Leading your practice to a successful new year

Happy New Year! As I write this, it is early December, and the weather has turned bitterly cold here in St. Louis.

Happy New Year! As I write this, it is early December, and the weather has turned bitterly cold here in St. Louis. I have just returned from the Greater New York Dental Meeting, which seemed to be very successful judging from the crowds in the classrooms and walking the aisles of the exhibit floor. The dental companies that I spoke with were very excited with the sales that they had on Sunday, and were looking forward to the rest of the week.

This meeting outdraws all other dental meetings, and most of that is because of the great work of the full-time executive director, Dr. Robert Edwab. I see him at every dental meeting presenting his highly successful hands-on tooth extraction workshop, walking the exhibit floor, or manning a booth for the New York meeting. He travels the world extensively to promote dentistry, the United States of America, and the Greater New York Dental Meeting. Thanks, Robert, for all you do!

Another year is history. I hope that it was a good one for you. I have talked to many dentists throughout the country, and the news has been both good and bad with little or no consistency at all. When I see signs of buying at a dental meeting, I get encouraged, but when I see that unemployment figures went up again (9.8%), I get discouraged. In St. Louis, that unemployment number is closer to 18%! Traditionally, dentistry is one of the last businesses affected by recession, but it is also one of the last groups to come out of a recession. This is a good time to think about goal-setting again!

One of my dental "bibles" over the years has been Stephen Covey’s groundbreaking book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." This book is as true today as it was when it was written more than 20 years ago. Its message helped me to build a highly effective dental practice.

The seven habits Covey discusses in his book are:

  1. Be Proactive; the principles of Personal Vision
  2. Begin with the End in Mind; the principles of Personal Leadership
  3. Put First Things First; the principles of Personal Management
  4. Think Win/Win; the principles of Interpersonal Leadership
  5. Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood; the principles of Empathetic Communication
  6. Synergize; the principles of Creative Cooperation
  7. Sharpen the Saw; the principles of Balanced Self-Renewal

If you haven’t read Covey’s book, put it at the top of your reading list. It’s an incredible book!

As we start this new year, I hope we can set a goal of opening the lines of communication between dentists and the dental team. We should strive to do this on all levels of our dental world. I have never been involved in the politics of dentistry other than to serve on many committees. But I would hope that our dental leaders would foster this improved communication between all members of our dental teams rather than promoting the use of "dental therapists."

A good friend of mine and a great leader, Dr. Johnny Savage, sent me a wonderful piece that I would like to quote here. This is "Johnny’s Creed":

"This moment is the only opportunity you and I have to make our lives and this world around us better. We must understand that our every thought and action affects us and everyone around us.

"To observe our thoughts and actions and be aware of the effect they have on us and others gives us insight to a more fulfilled life and spiritual growth. Awareness of what we do and what we need to do is not enough unless it translates into improved action. To have love, compassion, and responsibility for ourselves and others, we must first become these things.

"The best goal I can achieve for myself, my family, my friends, and this world is to manage my own life well. This is difficult and responsible work, so I ask God’s help in guiding me to a life of observation, awareness, change, and growth. What a wonderful world and a paradise this could be if we all live with love. Help this miracle to be!"

I must thank you, Johnny, for giving us these wonderful words of encouragement and direction for our life’s work.

Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor – e-mail: joeb@pennwell.com
Toll-free phone number: (866) 274-4500

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