Duty, earrings, and, yes, business advice

As I write this, snow has been covering the ground for more than two weeks now, and the temperature never seems to get above 20 degrees. It's a good time to sit by the fire with some hot mulled cider and a good book. But duty calls ...

As I write this, snow has been covering the ground for more than two weeks now, and the temperature never seems to get above 20 degrees. It's a good time to sit by the fire with some hot mulled cider and a good book. But duty calls ...

I firmly believe the responsibility for what dentists do in their offices rests with the practitioners themselves. But many folks in the political, academic, and insurance arenas - as well as journal editors - who are hiding behind evidence-based dentistry would have you believe otherwise. I would like to call your attention to a great series of articles by David Chambers. The series actually started last month and is titled, "The Outcome-Based Practice." Dr. Chambers is a professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry. This important 12-month series will offer some techniques that can help you.

I was in a store after Christmas with my wife. I was watching the lines of people returning and exchanging gifts. Most of the clerks seemed about as happy to be there as the customers in line.

I noticed that one clerk behind the counter smiled at everyone and kept her voice low and pleasant, even when irate customers spoke rudely to her. I was amazed at the way she kept her cool. Her line seemed to move faster than the others, and most of the customers walked away with a smile. As I got closer, I noticed the clerk's dark earrings. On one, in white lettering, was written, "IN" and on the other "OUT." Reminds me of the saying, "When life gives you lemons, figure out a way to make lemonade!"

Many great meetings are coming up this year. One of my favorites is the Hinman Dental Meeting in Atlanta. This year, they have an outstanding group of speakers presenting a terrific program. I am honored to be included in that prestigious group as a "featured clinician." Mark your calendar now for March 15-18 and plan to attend. The weather in Atlanta is delightful this time of year, and you will be treated to the Southern hospitality of the Hinman Society members. Y'all come and bring your entire team!

Stemming from research suggesting a link between advanced gum disease and preterm, low birth-weight deliveries, Butler GUMRegistered and the March of Dimes have entered into an exciting partnership to help inform expectant mothers about oral health's influence on total health and to raise money for the March of Dimes. The partnership will include coordinating a national T.A.G. Team (Teeth and Gums Team) of dental professionals for WalkAmericaRegistered in spring 2001. Sounds like an activity that we could all get involved in, and you can get more information at Butler's Web site (jbutler.com).

I find it interesting as I travel and talk to dentists that some do not believe that business advice can be translated to a dental practice. A book that really helped me was Stephen Covey's The 7 Principles of Highly Effective People.

It surprises me how few dentists have read this book. Here is some exciting advice that applies to our practices. As an example, you will succeed:

  • If you believe it can be done
  • If you are willing to work hard while being smart about it
  • If you are willing to surround yourself with great people who will challenge you every day (could this be your dental team?)
  • If you are willing to pay the price to learn the skills (continuing education?)
  • If you are willing to strive to do your best while recognizing that each day is an opportunity to learn.

Let me add one more - if you are willing to have some fun everyday.

Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor - e-mail: joeb@pennwell.com

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