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Episode 10 – Purpose, Passion, and People…Profits will Follow with Adrienne Reynolds

“I always say hire someone to do 80% of the job, and allow room for them to grow.”

People. Passion. Purpose. Profit. An Investment Grade Practice needs all 4. Why do you want to do it? If you’re only in it to make the money, then what is it that drives you what gets you out of bed? It’s not enough to recognize your purpose, you have to define it for yourself your team and your patients.

The fact is, no thing can be attractive to all the people at the same time. In order to craft a practice that builds long-term value, you want to be able to identify and connect with your customers through your shared purpose, your shared why. Then you want to hire the right people who also will support that purpose.

Therefore, it’s absolutely critical to build into your employee hiring and training practice that passion and purpose, so you’re not working at cross purposes.

My dear friend Dr. Adrienne Reynolds joins me today to share her business and human resources expertise to help you craft your Investment Grade Practice by:

  • Showing up by example
  • Understanding cultural restrictions that hold employees back
  • Get a handle on job descriptions that bring in the right people


Adrienne: It is absolutely going to be the death knell of anything sustainable. And as you said, you know, so people, passion, purpose, and then profit. And as I teach my students, you always want to start when you’re, you know, if you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, or you’re thinking about, you know, starting your own business one day, why do you want to do it, because if you’re only in it to make the money, you’re actually not going to be happy, and you may not make as much money as you want to. But if you you know, decide you want to go into dentistry, for example, what is it that drives you? 

What gets you out of bed in the morning about dentistry, what is your focus, and it’s not enough to just recognize that, but you have to define it, and you have to define it publicly, for yourself, your management team, your employees, and also for your customers, because it’s, you know, no business or practice can be attractive to all potential customers out there. So you have to decide which segment of the customers are you going to focus on, and you want to be able to connect with them through that purpose through that, why, you know, if, if you want to provide, you know, either very cutting edge, technological advances or a very comforting environment for all those that are, you know, incredibly afraid to go to the dentist and so that you want to give them a place where they feel taken care of, and nurtured. And it’s not a horror show. 

And I’m sorry, I’m thinking back to, you know, my days as a kid going to the dentist, where it was a horror show. Or if you want to provide very fast service, at lower prices, you know, not going into specialties, but to focus more on providing, you know, decent care, you know, more on volume thing, these are all these are going to attract very different customers, you have to define what is it that your focus is, and then not only once you’ve identified that, you’ve got to be able to hire the right people that also, we’ll support that purpose. Because if you want to hire a very nerd, you know, or you want to build a very nurturing, caring type of environment so that two or three generations of the same family are going to come to your practice and you want to continue into the future, you can’t hire someone that all they want to do say as an assistant or a hygienist is come in at nine o’clock on the DOD do exactly what their job description says and then leave at five, regardless, they will not have that same perspective. And they will not treat your customers in the way that you want them to be treated like family. So it’s absolutely critical to be able to vocalize to your customers. 

So you’re attracting the right customers, but also build into your hiring practices and your employee support practices, recognition practices, the same thing, so that everybody is in alignment with your passion and your purpose, and they’re not working across purposes. So,

Victoria: So much to unpack here. I am with long term friend, very dear friend, professor, Dr. Adrienne Reynolds, and you’re a master at simplifying the complex and you’re just very passionate about it. hit record very quickly because you’re that was just golden nuggets there to give my audience perspective of your perspective. You’re not only a university professor, but you have you have taught internationally on business and business ethics and in support of women and their rights and bringing their voice into the marketplace. So can you give us a snippet of where you’ve taught, and specifically how you’ve empowered women to show up in their leadership power in, in business, and in some pretty tough situations?

Adrienne Reynolds: Well, I have, I spent the bulk of my adult years outside of the US living in two years, actually in Saudi Arabia, but most of the time in the United Arab Emirates, but then I would travel to Asia as well frequently for work, both as a university professor, but also working in human resources in mainly startups, or corporate reorganizations.

 And so I’ve worked in an environment in which I know we have a perception of the Middle East as one being very one in which women cannot grow, in which women are kind of cloistered and put away and in some regards, that’s true. It is a more of a cultural thing. It’s not a religious thing at all, it’s a cultural thing. So in Saudi Arabia, that was quite true women could not drive, the women that I taught, you know, had very few choices they could make through their own autonomy. But women now want to move into the forefront. 

Victoria Peterson: And I know this is going to be a multi part podcast because my podcasts are typically 15 minutes. But your background is so rich and your voice is so needed more than 50% of dental school graduates are now women. And it is my fear that these women are, are not are going to culturally not feel empowered to start their own practice. Right now there is a consolidation of our field of dentistry, you know what’s coming in, and student debt. Now you’re not, you’re not even going to believe this. 

But the average dentist comes out of school owing $450,000. That’s absolutely insane rip, probably a topic for another day. I know and you’re in the university system. I know you and I when we went to school, and probably like 12 bucks an hour to get your degree, right. And so with this heavy debt, along with lack of business, education, and empowerment, and the prospects of motherhood and interruption to your career, it there are a lot of barriers for women to come in and be an entrepreneur in dentistry. And it takes a lot of courage. And so I really appreciate I there will be no way in a podcast that our listeners can ever understand the depth of your passion about empowering women. 

But I have known you since you were 17 years old. And I know you’re both of your parents, and I can tell you, neither one of them are going to tell you how to live your life. I’m so grateful for that. But you’re like flying tell me what to do. I’ll go sleep in my car, I don’t care. And that’s what I did. on my terms. Volkswagen has plenty of room. Absolutely. I was I was smaller than so it worked. You know, let’s translate. I’m going to actually going to explore this on my cast about this. But where do you see it from an HR perspective? 

Where do you see that business owners put cultural reserve restrictions, if you will, on their employees that that cause the environment to be such where people aren’t giving their best, or they’re holding back like women in particular and 99% of dentistry is female, right? held dentists but then most of the team less than 1% of hygenist are male. So that’s 90% of women, not less than point 5% dental assistants are male, less than point 2% are probably office managers. So 99% women, and half the dentist are men. Women are particular creatures, like we we won’t often apply for a job if there’s too many criteria. Because if we can’t check every single one we won’t even try. So how does simple things like that from an HR perspective? limit? You know how people might show up intentionally, but what what can bosses do to live some of those cultural governors so that people can show up in their purpose and passion?

Adrienne Reynolds: Absolutely. One of the first things and I try and teach this to every single student I have, regardless of whether it’s MBA or undergraduate, because one day they’re going to either be a manager or hiring hiring manager or have some type of influence. And I have seen this misperception for decades. And I’m, I guess, single handedly trying to break it, I don’t know. But it is it is based on evidence and research. 

There is this, there tends to be this idea that when you write up a job description, and you’re hiring somebody into that job description, they should be able to hit the door, as you said, ticking all the boxes. And applicants have that same perspective as well that well, if I can’t show that I can demonstrate all of this. I’m not qualified. And actually that is the worst way to hire somebody. From that perspective. I teach that what you want to do is you want to take a look at that listing of tasks and knowledge and so forth. 

And obviously, you want to pick out what are the absolute most critical aspects that must be had walking in the door, right that the whole job could not be accomplished without those. And so those those are, you know, deal breakers. The applicant has to have that or else they are not qualified. However, it’s critical to identify 20% of that. job description that the person is not required to know, because they need to have room to grow professionally and personally in that role. 

I’ll give you an example. So I was hired at a corporation. Well, it’s a privately owned, but it’s a conglomerate in the UAE portfolio of about eight different business very disparate business products. They had the the exclusive rights to sell Mercedes Benz automobiles, they did oil fields, oil, wellfield servicing, they had hotels, they had real estate, they had tourism, so you know, a wide array of businesses in their portfolio. And all these businesses used to have their own back end office, you know, finance, HR, purchasing, etc. And the chairman and the board decided that they wanted to create a holding company, and consolidate all the back end offices at the holding company level, and provide the same services out to all the businesses instead of having all those individual areas. So I was hired to create the first learning and development department in the HR department at the holding company. And so I was hired in September, and this corporate or this conglomerate was very generous with their annual bonuses, they were about 40% of a person’s yearly salary. And so very, very generous. 

And they were always paid in January, because their fiscal year ran on the calendar year. So I was hired in September, and they had just purchased for a half million dollars, a new performance management system, which fell under my purview of learning and development. And they said, okay, you know, we’ve got 3000 employees, and we’ve got this new system, we just spent a whole boatload of money on, we want all of the performance management process put into this system, and everybody trained on it, immediately. And that’s how we’re gonna pay bonuses. So if you don’t have this done in basically a month and a half, nobody’s gonna get their bonuses in January. And I thought, great, no pressure, no pressure at all.

I’m trying to build my departments, it was just me, I had no team yet. So at the time, it was definitely an employee’s or candidates market was things were booming. So many businesses were being started very hard to find qualified people. I ended up hiring someone who was she could have done my work as the manager, she had the same, you know, level of knowledge, she had a similar experience to me. 

But I hired her as a specialist at a lower role, knowing that probably at the six month mark, when probation would be over, she’d be out of there. Because why on earth? If she could do everything in the job description, why would she stay for a long ride, that would just get boring if there’s no way to grow. And I hired her anyways, because I needed help. I could not do all of that on my own, I did not want people getting mad at me for not getting their bonuses. So I hired her. And she had just she was moving from a different country. So for her, it was a foot in the door into the UAE. 

And she was great. She helped me get everything done, all my goals got met, and then yeah, six months she left, there was no way to keep her right. And that’s really true that whenever we hire somebody, and they can already do the job, eyes closed, there, they’re not going to stick around for longer or if they are they are not going to be engaged with what you want your company to be. So long story short, I always say hire someone to do 80% of the job and allow room for them to grow. So that’s one thing.

Victoria: Well, it goes it goes to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and also Human Design, that the sense of contribution, and connection and acknowledgement is part of our DNA. Like it’s not it’s not a nice to have it is a must have. And if within your career that is those are some of the highest things that you’re seeking. It’s not necessarily the money it’s Can I be mentally and spiritually challenged and stretched, I can contribute in a new way I can be acknowledged for those contributions. So I’ve never heard it put quite like you did that it starts in the interview and how you write the job description. 

Make sure there was a role description that I saw. And it was written up in this way I wanted to bounce I’ve been wanting to bounce this off of you for months. And it says things that I know and I will bring to the job. And there are a few lists. And then there were things that I may not know. So this was like the job description being sent back. You know for consideration the hype things you may not No, but we will teach you in areas that we would like to hold open for your growth and contribution. Nice and I thought is just a really great template.

Adrienne: Absolutely it is. It really is because it also helps to identify early what are the developmental goals professionally for the applicants.

Victoria: Yeah, that’s a that’s a lovely template.

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