Robust Theme


Value Disciplines: Define Your Practice

In 1995 Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema published a book The Discipline of Market Leaders. Based on 5 years of research it provided a business model on three types of “disciplines”: customer intimacy, product leadership, and operational excellence. Nothing it seems is without controversy. Bloomberg Businessweek alleged that the authors had manipulated the sales of the book by buying over 10,000 copies themselves to make the book a best-seller. Nonetheless, the research found that companies who had taken leadership positions in their industries have done it by narrowing their business focus NOT broadening it. They focused on giving superior customer value in line with one of the three value disciplines. They become superior in one discipline while meeting the standards in the other two. Using this principal in dentistry, especially in implant dentistry, will undoubtedly set a practice apart from the rest. Dentistry is a business first and foremost and executing an encompassing business plan will bring the practice to a completely different level.

Operational Excellence:

Providing customers with reliable products or services at competitive prices and deliver them with minimal difficulty or inconvenience. This is an ideal market where customers value cost over choice. Leaders in this area are strongly centralized, with organizational discipline and a standardized rule-based operation. The model is based on four features:

  1. The core processes are aimed at end-to-end product supply and basic service that are streamlined to minimize cost and hassle. Not just the price that is paid for the product but cost in terms of time spent to purchase the product, product maintenance needed in the future, and ease of getting swift and dependable service.
  2. The operations are standardized, simplified, tightly controlled and centrally planned to leave few decisions to the discretion of the employees.
  3. Management systems focus on integrated, reliable high-speed transactions and compliance to norms.
  4. It is a business culture that frowns on waste and rewards efficiency. Efficiency is the key to operational excellent companies. A narrow product line and standardized products are a central feature.


Examples of operational excellent companies are McDonald’s, Southwest Airlines, Wal-Mart and IKEA.

Another key component that often gets confused with operational excellence is process excellence. Process excellence can be defined as focusing more heavily on the analytical, strategic aspects of operational excellence. Some companies that have excellence in this arena are GE, Motorola, Toyota, Bell Laboratories, Ford, Amazon and Dell was a master at bother the operational and process excellence.

Product Leadership:

Consistently striving to provide customers with leading-edge products or useful new ways to use existing products or services. Product leadership companies are completely different than operational excellent companies.  They excel in creativity, problem solving and teamwork is critical to their success. They must commercialize their ideas quickly and embrace thoughts  that usually originate outside of their company.

  1. Focuses on the process of invention, product development and market exploitation.
  2. Loosely knit organization to be able to change and adjust to redirections and entrepreneurial initiatives.
  3. Results driven, measures and rewards new product success but does not stop for self-congratulation. They are too busy raising the bar.
  4. A culture that encourages out of the box thinking.


Examples of product leaders include Apple, Nike, Fidelity Investments, Microsoft, BMW and Pfizer. Johnson and Johnson are well known in this area and work hard to develop open-mindedness to new ideas. 

Customer Intimacy:

Customer-intimate companies are willing to spend to build customer loyalty for the long term.  They look at the customer’s lifetime value not the value of any single transaction. They make sure the customer gets exactly what they want.

  1. They focus on solution development, results management, and relationship management.
  2. The business structure that delegates decision making to employees who are close to the customer.
  3. They are geared toward creating results for carefully selected and nurtured clients.
  4. A culture that focuses on specifics rather than general solutions to insure long lasting client relationships.

Examples of customer driven businesses are Nordstrom, IBM in their heyday, and Home Depot. When you look at Home depot it matters not whether the product is $1 or $100, they make sure no matter how long it takes which product will help solve their problem. The clerks don’t spend time with the customers just to be nice. The business strategy is built around selling items inexpensively and help meet the customer’s needs for information and service.

The dental industry is focused primarily on the customer intimacy discipline. Whether that is the business model you ascribe to or not, being laser focused on one specific discipline without losing sight of the other two may elevate your practice in ways that other practices in your area are not.

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.