Dinner in Cirencester

Yesterday was already a good day when I checked into The Kings Head, Cirencester.

After a hugely positive meeting with a prospective new client in Derbyshire, I had read, on the train, the email from them to confirm that “you are hired” and was excited at the prospect of what is likely to be one of my most interesting mentoring projects of the year.

After checking into my palatial room (those glowing Trip Advisor reviews can pay you back), I walked the short distance across to Cirencester Dental Practice for a planned informal conversation and dinner with Principal Ross Cutts and his team of associates (plus Practice and Clinic Managers).

Informal chats with associates is part of my stock in trade – and is offered as a no-charge, value added extra to those clients who hire me on a monthly basis (as is speaking at their study club evenings – it’s not always about the money).

Last night I enjoyed one of the most engaging, interesting and absorbing conversations with an associate team that I’ve experienced in some years.

We tackled some thorny problems around patient and referring GDP communication, referring GDP, the integration of “digital” into their workflow (this is one of the most advanced digital dental practices in the country), the inevitable issues around price – and some simple challenges like a traditionally gappy Friday morning.

Overnight, I’ve been thinking about the “why” – why is this associate team one of the most switched on that I’ve met for some time?

Why is there a buzz in this business?

It usually comes down to leadership – and I’m observing closely how Ross and the management team interact with their people, both clinical and non-clinical. Good leadership is rare in business and sometimes not immediately noticeable – it doesn’t have to be loud.

Let me remind you of my own definition of great leadership (vintage Coach Barrow):

  • you are the custodian of the vision;
  • you are the example of the behaviour;
  • you are a talented delegator.

There’s something going on in this practice that, if I can define it, can be of great use to my other clients.

I’ve been mentoring the management team here for three months but last night was the first time that I realised what a talented clinical team they are – note to self on observation.

This morning I will reconvene with the management team at 08:30 and continue the process of growth in profits by effective marketing.

For now, in a world of associate-bashing (sometimes by me), I want to pay tribute to a great clinical team – thank you all for the pleasure of your company last night – there is hope.


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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.