Dr Adam Durning, The Dentists Case study

"I always looked from the inside out of what I thought the patient was looking for. Not anymore."

Being in the ‘teeth’ business needs someone with a thick skin. In 1993, I started my first practice and in 2005 Dr. Arjuna Rajasingham became my business partner. Three years ago, we bought our sixth practice. At the same time, we started to think about succession planning and getting help to ‘package it up’ for an easier sale sometime down the road.

Having the knowledge that our group could be taken from good to great we started keeping our eyes open for better solutions. Then, everything changed.

Value Delivered

  • An efficient strategic board
  • Resilient, structured, documented business structure and processes
  • People process to identify and recruit star employees
  • Customer centric strategy, brand identity and ongoing growth marketing activities



Dr. Adam Durning

Dentist - Co-Director
The Dentists


Dr Arjuna Rajasingham

Dentist - Co-Director
The Dentists

Strategy & Governance

Henrik Arlund

CEO, Partner, Advisor, Director


Ethan Dryden

Junior Marketer


Daniel Lee

Senior Digital Associate


Shannon Bayliss

Senior Creative Strategist

Business Clarity

Once we got our “Why, How, What” sorted, things got easier.

Once we understood that our weakness was looking from the inside out, we started taking a deep dive into understanding our customers and the patient’s journey. We uncovered invaluable insights. Leveraging this, customer centricity became the foundation for everything we do.

Translating our passions into words by clarifying our ‘Why, How, What’ has changed the way we run The Dentists. What followed was clear direction and re-positioning that solidified and aligned our values across our whole group.

Over the next three years we, The Dentists and BlueOcean, successfully worked together on the business while working in the business. Now I’m not so sure just selling the whole thing is what we want.

Structure & Processes

That alone has been hugely powerful and successful in the relationship with my team and getting the most we can out of the team.

Heading up a dental group across the Central North Island is challenging. I fully admit - we had no real organisational structure and were lacking intra- and inter- practice communications. A document could easily have 10 versions with every practice using a different one. Under the direction of Henrik and the team at BlueOcean, we have changed all our processes, implemented new cloud systems, and created organisational charts for each practice to support better efficiencies and leadership.

Today, all of The Dentists’ processes and procedures are about customer centricity; making sure the patients’ holistic mouth health and wellbeing is at the forefront of our minds. Each practice is now able to work efficiently with the others.

Another major change we have made over the years is to create a board of directors; we meet often, almost every week. The meeting has a pre-set format and defined goals. Henrik is a big part of this. Knowing he doesn’t just sit on our board but also on other businesses’ boards provides huge value. At the end of the day many of our challenges are the same. We all have staff, clients and suppliers.

Team Empowerment

Our journey is never ending.

We had big discrepancies in our people's approach to patients, attitude and ethos. We had very dominant players with big influence but they struggled, because they could only reach people in their direct vicinity, and therefore could never make lasting change. It really was an ongoing battle that took energy and dedication, but it never moved the whole organisation.

Developing our organisation, based on the already existing beliefs and purpose within the business has given every single person, within The Dentists, a clear direction. The people within the organisation now have the ability to make decisions and judgment calls that are right for our patients and the group. They feel capable and confident making those decisions and know there is no retribution so long as the patient's oral health was put first. It has meant that nine times out of ten, they make the right call, and the one time they didn't, they made the call based on the right values.

Because of the support of BlueOcean, our people come to work feeling supported, and fulfilled. We, as owners, always had the right ethos and values, but now these are weaved into every single job description, document, process and procedure, enabling our team to achieve better oral health for life for our patients.

Sales Performance

Thinking about where we were and where we could go… I couldn’t get there by myself.

Even though we had the right values, we didn't quite understand the patient's journey. 

Really identifying how a patient goes from entering the practice to leaving after they have had their treatment plan completed, is providing huge value to the patient and to us. Really focusing on the best outcome for the patent means that greater value is delivered to them and to the organisation.

With the help of BlueOcean, the focal point of a patient's journey has become what we call 'the diag'. A face-to-face meeting between the dentist and the patient where we discuss their oral health journey and equip them with the tools to make the right choices for them. This leaves the patient in control of their own health and gives them understanding and guidance on what the best options are for them. For us, it builds long term relationships with our patients.

The Team

We have enjoyed the journey of doing better business, together.

I don’t see BlueOcean as just a consulting firm, or a marketing firm, or an advertising firm. I feel they are an integral part of our business into the future. I can’t, at this stage, see a way of doing it without BlueOcean being there. It is clear to us that we have evolved and we have enjoyed the journey of doing better business, together. BlueOcean is so ingrained into our organisation that I actually couldn’t imagine coming to work or working without them. 

BlueOcean has helped us to build an overall more successful business model. Our practices are now consistently aligned and function as a united collaboration of brilliant minds creating better outcomes for each other and our patients. Our organisation now breeds success for everyone involved

Dr Adam Durning, Founder and Co-Director.



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