The happy juggler

April 1, 2003
As a faculty member of The Pankey Institute, I have seen thousands of personality-preference profiles recorded by participants in our Continuum.

Richard A. Green, DDS, MBA

As a faculty member of The Pankey Institute, I have seen thousands of personality-preference profiles recorded by participants in our Continuum. I've observed that most of these dentists have a TJ personality. Those of you familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator know that "T" represents Jung's thinking type of people who tend to respond positively to words such as objective, principles, policy, laws. and criteria. They also tend to make decisions based less on emotion than "F" or feeling-type people. You also know that "J" represents Jung's judging type of people who tend to feel a sense of urgency until a pending decision is made; then they feel at rest. J people tend to establish deadlines and take them seriously.

The TJ dentist often expresses the desire to know the top 10 things that should be done to be successful or the answer to a question. If the comment, "It depends," raises the hair on the back of your neck, then you may be a TJ dentist.

A way to uncover the strength of your J personality is to ask yourself, "What is my ambiguity tolerance?" Can you give yourself time to discover your own answer? To the extent that you can do this, you have a measure of ambiguity tolerance.

When presented with multiple topics to learn or activities to perform, a TJ will ask, "Which is first?" The answer comes, "It depends." The TJ then asks, "It depends on what?" Dr. L.D. Pankey would say, "It depends on your circumstances, your objectives, and your temperament."

Without some measure of ambiguity tolerance, you are apt to shout out or expect a quick answer. Yet stepping back to observe your situation and understand yourself is a requisite for addressing issues effectively. Sometimes, you have to reflect and wait for the right approach to come into focus.

Dental professionals often present items to be addressed in either numbered-list form or as a pyramid that implies a hierarchy to its components. Such an image doesn't invite you to ponder "it depends" and think about your own circumstances. Instead of a list or pyramid, imagine yourself as an accomplished juggler. This image carries with it a sense of balance. Visualize the objects in the air as the same size and shape. They move around as the juggler catches and throws them, first one, then another, until the first object is tossed again.

Now think of each object as a component of your practice. These components might include, but are not limited to, a philosophy of practice, time-management issues, technical development, communication skills, organizational systems, financial tracking, and an intentional plan for staff development, marketing, and hospitality. If you were to focus too long on one component, you wouldn't be able to catch and toss the others. You would be quickly out of balance.

The trick is to develop in all areas without focusing too long or hard on any one. Your task, like the juggler, is to catch each component, decide on the next step to get it back in the air, and then catch the next component descending as its last step is completed. Your ability to balance multiple components will improve a step at a time. If you drop a component, reach down, pick it u , and start tossing all over again.

Begin this effort by listing components of your practice to develop and improve. Then, take small steps to advance every component. The idea is to become more and more scrupulous and competent in your primary objective to serve your patient's best interest. Doing so will have a significant impact on your happiness and success.

Happy juggling!

Richard A. Green, DDS, FAGD, MBA, is the director of business-systems development for The Pankey Institute, and is responsible for developing the business systems and financial-management portion of the Institute's curriculum. You may reach Dr. Green at (305) 428-5547 or email him at [email protected].

Sponsored Recommendations

Clinical Study: OraCare Reduced Probing Depths 4450% Better than Brushing Alone

Good oral hygiene is essential to preserving gum health. In this study the improvements seen were statistically superior at reducing pocket depth than brushing alone (control ...

Clincial Study: OraCare Proven to Improve Gingival Health by 604% in just a 6 Week Period

A new clinical study reveals how OraCare showed improvement in the whole mouth as bleeding, plaque reduction, interproximal sites, and probing depths were all evaluated. All areas...

Chlorine Dioxide Efficacy Against Pathogens and How it Compares to Chlorhexidine

Explore our library of studies to learn about the historical application of chlorine dioxide, efficacy against pathogens, how it compares to chlorhexidine and more.

Enhancing Your Practice Growth with Chairside Milling

When practice growth and predictability matter...Get more output with less input discover chairside milling.