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Find Your True North


Real-World Insights from AADOM Authors. Nathan Yoder, RDA, MAADOM.

In the early ’90s, I had the privilege of leading a group of Boy Scouts on a 50-mile hike through New Mexico.

There, I learned the concept of True North.

We were given a map, compass, and taught about heading north to reach basecamp.

However, North wasn’t always the same depending on where you were in the world and different magnetic fields.

We were taught that True North was the destination, and we could use the North Star as a guide if the compass or map were unclear.

After seven days, our group of hot, sweaty, hungry boys saw the base camp. I no longer followed the compass and map but saw my true North toward a hot meal and shower.

Keep reading to learn tips on making your dental practice stronger by finding your True North.

True North

True North is your North Star.

It’s the thing that guides you and keeps you on track.

In dentistry, True North is our mission and vision.

It’s our “why?” and the passion that guides us to give five-star service day in and day out.

How to achieve and find your True North as a business

Your brand’s True North is what you stand for, the thing that you have to stay true to no matter what.

Your True North can’t be something that just sounds good or looks good on paper; it has to be something you’re genuinely passionate about.

Here are some questions you can ask:

  • What is your True North?
  • What does it represent?
  • How can you find it?

For a lot of dental office organizations, they don’t even know.

However, those who do will have the passion and vision to reach their mission as a business.

What is your corporate purpose?

Share it with your team, so they know who they’re dealing with.

Your team needs to know why it’s important to accept a message that’s different for every business.

Next, create a brand strategy.

This defines:

  • What you stand for
  • A promise you make
  • The personality you convey

Now, create the “aspirational map” of where your brand is going.

Do a deep dive into:

  • Audiences you serve
  • Goals you’re trying to accomplish
  • Narratives that grow your business
  • What your business’s competitive advantage is

This step could be as simple as listing three main focus categories that describe your audience.

Make a point to identify where they come from, their impact, and how you can serve them.

Companies often make the mistake of assuming they know what their audience wants and message their content strategy accordingly.

That’s often because they haven’t created an aspirational map.

If you look at the audience you serve, there will most likely be one primary driver of their procreative decisions.

The value of a True North

Your True North is a guiding light, a moral compass that points you in the right direction.

It’s the thing you’re most passionate about.

It’s not just some map on a piece of paper where stars line up according to an imaginary topographic map of after-life. It’s a thing you have to do.

I’m talking about making life decisions that are consistent with your beliefs and values.

“The true north is, among other things, the life one should aim to live.” — Idowu Koyenikan

By making a point to establish your own True North, you can make better decisions in both business and life.

When you build an internal compass, you can make better decisions because you can navigate the storms of life more efficiently, including the failures and the successes.

You’re able to make tough decisions because you’re able to rely on your internal compass.

Don’t distractions and obstacles cause you to lose your way. Look North and stay true!

Meet the Author

Nathan Yoder in plaid shirt.Nathan began his career with Gentle Family Dentists… This text opens a new tab to the practice’s website… in 1998. He worked his way through each department, learning how the office functioned as a whole.

In 2016, he was inducted as an AADOM Fellow (FAADOM), and most recently in 2021, he received his AADOM Mastership (MAADOM).

Now a clinical administrator for three locations, he takes pride in living our mission statement to “create a partnership to educate and empower our patients to have complete health with beautiful smiles in a supportive and comfortable dental home.”


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