think it’s, you know, overly simplified, but I’m trying to keep it simple for someone that’s like, oh, wait, I don’t do that. It’s like maybe once a year, you could at least cast your vision and have your team just for starters, that’s all I’m you know, toe in the water, kind of like, hey,

Regan 33:06
We, we do every other week, we do an all hands on deck all employee town hall meeting and we reviews international lines now, isn’t it for everything? Yes. Yes across multiple time zones. It’s, it’s wonderful and what I really like about it is every single time we review the our annual mission, we review our key characteristics and we review our goal, like what are where are we going and how are we going to get there? So what economic objectives do we have? So here’s our big annual goal, how are we going to get there and what behaviors every single time without fail and I it keeps people focused and you’ve got to open up that space. I’m a big advocate for opening up space so that you can understand what’s really going on no matter how big you are.

Dr. Chad Johnson 33:51
And therefore you’ll like point number five rules to success in managing your company. A CEO should invest in employee training your thoughts? Well,

Regan 34:02
since I’m doing an all employee company training tomorrow and and the next day we’re doing we we do invest in urgent we are a learning company. So number five, I’m all about I can’t I could I could do a whole podcast episode on the education that’s been given to myself. Not, not counting all of our employees and their own growth path as well. I think yeah, that’s a whole different topic. You can be an entrapreneur in the right setting. And I can’t sing the praises enough. Invest in your team, invest in your team, invest in your team, you care about them, they’ll care about you.

Dr. Chad Johnson 34:36
So, if you happen to show them this video tomorrow, you know as a as a coming back from break kind of thing. “Hi, everyone, hope you’re having a great PDA team meeting.” And yes, investing in employee training is something that PDA does for successful management of the company and it’s something as dentists that we should do too and so you guys as our modeling PDA, you guys are modeling what we are as dental offices supposed to be doing to is not just investing in ourselves, which is important and a lot of people might skip on that even but even going further and investing your team up to so

Regan 35:19
you know what I love the most? I will I will use you as an example you regardless of the circumstances that I’ve seen you go through over the past few years, because you have had the hard thing about hard things. You continue to invest in your team, you don’t stop, you’ve lost associates are you’ve lost team members, it’s been frustrating at times, and all business owners go through that. Yep, but you don’t stop investing and I’ve been with you at the times where it can feel very frustrating. Yes. For both of us in our own respective careers. So I think great leaders understand that you don’t you don’t stop you just you keep investing, and you take that risk, and it pays off in the long run.

Dr. Chad Johnson 36:00
Yep. Well, everyone, listen, if you’re looking for a silver bullet, the I see a title somehow that the creative people need to work with silver bullet in this, but And I’m saying it now you guys will see it, you’ll be like, well, that is the title of the podcast, we’re just talking right now but there’s no silver bullet. Sometimes it’s just lead bullets, meaning you just gotta, you know, shoot down the regular ol bullets and get the job done. So, great job Ben Horowitz for the book a hard thing, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” and hope you had a good time listening in on this. Now go read it. Regan your thoughts.

Regan 36:39
Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down. That’s my that’s my summary. They don’t have my I, some of the best people that I’ve met my entire life, they say they get knocked down, but they just pop back up and I what I am seeing in this in this book is there is a can do attitude and I think just setting up the expectation that hard times will occur, how you tackle them is what matters and understanding that if you’re in it to be great if you’re, if if you aspire to that level of greatness, whatever it is that your goal is, and even, this is what I was going to leave it on. I just remembered no matter where you are at in life, you will have these types of challenges and one of my favorite examples is I have a friend of mine who’s a librarian and I have thought during the past 20 years, like when things get hard, just you know, maybe I’ll just be in a library. Isn’t that a nice job, Chad? Doesn’t that sound peaceful? Like you just get to look at the new books coming in meet people. It’s a quiet environment. Oh, no, he got library elbow. Did you know that librarian elbow is a thing? No, no, it’s a thing. It’s an injury that occurs because you’re bending over and you’re grabbing books out of bins. And, and this friend of mine was complaining about the hardships of being a librarian. And I realized in that moment, it doesn’t matter what your job is. Life is set up, so you’re gonna have to tackle hard things. So I’m very excited. Thank you for sharing this book with me, chat. I, I encourage all the readers to read it because it’ll help give you some tools to shift that perspective a little bit, so that when you hit your hard times, you can get through them easier. Well,

Dr. Chad Johnson 38:16
Well, there was a famous philosopher of the last century, the late the late last century, who said, “I get knocked down, but I get up again, because they are never going to keep me down.” So everyone Chumbawamba on

Regan 38:33
Did you know when I did roller derby practice that that was the song that they may every time they said I get knocked down. You had to go while you’re skating, you had to drop to one knee, skate and then get back up again. Every time I get knocked down.  My knees hurt just thinking about it.

Dr. Chad Johnson 38:52
Well, wait a Chumbawamba on.

Regan 38:55
Thank you, Chad. Thank you listeners. Thank you for listening to another episode of Everyday Practices Podcast. Chad and I are here every week. Thanks to our community of listeners just like you and we’d love your help. It would mean the world if you can help spread the word by sharing this episode with a fellow dentist and leave us a review on iTunes or Spotify. Do you have an extraordinary story you’d like to share, or feedback on how we can make this podcast even more awesome? Drop us an email at And don’t forget to check out our other podcasts from Productive Dentist Academy at See you next week.


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