How to transform your work and set yourself apart from the competition

How to transform your work and set yourself apart from the competition

I hope this post finds you well. Today, I’m excited to continue our journey through “The 5 D’s of Owning Your Role.” In our previous discussions, we explored the first two D’s: “Decide” and “Design.” Now, let’s delve into the third D: “Determine.”


If you have heard me speak about “Staff Infections” before, I emphasized the importance of owning your role and being the ideal team player while avoiding becoming a “staff infection” in your workplace. Today, I want to share a story that inspired me to think differently about owning your role.


The story originates from my very first full-time orthodontic client, Dr. David Datwyler. He started his career as an architect but realized that his true passion lay in orthodontics. As we were discussing his journey, I coined the term “smile architect” to describe his unique approach. Dr. Datwyler was taken aback but intrigued by this new perspective. It made him realize that he was different from other orthodontists; he was architecting smiles, elevating his work beyond the ordinary.


This notion of “elevation” also extended to his office. It was there that I encouraged his front desk person to become the “director of first impressions.” The point is that owning your role and determining what it truly means can transform your work and set you apart


So, why is this important when it comes to determining your role? Whether you’re an orthodontist, dentist, surgeon, or a leader in any field, understanding your role within your office or organization is crucial. Not every leader should strive to be the director of everything; it’s okay to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses.

Smart business owners recognize that if they excel at their core service (like orthodontics), but struggle with the business side of things, they need to hire someone to handle those aspects. It could be a Chief Operating Officer (COO) or even a CEO (Chief Executive Officer). Look at successful practices like L&L Orthodontics in Australia, where they have a dedicated CEO, or Depew Orthodontics in Georgia, where Kenneth manages the business side of things.

As a business owner or professional, you must ask yourself: “What is my role in this office?” Are you the visionary who inspires and motivates the team, or are you the expert who excels in your field? Sometimes, your role may be to find a kick-butt office manager who can complement your skills. The key is determining the right role for you.

When you define your role, it becomes easier to empower your team members to do the same. Encourage them to up their “name game,” moving beyond traditional titles to something more reflective of their contributions. They can be the “chaos coordinator” instead of the office manager or the “perfection maintainer” instead of a lab tech.

Lastly, I want to leave you with this thought: Are you a business owner or an entrepreneur? These two mindsets are not the same. Entrepreneurs think differently about business, while business owners approach it differently. Professionals who’ve gone through rigorous schooling like doctors or attorneys often think like business owners. However, in fields like orthodontics, you’ll find individuals like Glenn Krieger, Kyle Fagala, and Stuart Frost who embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.

To sum up, step three of “The 5 D’s of Owning Your Role” is to determine your role, own it, and encourage your team members to do the same. Whether you’re a business owner or an entrepreneur, understanding your role is the foundation of success.

Stay tuned for the next installment, where we’ll explore the fourth D: “Declare.”


Wishing you a determined and successful journey in owning your role!


Proactive, Productive and Profitable,


Dino Watt