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The Most Important Thing You Will Ever Do in Your Practice with Jenni Poulos & Heather Crockett
Episode 35419th November 2021 • The Best Practices Show • ACT Dental
00:00:00 00:33:42

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The Most Important Thing You Will Ever Do in Your Practice

Episode #354 with Jenni Poulos & Heather Crockett

Core values are the most important thing for the lifetime of your practice — so important that one ACT team member has them tattooed on their body! That is the kind of all-in attitude at ACT Dental. And today, Kirk Behrendt brings in two ACT team members, Jenni Poulos and Heather Crockett, to share their journeys on developing their personal and professional core values and putting them to practice. Don't wait! To start your core values journey, listen to Episode 354 of The Best Practices Show!

Main Takeaways:

Core values are the guideposts for all your actions and decisions.

Core values are important throughout the entire process of your business.

Core values are great in accountability conversations or difficult conversations.

Core values will help you quickly move through conflict.

Core values will give you confidence in your decisions.


“Core values are huge. Once we leaned into and learned the importance of core values, there was no turning back. They are the guidepost by which we measure and make all decisions. They help us lean into what's really important, and when something is ruffling our feathers, when something doesn't feel right, we can always tie it back to those things going against our core values. You just can't underestimate their importance.” (00:49—1:29)

“When there's something going on in my life that's not quite making a ton of sense, it’s because they're brushing up against one of my personal core values.” (2:56—3:07)

“When I have to make a hard decision, or maybe it’s not a difficult decision but I'm just a little bit uncertain about the choice that I should make, I'm really going to pause and say, ‘How would my core values respond to this?’ It’s really great in accountability conversations or difficult conversations with team members. And this is why it shows up in hiring and firing.” (6:30—6:59)

“This brings me back thinking to March 16th. We all know that day. And in my practice, things were changing, and we were wondering if we should close, ‘Should we close the practice?’ We didn't know what to do. And I was sitting with the docs in my practice. The leadership team was all sitting in this room, and we’re going, ‘Gosh, I'm not sure. Do we close? Do we stay open?’ And we said, ‘Guys, wait a minute. What do our core values tell us?’ And immediately, we’re like, ‘Well, we close. It’s the right thing to do.’” (7:01—7:41)

“[Core values] give you confidence in your decisions. And when you have confidence in your decisions, you can move forward. And that's something that's really hard, oftentimes, is moving forward. But when I can have confidence in those decisions, I can be all-in.” (8:12—8:28)

“[Core values are] 1,000% important throughout the entire process of the whole business, from beginning to end. And letting them bake for a little while is really key, because you'll come up with them, and think about them — I mean, mine are still baking. And it’s okay to mold them and tweak them as time goes on. But the sooner you get to the concrete core values, the quicker your team can rally around them and know exactly what they mean.” (10:37—11:10)

“It’s important to make sure there's a couple of bullet points, that the team is very clear about what it is exactly this core value means. One of my teams recently came up with a core value. The title of the core value is just “zest,” which I love. I totally love this core value. The word that they are using, you just know what it means, the passion for what they're doing. So, finding a way to have your core value title really show what it means is amazing. And if it needs a little bit of tweaking over time, then that's okay too.” (11:11—11:51)

“If you approach core values as, ‘Oh, yeah. It’s just this feeling,’ it’s kind of fluff. You won't really talk about them, and you won't have the confidence to post them and put them out there and paste them all over and have them on swag. And then, they won't be a part of your decision-making. They won't be a part of your culture because you're not really all-in on them.” (12:44—13:08)

“Core values are not just a feeling. They are words that are emblazoned in our hearts. And when we emblazon them on our walls and we talk about them all the time, they also become a part of everything that we do and every decision that we make.” (13:09—13:25)

“TMI, I tattooed my core values on my body this year, my personal core values . . . Mine are gratitude and grace. And I let them bake for a long time. And earlier this year, I was like, ‘Okay. I am all-in on these,’ and I got a tattoo.” (13:45—14:17)

“I hope everyone that's listening gets the chance, once you put [your core values] out there as a doctor or a leader, to have them become so real and so alive in your practice that you have a team member call you out on them.” (17:29—17:42)

“You have to lead by your actions, not by your words. Nobody likes a hypocrite. So, you have to eat and breathe your core values, or your team members should call you out on that and say, ‘Is this really a core value? Because I'm not seeing it being lived.’” (18:09—18:27)

“When people don't know how they're expected to behave, and we’re not hiring and building up team members that know and are in alignment with our core values, we have struggles on teams. We have a lot more conflict. And one of the things that I think you really see is an inability to quickly move through conflict.” (19:46—20:14)

“If we don't know what our values are and if we don't put them out there and live and breathe them, conflict resonates. And it becomes cancerous to the culture and the health of your team.” (20:25—20:39)

“If you haven't done your core value journey yet, while it is hard, it is tricky to go through — I can say that because I've been through it myself for my own personal core value journey — it is 1,000% worth it. Do not wait any more. Start the journey today.” (28:58—29:17)


0:00 Introduction.

0:34 Why this topic is important.

3:09 ACT’s journey with core values.

6:24 Core values for important decision-making.

10:27 Core values are important throughout the business process.

11:51 Be all-in on your core values.

14:34 Right people, right seats.

17:28 Be ready to live by your core values.

18:01 As goes the leader, so goes the team.

18:28 What happens when core values aren't in place.

21:17 Ways to bring core values alive.

28:19 Last thoughts on core values.

Reach Out to Jenni and Heather:

Jenni’s email: 

Jenni’s Facebook:

Jenni’s social media: @actdental

Heather’s email: 

Heather’s Facebook:

Heather’s social media: @actdental


ACT’s core values:

Jenni Poulos Bio:

Jenni brings to dental teams a literal lifetime of experience in dentistry. As the daughter and sister of periodontists and a dental hygienist, she has been working in many facets of the dental world since she first held a summer job turning rooms and pouring models at the age of 12.  Now, with over 10 years of experience in managing and leading a large periodontal practice, she has a firm grasp on what it takes to run a thriving business. Her passion for organizational health and culture has been a driving force behind her coaching career. She has witnessed firsthand how creating an aligned and engaged team will take a practice to levels of success that they never believed possible!

Heather Crockett Bio:

Heather Crockett is a Lead Practice Coach who finds joy in not only improving practices but improving the lives of those she coaches as well. With over 20 years of combined experience in assisting, office management, and clinical dental hygiene, her awareness supports many aspects of the practice setting.

Heather received her dental hygiene degree from the Utah College of Dental Hygiene in 2008. Networking in the dental community comes easy to her, and she loves to connect with like-minded colleagues on social media. Heather enjoys both attending and presenting continuing education to expand her knowledge and learn from her friends and colleagues.

She enjoys hanging out with her husband, three sons, and their dog, Moki, scrolling through social media, watching football, and traveling.