Make yourself available. I have made contacts with leaders both in my industry and outside of my industry by answering a call, responding to an anonymous email and just making myself available whether I had the time or not. This has led to friendships, business relationships and amazing advice from other leaders.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Steven Davidowitz. He grew up in Brooklyn, NY with two caring parents along with his older sister. His father practiced cosmetic dentistry a few blocks away from their home. His sister, Renee, went on to receive her Masters in Dental Hygiene. He followed the path, after completing his pre-med curriculum at Baruch College. He pursued his personal passion to help others with health, beauty and confidence along with his love of technology by completing his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at NYU College of dentistry. Subsequently, he created Luxury Dentistry NYC in 2010 — a high-end Cosmetic Dentistry boutique practice on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. His goal was to create a dental office that never stops innovating and advancing in treatment modalities and services for preventative, restorative, and oral beauty. In 2018 he created and co-founded MOD Mouth — a revolutionary approach to oral beauty with both in-store and eCommerce experiences.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you briefly share with our readers why you are an authority about the topic of thought leadership?
I continuously use my professional experiences, my passion for innovation along with the implementation of new ideas to aid and advance the ceiling of my dental profession. For this, I believe, my patients, colleagues, and business owners trust and value my opinion.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Shortly after starting my dental practice, just out of dental school, I attended a large dental conference. Around the table were titans of the profession from large multiple practice owners, CEOs of large dental corporations and the Elite of NYC cosmetic dentists who have been around for quite a while and who have built up reputable reputations. As the conversation turned toward me, I was amazed at how my words and ideas I expressed were being listened to in a thirsty and quenching manner. A few days later, I received calls from some of those sitting around the table to continue the conversation on my ideas on the future of the business of dentistry and its technology.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
During my first weeks after developing, building out and opening Luxury Dentistry NYC, I was walking up to the front area eagerly to greet a new patient. I introduced myself and asked if the gentleman brought his daughter in with him to the office that day. He looks up at me and says “it is a pleasure to meet you Dr. Davidowitz, let me introduce you to my wife…” A great lesson was learned at that moment, I learned to slow down, let my thoughts be clearly distributed prior to allowing words and sentences to exit. No matter the excitement or the energy, the opportunity to slow down and evaluate your thoughts and words will always be there and learning that ideas and spoken words will only be truly heard when they are well thought out and delivered deliberately and purposefully. This lesson has helped me on so many levels of my personal, business life and public speaking engagements.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define what a ‘Thought Leader’ is. How is a thought leader different from a typical leader?
A leader uses his current knowledge to organize and delegate responsibilities. A thought leader, in my opinion, uses their knowledge and skills to push the envelope of what currently ‘is’ and creates new heights to drive innovation to what ‘will be.’ A thought leader is many times referenced in publications and articles regarding new products and services that impact their specific industry outside of their own business. An influencer, on the other hand, may be known for their collective previous work and they then try to use that celebrity to influence others on ideas and products out of their field of work.
Can you talk to our readers a bit about the benefits of becoming a thought leader. Why do you think it is worthwhile to invest resources and energy into this?
A thought leader is often respected and followed. Their name and profile become associated with their genre and field. There are many reasons why it is worthwhile to invest resources and energy into thought leadership. First, it helps with awareness and momentum for the thought leaders’ existing businesses. That correlates to a positive impact on revenue and helps attract new business opportunities. In addition, I believe complacency stalls a person and his or her business in performance and growth. Complacency diffuses into one’s self-worth, purpose and overall happiness. Being a thought leader and having a strong ethic to keep innovating, learning, and sharing ideas is directly correlated to the consistent growth in business, purpose and personal happiness.
Let’s talk about business opportunities specifically. Can you share a few examples of how thought leadership can help a business grow or create lucrative opportunities?
Effective thought leaders are superstars of their niche, the go-to person others look to for advice and insight. They are a reliable source. This not only accelerates your core business but can create more worthy connections, along with invitations for speaking events. Some speaking engagements or endorsements can be quite lucrative, as companies know it is a worthy investment for when the thought leader speaks, others sit up and take notice.
Ok. Now that we have that behind us, we’d love to hear your thoughts about how to eventually become a thought leader. Can you share 5 strategies that a person should implement to become known as a thought leader in their industry. Please tell us a story or example (ideally from your own experience) for each.
1) Keep your “bread and butter” in top shape. With multiple projects going on at once: my core business, my startups, my speaking engagements and lectures, my articles, books and publications; I must always go back to my core business and be sure it is excelling and outperforming previous years. By being thought of as a leader in dentistry I need to have my private practice in order, profitable and always innovating.
2) Share your expertise. I have found it invaluable to write and publish articles, blogs and author books. I am, as well, on the medical review board for cosmetic dental content on RealSelf.com and participate in public and online speaking events for companies. This allows me to constantly redevelop my thoughts, share my ideas and continue to build a personal brand as an expert in the dental field.
3) Make yourself available. I have made contacts with leaders both in my industry and outside of my industry by answering a call, responding to an anonymous email and just making myself available whether I had the time or not. This has led to friendships, business relationships and amazing advice from other leaders.
4) Surround yourself with a good team. Use those connections, create a Rolodex, and enlist the help of a smart support team to surround you and your businesses.
5) Always remember your family. One constant in my life is my family. Days get filled with work and leadership. Many times this extends into the late evenings as well. It is so important to take a step back and remember our purpose is to love and support our family and to be available to be loved back.
In your opinion, who is an example of someone who has done a fantastic job as a thought leader? Which specific things have impressed you about that person? What lessons can we learn from this person’s approach?
I have always been fascinated by Steve Jobs. If the term “thought leader” was looked up in a dictionary there should be a photo of Steve Jobs as a description. As a business grows, delegating tasks to others becomes an increasing pathway. With so many responsibilities, asking and delegating the help of others to take some responsibility is the normal approach. Steve, however, did not see delegation as his first option. Lesson learned: Delegation is sometimes necessary, but you have a job to do. Put in as much work as you personally can before dividing responsibilities onto other people. And use the best when delegation is needed.
I have seen some discussion that the term “thought leader” is trite, overused, and should be avoided. What is your feeling about this?
I believe the term “thought leader” is an emotion felt by those looking at an individual whom they respect and want to learn with and from, rather than a title of said individual. Titles give definition to a person’s position. A thought leader’s position should never be a “thought leader” but what they have accomplished with their actual position and title. Every entrepreneur should make every effort to be felt as a thought leader!
What advice would you give to other leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?
As I mentioned earlier, it is so important to take a step back and remember our purpose is to love and support our family and to be available to be loved back. I respect leaders who honor family and friendships. A leader needs to be a hard worker but he or she needs to find time for family and loved ones. And they must love themselves as well to stay healthy in mind, soul and body.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂 I am a true believer in The Power of a Smile and the effect of it changing your life. My second book will be launched 2021 and I will discuss the importance of changing your smile and the difference it makes.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Oprah Winfrey: “Don’t worry about being successful but work toward being significant and the success will naturally follow.” I truly believe being successful is not a goal but rather the outcome of hard work, proper utilization of your skill and going outside of your comfort box. Become significant in your field and success will follow.
How can our readers follow you online?
Facebook & IG: @luxurydentistrynyc