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Get Off the Dental Treadmill Podcast: Great Dentistry by Dentists Who Lead

Dec 26, 2018

A Network of Teams – Released to Take Action


Last year one thousand companies told Global Human Capital Trends that hierarchy at work is a bad idea. They are all shifting away from it and actively building organizational ecosystems and networks. The research said companies are in a “race to replace structural hierarchies with networks of teams empowered to take action.”


We call these Distributed Decision-making, or DDM Teams. There isn’t a profession or industry more well suited to be built around DDM Teams. Whether you have a practice of eight people or eight locations, this way of organizing your practice will reflect not the organizational design of the future, but the way great compaies are organizing right now in the emerging work world.


DDM Teams don’t need a manager, who tells them what to do. They need a leader who can cast vision, encourage and support, but who most importantly allows and REQUIRES that decisions be made locally where they have to be carried out. If you are going to rehumanize your practice and give everybody their brain back, it starts with localized decision-making by DDM Teams, not in a vacuum, but also not made by the dentist or office manager who then just tells people what to do.


In a traditional dental office, it can be a half dozen to three dozen conversations between managers of different departments before anything gets addressed, and two people who need to talk would never think of doing so without involving the office managers. In a DDM environment, people are trained to talk whenever they need to, for the sake of the practice, to uphold the mission, and to simply get the right thing done. Politics becomes a thing of the past.


This isn’t a new idea. Bill Gore, founder of W. L. Gore (Gore Tex, 10,000 people, $3billion annually), wrote his Lattice Organization paper in 1967, describing how Gore has organized since the late 1950s through today. Managers don’t exist; teams hire, fire, develop their own processes and metrics, and work with strategic leaders to push the companies Mission forward. They are one of hundreds of large organizations and thousands of smaller ones that are racing to embrace the Participation Age DDM model. It is the new/old way to organize and operate a dental practice.