Just say no….

It’s easy isn’t it?

To say “No”.

Really?

I would love to say that having been close to and through burnout on a few occasion as both an employed dentist, a practice owner and (even) as a coach – yeah, yeah I know, I should know better – saying “no” is still one of the hardest things to do.

You want, and think you need, the business, the popularity, the money.

You don’t want to turn someone away, to use a negative word, to let them down.

What if this is the last person who asks you?

What if this leads to a hugely successful opening or opportunity?

What will they think of you when you turn them down?

We all know that we are all trying to achieve too much, demands on the only thing that everyone has (time) are growing, last week I visited Practice Owner and mother of three sorry, Mother of three and Practice Owner, Lauren Harrhy and marvelled at her composure and balance as she seeks to carry on her good work and become a BDA rep. 

Tony Barton from Red Kite World who was one of my teachers during my Coach Training sent me a link this morning. It features Greg McKeown and his book “Essentialism – The disciplined pursuit of less”.

I own this book but haven’t read it – yet.

Why? Because I haven’t found the time.

Why? Because I keep saying yes to other things.

Take a look at Greg speaking

Holiday Reading

A few titles that you may fancy for the departure lounge or sun bed.

  • “This is Going to Hurt : Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor” by Adam Kay. More HERE.

Very few books make me laugh and cry on the same page. If you’re finding your job challenging this may give you some perspective – or make you find a new career.

  • “The Path : A New Way to Think About Everything” by Professor Michael Puett. More HERE

A book on ancient Chinese philosophy by a Harvard Professor may not sound like everyone’s taste but a holiday is often a good time for reflection. This is very readable and provocative.

  • Stand out of our light : Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy” by James William. More HERE

You will never see your mobile device n the same way again. Who controls your attention?

  • “Shoot for the moon : Achieve the Impossible with the Apollo Mindset” by Richard Wiseman. More HERE

Challenged in getting things achieved in your life? Try Wiseman’s advice and adopt the approach of the teams that put men on the moon – and brought them back – half a century ago.

  • “The Self-Worth Safari : Valuing Your Life and Work” by John Niland. More HERE

There is a crisis of confidence in many dentists, John Niland’s book makes a timely read for anyone having second thoughts and doubts about what they are doing with their professional life.

  • “Setting the Table : The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business” by Dany Meyer. More HERE

A book that I wish I had read before I started my first and second practices but will inspire you to improve everything you do for your patients, customers or clients.

  • “Laidlaw. The Papers of Tony Veitch. Strange Loyalties” by William McIlvanney. More HERE, HERE, & HERE

To call McIlvanney’s trilogy featuring Glasgow police inspector Jack Laidlaw “gritty” does grit a disservice. Stories of human behaviour, both bad and good, but mostly bad, with thoroughly believable characters. As Ian Rankin said, “Without Laidlaw there would have been no Rebus”. Tartan Noir started here.

 

 

 

The 5 A’s For Addressing Mistakes

Mistakes are going to happen in any and every business or organisation. It’s how you deal with them that counts.

In his invaluable book “Setting The Table“, Danny Meyer says, “The Road to Success Is Paved with Mistakes Well Handled”

He suggests there are “Five A’s for Effectively Addressing Mistakes”

  • Awareness. If you’re not aware – you’re nowhere.

  • Acknowledgement. Say how you are going to sort it out immediately.

  • Apology. Say that you are sorry – and mean it. Alibis are no use, nor are excuses.

  • Action. Say what you will do to make amends.

  • Additional generosity. Go above and beyond what the patient expects.

The Weekend Read – Stand out of our light by James Williams

Full Title: “Stand out of our light : Freedom and resistance in the attention economy.”

This relatively short, but very important, book takes a good, hard look at “The Attention Economy” and the insidious effect it is having on our lives. The author, winner of the intriguingly named Nine Dots Prize, worked at Google as a strategist for a decade where he received the Founders’ Award – the company’s highest honour – for his work on advertising products and tools. More  recently he has studied at Balliol College, and the Oxford Internet Institute. His research topics are the philosophy and ethics of attention and persuasion as they relate to technology design.

He argues that, “attention is the fuel of our lives but we are living through a crisis as our attention is reduced by technology that we have allowed to dominate our lives. His writing pleads for society and the tech industry to ensure the technology we all carry with us every day does not distract us from pursuing our true goals in life.”

As information becomes ever more plentiful, the resource that is becoming more scarce is our attention. We have moved from a time where we marvelled at and enjoyed the novelty of instant communication to where we are now. The advertising and marketing industries sees us all as fair game and will do whatever they can to sell us anything and everything, behaving as if it their right, not ours, to choose what we see and when we see it. As Williams says, “…digital technology does not act as an honest GPS, but instead entices you along paths that make your journey longer. All in the name of capturing your attention, such that you are deflected from your intentions.”

The author’s philosophical yet practical approach to the subject is worth a read and will encourage you to examine the way that you spend your seconds, minutes, hours and days.

Thanks to reestheskin for the birthday present.

Available HERE.

 

 

If you’re in Dublin on March 2nd

My maternal grandparents would be proud of me being selected for Croke Park. I’ll not be gracing the hallowed turf with my prowess with sliotar and hurley. Instead I’ll be up on level 5 in the Hogan suite on the 5th Floor with a Taster session of “The 101 Things They Didn’t Teach You At Dental School”.

Professionals come in two varieties…

“But there are two basic kinds of professional, Harkness saw in a moment of self-congratulatory illumination. There’s the professionalism that does something well enough to earn a living from it. And there’s the professionalism that creates a commitment so intense that the earning of a living happens by the way. Its dynamic isn’t wages but the determination to do something as well as it can be done.

Laidlaw was the second type of professional. Harkness realised it was a very uncomfortable thing to be because, in their work, ‘well’ involved not just results but the morality by which you arrived at them. He thought of Laidlaw’s capacity to bring constant doubt to what he was doing and still try to do it. The pressure must be severe.”

From “Laidlaw” by William McIlvanney

Herb Kelleher – Cheap can be cheerful

Herb Kelleher was the co-founder of Southwest Airlines, he died earlier this month. He had many attributes that I admire, not least of which was introducing a culture to the company where Southwest’s employees took themselves lightly but their jobs seriously.

 

Kelleher had a simple philosophy, “A motivated employee treats the customer well. The customer is happy, so they keep coming back. It’s not one of the enduring mysteries of all time; it is just the way it works.”

An article in the FT Michael Skapinker which celebrated Herb, contrasted his outlook with a recent email from a disappointed British Airways passenger. Skapinker concluded with this statement, “few people come to work intending to be unhelpful. If they are horrible, it is usually because their bosses are horrible to them, or they prioritise sticking to the rules, or cutting costs, over keeping customers happy.”

In 1987 Michael O’Leary (of RyanAir) visited Southwest Airlines and Herb Kelleher to learn about the airline industry. Although there were plans for them to meet again, O’Leary never went back to complete his tuition.

Read more about Southwest’s business model here.

 

 

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