“I wish someone told me” Ira Glass

My thanks to Will Rees for sharing this.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. 

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. 

But there is this gap. 

For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. 

It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. 

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. 

And your taste is why your work disappoints you. 

A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. 

Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. 

We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. 

We all go through this. 

And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. 

Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. 

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. 

And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. 

It’s gonna take awhile. 

It’s normal to take awhile. 

You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

The Monday Morning Quote #566

“Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.”

Jean de La Bruyère

Lessons Learned from the RNLI

I was at a meeting at our local RNLI station in Union Hall a few months ago. We were counting the cash from the annual fundraising collection in and around Skibbereen.

Whilst we were waiting to get started I was nosing around, as I do – curiosity being one of my core values, and came across these files on a shelf.

The RNLI exists because things go wrong on the sea or sea-shore. If everything went according to plan, if there were no storms, no tides, no human or mechanical errors, the volunteers who man the rescue boat would not have to routinely put their lives at risk.

Of course not everything goes smoothly during rescues or practicing sessions. So they have a file of what they have taken on board (excuse any pun) during any activities. I’m sure someone in Health Education England, the GDC, the CQC or any combination of “stakeholders” could have spent months with focus groups, working parties and in depth questionnaires to produce a paragraph length title for such a file.

In West Cork (and I’m sure throughout the RNLI) it is pragmatically called: “LESSONS LEARNED”.

Where is yours?

What makes some people more productive?

Time management in Dentistry continues to be a massive stumbling block to success especially when “speed” and “effectiveness” are confused, one leaves you knackered at the end of the day and not earning properly, the other brings rewards that you can appreciate.

We all have the same amount of minutes in an hour, hours in a day, days in a week etc. But some people clearly get more done than others. Often there is resentment from the “doing less” camp who say that the achievers cut more corners, don’t do things properly and so on but I find this is mostly sour grapes.

My experience of being in dental practices, operating theatres and offices is that the people who get most done are the ones who plan their days, roll their sleeves up and get on with it, start their day on time, who “eat the frog” as early in the day as possible and build in flexibility for when “stuff” happens.

Pozen and Downey found that the most productive people were good at:

  • overcoming procrastination
  • getting to the final product 
  • focussing on daily accomplishments &
  • delegating clearly and effectively

On the other hand those who scored lower:

  • did not plan their days in advance
  • were easily distracted by the avoidable 
  • did not have great routines &
  • (frequently) blamed others for their lack of productivity

If you want to have a good day you have to decide what a good day is and work backwards. Sadly too many people still let the tail wag the dog.

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

Not quite as easy as it looks is it?

Portsmouth

Colosseum Dental Press release via “Curious PR” 16th March 2018: LINK

“One of the pillars of Colosseum’s recipe for success in the UK will be embedding each practice as a “good neighbour” in its local community….each practice will retain its connection as an integral part of its community.”

454 days later

GDPUK report, 13th June 2019: LINK

“Portsmouth is once more in the news, with the closure of three dental practices leaving ‘thousands without access to NHS treatment’. Colosseum Dental Group, which is owned by an investment company based in Switzerland, is closing the practices next month…

According to a report in The Times, up to 20,000 residents of Portsmouth will be without a dentist when a chain of practices closes its doors next month. With no surgeries accepting adult NHS patients, the nearest practices are in Gosport, which is a ferry-ride away, or Havant, a half-hour drive away.”

Blackpool

Blackpool’s Centre for Dentistry to close by end of August due to ‘high costs’ LINK

“…We understand that travel to Preston may not be for everybody, but it’s just half an hour down the road.…”

….The company also plans to close its Cardiff surgery by the end of August, and merge its two London practices into one.

When I visited Sainsbury’s store in Cardiff a couple of days ago the practice was still promoting itself and its “deals”. There was no mention that there would be no continuity of the membership plan or that the closest SFD practice is nearly 40 miles away on the other side of the Severn Bridge.

At least the London practices are in the same city and both north of the river.

SFD’s spokesperson said, “The costs of staying in Blackpool are very high. The rates in Sainsbury’s are much more expensive than they would be on the high street.”

You have to wonder what their projections were like in the first place; we’re all optimistic when drawing up business plans – if we weren’t nobody would ever raise any finance at all.

This is just the tip of the iceberg with several larger groups or “corporates” clearly unable to make the figures work and therefore closing or off-loading practices over the past 2 – 3 years.

I take no joy in seeing this happen. I once had to close one of my practices due to pressure from the bank. At that time I didn’t have the strength, fortitude and experience that I have now. They (the bank) clearly had no understanding of the business of dentistry, the potential professional consequences and little patience with, or confidence in, their client. The fact that the businesses had already turned the corner meant nothing. 

The experience was hard but enables me to help my clients better these days. The worst thing was leaving some patients, who were unable to move to the other site, in the lurch.

Ultimately it is the patients that suffer, followed closely by any laid off team members and the reputation of the profession. In my case it could possibly have led to bankruptcy which would have left me permanently scarred. With corporates? Who knows?

One of the mantras for success is, “Same Place, Same Face”, when that trust goes so does the customer.

But that’s the market for you.

 

 

 

Mis-en-place. Do your prep work.

Mis-en-place is a French culinary term which means putting in place or everything in its place. It refers to the set up required before cooking, and is often used in professional kitchens to refer to organising and arranging the ingredients that a cook will require for the menu items that are expected to be prepared during a shift.

It transfers well to Dentistry (and many other fields), as a dentist I tried to ensure that my surgery was “closed down” for the night with everything ready to start the next morning. All instruments were autoclaved, notes, X-rays, letters and lab work were all to hand and had been checked. The paperwork from the day before was either completed or was in its rightful place.

It means that everyone knows what materials, instruments and other resources are required before starting a case; on of my clients tells me that his nurse must often leave the surgery because something else is needed. When the “something elses” are repeated day in, day out there is something going on. Time to learn about mis-en-place. Not to embrace this means that you will operate at the speed of the slowest team member – not a recipe (excuse the pun) for success.

The lead for this must come from the top, if you’re a mess your business will be a mess, if you get behind with paperwork, so will everyone else, if you roll in late and unprepared, then don’t be surprised if your team and colleagues do the same.

It means that if the first patient has an appointment at 8.00am you and your team are ready, poised and smiling at 7.55.

Anything else means you’re not taking things seriously.

 

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