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Part 2 Management Tip #26

Identify TAO of Dentistry Patients

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Tip 26: Identify TAO of Dentistry Patients

The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.
- Anthony Robbins

God first appeared on the scene of human history in the role of a matchmaker. What a profound and exciting revelation!
- Derek Prince

Thomas Carlyle called economics the dismal science. Most of us think of economics in terms of finances and money, but in reality, the founders of our capitalistic economy were more interested in culture, society and human relationships when they first wrote about capitalism. Years before Adam Smith wrote his seminal Wealth of Nations, he wrote a book titled Theory of Moral Sentiment. This earlier book was about how to live the good life, how to live together in social cooperation. It is the book that capitalism was built on. Essentially it proves out what I said before: other people matter. Economics is about matchmaking, matching who you are and what you bring to the marketplace with people who are looking for just that. It's as simple and complex as that.

Complex? Yes, because in Smith's free market, the matchmaking would be done with what he termed "the invisible hand." But in today's version of capitalism there are forces that interfere with the matchmaking process. The result can sometimes lead to commoditization and mismatches. That is why identifying our best matches is so important. In Part I, I wrote about selfmanagement and getting to know ourselves. Two of the most important questions a dentist can ask himself or herself are, "Who are you, and what do you want?" Once answered, we can now go about finding our matches. The examination goes a long way in helping us to find our "fit."

Some years ago I started my blog, TAOofDentistry.com. I may have chosen a shorter more memorable title but the letters TAO mean a lot to me. Those letters have a double meaning. The TAO in eastern philosophy means "the way" or the "path." For me TAO has meant a way of finding my matches by identifying patients through their values:

T = Trust. Trust is the engine of any economy, whether on a global scale or in any transaction. Without trust the center cannot hold. Before I work with most patients I do my best to establish mutual trust.

A = Appreciation. I want to make sure that there is a proper amount of respect, appreciation and gratitude for what I do. The higher the level of commoditization the lower the appreciation levels. This is not a hard and fast rule, but it has guided my general feeling about working with third parties. And, it's not only about the work. It's about how people treat other people with respect.

O = Ownership. Some people, patients and dentists, have a problem with responsibility. I believe, "If it's to be, it's up to me." I need that level of cooperation with the people I work with. Patients who fail to take care of their teeth generally do not become long term patients.

My days now are filled with some of the most wonderful people in the world. My hygienist, Michele, who has been with me for over thirty years is fond of saying, "Another beautiful smile…what a great patient." The patient then says…"That's because I had such great people taking care of me." A match made in heaven.

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