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How to Get Clear

January 28, 2013

Starts with Vision

In my long career in dentistry I notice one trait that dentists seem to have.  They seem to get in there are “do” things.  Most of the time they acquire the knowledge and then they “do.”  It’s not only dentists.  Bookstores are filled with titles that fall into the “how to” category.  The self-help genre sells millions of titles promising people how to do anything.  We all want to achieve…it comes with our software.  So we believe that the key skills for success are knowing and doing.

I would like to add one more key skill to the mix.  Maybe the most important skill of all, the one that every leader must possess to be effective.

That skill is vision.  Seeing clearly where you are going, or the “where” you are taking your patient.

We have all heard it before—Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.”  He called it a habit, but it is really a skill. And it requires practice and developing a style.

Think about writing…even this blog post began with a vision.  There are two types of writers.  Those that just write by the seat of their pants and those that use outlines.  Some use “jot” outlines and others use a very elaborate outlining process.  But all three have some ideas where their writing is going.

And so it goes with treatment and life planning.

I recently read a quote from Dr. Peter Dawson,

“This is why I have such great disdain for the hurry up…exam.  Unfortunately, this is typical ‘usual and customary’ dentistry.  It is what most patients expect, but it certainly sets aside any competent dentist who goes beyond these expectations.”


A strong word, but I agree.  Why do dentists do a hurry up exam.  They just don’t take the time.  Most know what to do.  Most can do it.  But most don’t have a style or process of visualizing the future.  The real shame is they don’t take the time to clarify their future.

Everything starts with the examination process…a dental exam or a self exam, it doesn’t matter.  In order to find problems we must take the time, and then discover new places to go to.  Get as clear as possible.

I call the skill of vision, getting clear.

It may be the most worthwhile skill you develop.  It will turn you from a dentist to a leader.