January 7, 2024
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The most frequently viewed Congressional testimony ever, that sparked an uproar and it’s aftermath can be a teachable moment for Dental practice owners, even as it might not have been for Harvard itself.

How does one deal with a mis-hire?  Here’s a formula.

1. Prevent it.
2. Admit it.
3. Deal with it quickly.


Harvard did none of these.

Most hiring processes involve reviewing resumes and an interview.  But as we know, resumes can be padded, contain falsehoods, misrepresentations and can even be plagiarized. People can role-play during an interview and present a personathat does not truly reflect their values or capabilities.  In short, it’s not uncommon for a person to be hired only for the owner to find out sometime later that they made a mistake.  It’s all too common, and too costly at times when practice profitability is being squeezed.  Even during better economic times, mis-hires are problematic.

And, as with Harvard, a bad hire can cause all kinds of problems.  For Harvard, it’s a loss of good student applications, a loss of donations, a black eye to an otherwise envious brand and even more scrutiny by the government.  Harvard might never fully recover.

Yet, the supposedly smartest people in academia, compounded their hiring mistake by delaying the firing process, which allowed for even more controversy.  They failed to live up to their stated value of VERITAS, truth.  The University of Pennsylvania got it right.  Not only did the president resign but so did the Chairman of the Board.

The truth is that Harvard’s original sin was that it chose poorly.  They lowered their standards for other considerations.

Many dentists did the same during the post-pandemic employment challenges.  Now, they too might be suffering with employees who are not “A” team players.

But Harvard made an even greater mistake.  As of yet, they have failed to admit that their process was flawed.  And so, if the same process is used, what’s the likelihood of another bad hire?

And to compound strikes one and two, they failed to act.  In fact, they dug in their heels and announced their confidence in their hire.




You might want to use Harvard’s actions as an example of what not to do.

Here are a few tips to assure that you hire people who will not tarnish your reputation or disrupt your culture.


1. Clearly define the values that are non-negotiable in your practice.
2. Define the hard and soft skills required for the position.
3. Write a job wanted ad that includes all of the above.
4. Require a written letter for all positions where communications and writing are required.
5. Review resumes looking for evidence of the skills and attitudes required.
6. Invite candidates for a virtual interview.
7. Invite successful virtual interviewees to a ½ day, in-office observation.
8. Do a background check.
9. Get team consensus prior to making an offer.
10. Make offer contingent on reference check.


Apparently, The Harvard Corporation had uncovered 4 instances of plagiarism out of the now 50 that have been found.  But is accepting even 1 instance not compromising one’s values?

When one compromises one’s values, they stop being values and become mere suggestions.  Do you have values or suggestions?

Culture is how values are put into action.  Why not take some time as the year begins and examine your values.  Practice Perfect Systems has a resource called The Practice Culture Guide & Workbook to help you define your values and communicate how they are put into action in your practice.

True values are non-negotiable.  They are the foundation of who you are and what you stand for.

The strongest thing that any human being has going is their own integrity and their own heart. As soon as you start veering away from that, the solidity that you need in order to be able to stand up for what you believe in and deliver what’s really inside, it’s just not going to be there.”  -Herbie Hancock

To wonderful values and a culture that supports it,


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Dr. Michael Goldberg is one of the leading educators on dental practice management in the United States.

Michael ran and sold a prestigious group practice in Manhattan and has been on Faculty at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Medical Center for 30 years including Director of the GPR program and Director of the course on Practice Management.

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