It’s Not the Team – It’s the Systems

By Roger P. Levin, DDS


Orthodontists often ask how to hire great team members or create an outstanding team. There is a belief that if you hire better people, you will get better results. To some degree that may be true, but it is only a small part of the story.

Hiring the right people has more to do with attitude and the motivation of the team member than their actual skill set. Most big businesses understand that it is their absolute obligation to continually train employees so that they are prepared for the future. For example, Amazon is training 60% of its workforce in technology so that they can keep up with the changes that are here and coming.

Orthodontic practices are no different. Orthodontics changes regularly, technology advances, patient behavior is continually altered, and the staff is often unprepared. The best way to handle this situation is…

Documented, proven, step-by-step systems.

It is actually that simple. Instead of trying to hire the perfect people (which is harder than ever in the face of the staffing crisis) it makes more sense to train people who have potential. It is mandatory now that practices be prepared to hire new team members, train them faster than ever before, and raise the performance of current team members to the highest level.

Let’s break down the concept of documented, proven, step-by-step systems.

Documented means that the staff has complete access to the systems to train, study, review, and improve. Access is the key. If the systems are not documented then no one can properly remember all the steps, scripts, and insights that will increase practice production by 30-50% in approximately three years.

Proven means the systems already exist and are working. Orthodontic practices no longer have the luxury of spending years of trial and error to see if they can improve or get it right. A very simple concept in the business world is that you can either learn something for yourself or learn it from someone who is already doing it. It is much easier and faster to learn from someone who has proven that it works.

Step-by-step means that the systems are laid out as instruction manual. If your iPhone is misbehaving you go on Google and find the four, six, or eight steps to go through to fix something that is not working right. If you want to know how to improve in any area of your practice, a step-by-step system that looks and acts like the steps of instruction manual is the easiest, fastest, and most effective way for the team to improve in any situation.

Systems will make the difference for most practices. So, who should you be hiring? The answer is self-disciplined and motivated people. Self-disciplined people do not need to be managed. Motivated people study the systems with a desire to reach their highest level of performance. We have seen numerous examples of team members that would have been deemed average in one practice but when they moved to another became exceptional. It’s not that the personality or capability of the team member changed, but there were systems in place for training and development that allow the self-disciplined motivated team member to perform at a high-level.

You can hear more from Roger P. Levin, DDS at the 2022 Users Group Meeting, January 27-29 in Las Vegas. To learn more about the UGM, or to register, visit

Roger P. Levin, DDS is the CEO and Founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 practices to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written 67 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the U.S. and around the world. To contact Dr. Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit or email

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