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At the Dykema DSO Conference in Dallas in July 2019, Dr. Joshua Renken talked about the lessons he learned during the scaling of the operations at his DSO, Renken Dentistry.


Renken’s DSO Locations Are in Illinois & Texas

As a central Illinois native, I attended Eastern Illinois University and then the University of Illinois at Chicago where I earned my DDS degree. Following associate work in Chicago, I moved to Springfield and opened my first practice, Renken Dentistry, in 2003. In 2018, I moved with my family to the Austin Texas area to continue growing the Renken Dentistry group. Since arriving in Texas, we’ve opened offices in Leander-Crystal Falls and Georgetown, Texas.

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Lesson #1: Learning What Is Non-negotiable

When I started years ago in a solo dental practice, one of the things I did for myself was make a list of all the non-negotiables that I would never compromise as we grow the DSO. The funny thing is that list got shorter over time because there were certain special things that were harder to replicate and carry on as we scaled. But the things that have remained on that list I think are what make us special, and they all revolve around the patient experience. I want to make the “super” important things that are still on my list more special and more fully expressed as we grow. So, I think the biggest lesson I learned is what I am and am not willing to compromise.


Lesson #2: Vision & Values Form the Framework for Hiring & Expansion

As a dentist, I am highly involved clinically, even as we grow, and I stay involved with the clinical aspects of our locations. As my DSO expanded, I was pulled away from interacting with the administrative teams, so hiring personnel with the right expertise to run the centralized aspects of the business was essential. As an entrepreneurial dentist who wants to practice dentistry, there comes a time when you must relinquish business focus to others you trust.

When I started hiring business executives, I was ahead of the DSO expansion in some ways and not in others. The first thing we had to centralize was our vision of where we are going, our mission and values. That literally forms the framework for our hiring and development process.


Lesson #3: Our Centralized Vision & Values Guide Us

Our centralized vision is to increase health for our patients and community. This vision is what inspires me when the going gets rough, and it inspires the team. Everything we do at Renken Dentistry is based on our value system, which we call “The Smile from within Way.” It’s a set of five values we use to empower our team, measure our impact, provide better consistent care, and encourage our team to become servants and leaders in the community.


The 5 Core Values that Guide Renken Dentistry

  1. Discover your inner smile. We value each team member’s unique strengths. We encourage each team member to look inward and identify unique ways to support our dental group’s purpose to increase health for our patients and community.
  2. Partner to serve others. Our team has the ability to create amazing outcomes and support others in what matters to them. We value how important this can be and how choosing to support and serve can be powerful.
  3. Organize well for good results. We each use our own individual motivation to learn, implement, and evolve standardized systems within our dental group that deliver consistently great outcomes for our patients.
  4. Learn, laugh, and grow, even when it is hard. Our organization values professional, technical, and leadership development in all roles. We encourage each team member to grow and lead in their role. We also choose to see change as an inevitable reality in our industry and learn to manage it proactively. We also have a disco ball hanging in each of our locations. It’s there to remind all of us—both our patients and our dental teams—that we are all human and we are all here to have the best life experience we can together. Much of the time, working together on an important mission is fun.
  5. Create a healthy community. We are creative rather than reactive. We value moving people to health and helping them stay there. We also recognize and value our role as leaders in the larger community. We encourage servant leadership in our community, plan community service projects, and encourage our team to take an active role, each in our own way.


More Resources for Multi-Practice Growth

Click here to access our numerous “Multi-Practice Growth” videos and their associated blog articles.

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