One trait that I adore about the human condition is Dunbar’s number. This number at its core demonstrates the capacity one person has to build strong emotional communal bonds within a group of people. This average number is about 100-150 people and it includes family, friends, colleagues and business associates. Our ability to empathize with the people on a small scale keeps us human, we can empathize and love one another in our group with ease.
This number is, at its core, why a small business and service providers are often better at providing a positive experience for patrons then a corporate conglomerate. This is also why job satisfaction can be much higher in a small business then a corporation. At our core, humans want to know with whom we are dealing with and we want to deal with people whom we have positive feelings about. It is my belief that small business often have more empathy and contribute more to a community in which they are located in part because of Dunbar’s number.
Big business have a higher degree of abstraction. Physiological studies have found that abstraction is a source of mental acquittal. It allows people to release themselves from guilty feelings of poor actions often caused by knowingly causing harm to other people with actions that are against an internal moral code. Abstraction allows for the transfer of blame to a boss or higher person regardless of the situation. Corporate executives whom review business metrics from a computer then make decisions about personal, equipment and business directions from afar. Good or bad this affects patrons who interact with their company down the chain of employees. The larger the gap of people above Dunbar’s number, the more abstraction is experienced by the people who interact with the company.
Before founding my own orthodontic company Serenity Orthodontics, I worked for a larger corporate DSO or dental service organization as well as a moderately sized DSO. I know abstraction is a prevalent affliction of DSOs having experienced it personally. The steady revolving door of doctors, clinical assistants and other personnel are the symptoms of abstraction in these companies. Often the corporate executives make decisions off of quotas and metrics that steadily remove the human element from a company, causing a revolving door. Patrons suffer from treatment disruptions that inevitably occur if they seek service in a DSO. The executives rationalize some of their decisions in the guise of access to care, excusing their decisions and lacking empathy, as to them, some care is better than none. This is the absolute fallacy, as most places in the US have plenty of service providers.
In effort to have autonomy and to serve my community, I decided to build a better company and founded my first practice in 2013. At Serenity Smile and Serenity Orthodontics we make decisions first and foremost to elevate our patients and their families. We believe in whole body health that translates to a healthy mouth and beautiful smile. We prioritize people.
Shop small for your doctors, dentists and orthodontists because:
- If you know your treating doctor, your care will be more personalized and complete. If your doctor owns the practice as it’s CEO you can be sure your care will be consistent and exceed your expectations.
- Support personnel who are engaged directly with small businesses report higher job satisfaction. Clinical teams often function as a family and can care for patients and their families best in a practice that is able to prioritize people.
- Reputation of a treating doctor is more easily accessible when the doctor owns the business as more patients will rave about their excellent care. You can find reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook and on private pages like neighborhood groups to get the local scoop. Private offices are less likely to be a mixed bag.
- Every doctor wants to deliver quality care, this is more easily achieved if the doctor is able to dictate decisions on equipment and support staff. Often corporate budgets and policies restrict choices doctors are able to make.
- Service, a private practice is entirely a reflection of its founder. You are more likely to get a call back from your doctor or help while out of town directly if you have a personal relationship with your service provider.
All the doctors I know whom own a private practice are fully engaged with the people in the practice and the community. If you’re unsure if your doctor is in a private practice ask them! I am proud to say Serenity Smiles and Serenity Orthodontics are private offices and as the founder and treating doctor I strive to do all that I can for my team, patients and communities.