INTEGRITY. TEAMWORK. EXCELLENCE. CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE. PROGRESSION.
These are the values of O’Brien Dental Lab.
At O’Brien, the leadership team lives these values. These values are not mere words – these values are alive at O’Brien. These values are evident in the actions and interactions that the leadership team extends to its customers, to each other, and to their team.
In 2018, O’Brien Dental Lab, specializing in restorations and custom implants, brought 16 of their leaders to work with Terri Houde, corporate trainer for Extended Learning. Their goal was to create a two-day, customized leadership retreat focused on Servant Leadership.
“It was a great team building experience, forcing us to get out of our comfort zone and be totally honest with each other,” said participant Lee Montgomery.
Before training began, Terri emphasized the importance in understanding that Servant Leadership is more than a philosophy – it is a practice. And that practice of a leader, she said, develops the culture of an organization.
In the training, participants focused on exploring the role of a leader, the power of being authentic, and the path to building a Servant Leadership culture. Participant Tony Megale summarized his experience after reflecting on their time with Terri.
“The question you have to ask your heart is: Are you here to serve or be served?” Tony said.
Everything from productivity, communication, and collaboration can be improved by Servant Leadership principles because a servant leader’s first practice is always to serve.
Karli Luksch, Senior Team Leader at O’Brien, has seen more efficiency company-wide since their retreat with Terri. Among other things, she has noticed its positive impact on the manner in which they serve their customers.
“We are able to discuss issues within the frameworks we learned and come up with solutions faster for various situations that come up on a daily basis,” she said. “It was valuable to have a cohesive message and philosophy articulated to the group and to work through the exercises that helped grow us individually and as a team.”
Terri’s focus during the facilitation helped lead O’Brien participants to their own conclusions of who they are and how they will be.
“Servant Leadership is a way of being,” Karli said. “You have to believe it on a personal and internal level. It is a mindset that requires continual growth and challenging yourself to be in a constant state of getting better. I do more, to get more, so I can give more.”
With her knowledge and passion for teaching, Terri inspired another participant, Mike Wilson, with her willingness to be vulnerable with the group as they explored their own selves.
“She created an atmosphere where team members felt empowered to share their thoughts and concerns with respect to what our company's challenges are and how we can improve.”
Since Terri’s training with O’Brien, the team is still putting the tools learned to use and building upon those tools for continued improvement on a holistic level.
*This content was written for Linn-Benton Community College Extended Learning.