Avoiding camels

Don’t shoot the messenger but someone famously said that if a committee were convened to design a horse, it would end up a camel – totally functional but ugly as hell.

One of the biggest challenges facing any organisation that is growing rapidly is to avoid that trap and the more obvious consequences including (as previously referred to in this blog) FOMM (fear of making a mistake).

You can see formerly owner-managed businesses that sell to larger corporations (dentistry included) where the entrepreneurial spirit is discarded in favour of ticking boxes and covering one’s posterior.

Lip service is paid to “team” when in fact all that matters is bottom line.

The real insult is that the institutional owners of these larger companies think we are all stupid.

That the promises of reward, progress and individual attention to detail are true.

My experience is that larger corporates can be populated by fantastic people at the grass roots level. Sometimes people who really buy into the corporate ethos and are proud of the brand.

It is disheartening to then listen to conversations at Board level that don’t hold up in the spotlight of closer examination.

Boy oh boy, I’ve had my share of Board meetings over the years at which I’ve had to bite my tongue for the sake of status quo or speak out and find myself branded as an unwelcome troublemaker.

Nowadays, I’m investing a lot of my time in helping clients to grow much smaller corporates, mostly without the involvement of institutional finance.

It’s a much nicer experience for me and I’m constantly reminding the owners that their teams and patients are their most valuable asset – not the size of their EBITDA.

Wanna build a micro-corporate and be happy?

Call me.

Wanna build a micro-corporate and be filthy rich?

Don’t call me.

I don’t do camels.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.