We here at Mastery Company have worked with dentist-entrepreneurs for more than three decades and I notice several differentiating factors in Millennials from earlier generations; differences that are changing the way dental practices will be owned and operated in the future.
Millennials have been weaned on digital technology, where the world exists in their pockets. This experience has shifted the way they see themselves and dental practice. Living in a mobile digital world, Millennials have little attachment to tradition or location.
Previous generations of dentists have been anchored to their offices. The only thing Millennials are anchored to are their devices. They are not seeking work-life balance. Millennials talk about designing a life that includes their family and friends, includes their hobbies and pastimes, and includes their career in dentistry. They see their world as a continuum, not as ‘stop and go.’
Millennials have little regard for tradition, whereas the dentists of previous generations have a strong attachment to privately owned dental practice. This allegiance to tradition might explain why many dentists are struggling with the shifting landscape moving from solo practice to group practice. Preserving solo practice has little meaning to Millennials.
For the previous generations, “ownership” has been the overriding goal. The rights of ownership – the potential for return on investment, the apparent level of command and control, the ultimate path to financial success and security – could all be achieved with the sacrifice that ownership required. Millennials have little interest in this level of sacrifice.
Millennials do honor formal education and certification, but when it comes to personal growth, they value knowledge and experience more. Previous generations of dentists had little interest in personal growth or self-examination. Today, Millennials are strongly interested in personal discovery as the means to a more satisfying life.
Earlier generations of dentists pay homage to iconic people in the industry, people they considered masters. They attended their courses, followed their dictates, continue to defend their philosophies. Millennials do not embrace these kinds of relationships. They trust their peers more than individuals from older generations. They are not attached in the same way given their connected devices give them instant access to their peers.
Knowing Millennials – how they are constituted, how they see the world, and their expectations and concerns – is fundamental and critical to successful associateships, and therefore, to successful practice growth. The Associate SUMMIT is for emerging and small group practices to help them understand Millennials at a very deep level, so they adjust their thinking and the design of their practices to attract, onboard and retain associates.