Building a Successful Dental Team: Insights from Dr. William Chen

Today, Dr. William Chen, a seasoned dentist and entrepreneur, shares his insights and experiences in scaling his dental practice and building a successful dental team.

Host: Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas
Guest: Dr. William Chen
Edited By: Candy Velez CRDH

Let’s explore the challenges of building a successful dental practice and the mistakes that can occur along the way.

The Importance of Retaining Good People

One of the biggest mistakes Dr. Chen highlights is the loss of good people within a dental practice. He acknowledges that turnover can be costly and detrimental to the growth and success of a practice. To address this issue, Dr. Chen emphasizes the need for regular check-ins and open communication with team members.

He explains:

“We do six-month financial check-ins… When we hire you, you’re coached through the process of how we pay, we coach you through the process of how we set goals and how you get incentivized. We check in at halftime…because we don’t want to lose good people.”

Dr. Chen further explains that a year is too long to wait to check in with employees. By implementing six-month check-ins, Dr. Chen ensures that issues and concerns are addressed promptly. This proactive approach allows for course correction and provides an opportunity for team members to voice their needs and goals.

Dr. Chen believes that by fostering a supportive and communicative environment, the chances of retaining good people increase significantly.

Hiring for the Position, Not the Person

Another mistake Dr. Chen highlights is the tendency to hire based on the individual rather than the position. He explains, 

“We’ve gone from hiring just for the person to hiring for the position…we create the position first…and then we go find the people.”

This shift in approach ensures that the practice’s needs are met and that team members are placed in roles that align with their strengths and abilities. Dr. Chen emphasizes the importance of providing clarity and expectations when hiring new team members.

Clearly defining job descriptions, roles, and compensation structures minimizes the chances of misalignment and dissatisfaction. This approach allows for a more efficient and harmonious team dynamic, ultimately contributing to the dental practice’s success.

Understanding Individual Modes of Operation

To further enhance team dynamics, Dr. Chen introduces the concept of understanding individual modes of operation. He explains, 

“We do a thing called the Kolbe…it’s a strength test mostly…it gives your mode of operation. I’m a 5-6-2-7 for those of you who want to look it up. Because I know my Kolbe, I know how to interact with those that are similar, and I know how to communicate with those who are different.” 

By utilizing tools like the Kolbe test, which assesses an individual’s strengths and preferred modes of operation, Dr. Chen is able to tailor his communication and management style to better suit each team member. Dr. Chen emphasizes the importance of speaking the language of team members and understanding their unique approaches to work.

By recognizing and accommodating different modes of operation, he creates a more inclusive and effective team environment. This understanding allows for better collaboration and productivity among team members.

The Journey to Coaching

Dr. Chen’s journey into coaching began with a personal experience in financial management. He shares, 

“My first official coach was Dave Ramsey’s group; this happened when my wife…looked at me and said, ‘Do you really know our financial position?”

When first asked this question by his wife, Dr. Chen initially thought, “We’re doing fine,” but then he thought to himself, “Are We?” This realization led Dr. Chen to seek guidance from financial expert Dave Ramsey, and he and his wife enrolled in Financial Peace University. Dr. Chen further explains,

“For the first time, we had our finances in order, and it relieved so many marital problems.” 

Through this experience, he recognized the value of coaching and its potential impact on personal and professional growth. Therefore, he brought the program to his team, and to this day, Dr. Chen offers his team members the opportunity to participate in Financial Peace University for themselves. Inspired by the positive outcomes of personal coaching, Dr. Chen sought additional coaching for his dental practice. 

He explains,

 “I noticed one of my colleagues…was doing well…and he told me, ‘I have a coach.’

Intrigued by the idea, Dr. Chen joined that coaching group, which has since become an integral part of his dental practice’s growth and development.

The Power of Coaching

Coaching has significantly influenced Dr. Chen’s journey as a dentist and entrepreneur. It has given him the guidance and support needed to navigate the challenges of scaling a dental practice and building a successful team. Dr. Chen has gained valuable insights into effective leadership, financial management, and personal growth through coaching. The impact of coaching extends beyond the individual dentist.

Dr. Chen acknowledges that coaching has a ripple effect on the entire team and practice. By implementing the strategies and principles learned through coaching, he has created a culture of continuous improvement and success within his practice.


Building a successful dental practice requires more than just clinical expertise. It requires effective leadership, strong team dynamics, and a commitment to personal and professional growth.

Dr. Chen’s experiences and insights shed light on the importance of retaining good people, hiring for the position, understanding individual modes of operation, and the power of coaching. As the dental industry continues to evolve, dentists must adapt and embrace new approaches to practice management.

By learning from the mistakes and successes of others, dentists can build thriving practices that provide exceptional patient care and create a fulfilling work environment for themselves and their teams.

Future Outlook

In the future, we expect to see a greater emphasis on team dynamics, individualized coaching, and a focus on personal and professional growth within the dental industry. Dentists who prioritize these aspects of practice management will be well-positioned to thrive in an ever-changing landscape.

So, let’s fuel our dental practices with the knowledge and insights shared by Dr. William Chen. By learning from his experiences and implementing these strategies, we can build successful practices that provide exceptional dental care and foster a supportive and thriving team environment. Remember, the journey to success is not without its challenges.

However, with the right mindset, strategies, and support, we can overcome obstacles and create dental practices that truly make a difference.

Stay tuned for more episodes of Dental Fuel, where we continue to explore the unspoken in-between of the dental world and fuel our practices for success. 

Follow us on Instagram @dentalfuel and @Ingitedds.

Keep Reading: Financial Mistakes Dentists Should Avoid: Insights from Dr. William Chen

Dr. William E. Chen, DMD

Dr. William E. Chen, DMD

Dr. Chen is the founder, CEO and visionary of Chen Dental in Sebring, Florida. Dr. Chen received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology at Rollins College and attended the University of Florida College of Dentistry where he completed his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree in 2001. Chen Dental was established in 2005. Dr. Chen has served the community for 20+ years as a modern dentistry leader for ensuring healthy smiles. Over 14,000 patients from three countries, thirty-eight counties and thirty-three states visit Chen Dental each year. Dr. Chen has been voted Best Dentist nine times, received multiple business of the year awards, and the Innovation and Leadership Award. Giving back is very important to Dr. Chen who has trained with renowned financial expert, Dave Ramsey, to learn financial and biblical principles about healthy money management. This has allowed Dr. Chen positive growth in his business and increased his charitable giving. With the support of the community, he has helped raise over $300,000 to benefit organizations such as Lindsey's Wish with Champion for Children, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and more. Dr. Chen established Chen Dental Lab in 2017, the first in-office digital dental lab in Highlands County, Florida. He is a member of several dental associations including the American Dental Association, Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the International Dental Implant Association to name a few. Dr. Chen is also a Greater Sebring Chamber of Commerce Circle member. Dr. Chen has a deep passion for his family. He lives an active lifestyle through surfing, wake surfing, hunting, fishing, and camping with his three adventurous boys and has enjoyed 22 years of marriage with his beautiful wife, Geri.