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?

The Monday Morning Quote #494

“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.”

George Bernard Shaw.


The Monday Morning Quote #393

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke


Leprechaun economics and implants.

From RBS Chief Economist’s brief 18.July.2016

happy-st-patricks-day-concept-with-leprechauns-hat_QkqxCz_LLeprechaun economics? Ireland is globally renowned for its great works of fiction – from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. And last week’s GDP figures were viewed in this light when an unbelievable 26.3% y/y expansion for 2015 was revealed! The UK and Eurozone growth rates of 2.2% and 1.7% were Lilliputian in comparison. So what’s going on? The key story is that multinationals are distorting the figures through tax inversions and corporate relocations. In particular, the airline leasing industry moved its assets (planes) onto the Irish balance sheet for tax reasons. Nobel Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman dubbed the figures ”Leprechaun economics” due to their fantastical nature. So what is the reality? Consumer spending rose by 4.5% last year and accelerated to 5% y/y for Q1 2016. Not quite 26%, but still very impressive in the real world.

Irish Times letters here.

So why are so many Irish Dentists engaged in a race to the bottom by undercutting their competitors’ prices – especially in implantology? Instead of hanging around in the shallows with a net this summer why not swim into deeper waters where there are plenty of fish. The sea of high quality dentistry isn’t overfished by any means. There is plenty to be caught for those with the right skills, the right tools and patience. Price wars benefit no-one in the long term.

Remember TQP – Time Quality & Price,

“Cheap Premium” is an oxymoron.

NX_logo_dolphin fish_boat_FIN


50 years ago….

A piece of my childhood disappeared…

Every summer my mother, my brother and I went to Dublin to stay with my mother’s parents. We flew from Rhoose airport with Aer Lingus on one of their Focker Friendships. Then, like now, the flight used to take just under an hour though air travel was far less than the routine that is has become.

1038103758_031a216610Amongst the highlights of the stay in Drumcondra. a suburb a couple of miles to the north of the Capital were a trip to the zoo in Phoenix Park or a chance to climb the 168 steps of Nelson’s Pillar in O’Connell Street. The view of the city centre and the countryside beyond from the wire cage at the top was spectacular.

In 1966 everything changed. Nelson and his plinth had survived unscathed during the fighting and bombardment of the adjacent 3756743_origGPO during the Easter Rising nearly a century ago; but on this day, March 8th, an IRA off shoot placed a bomb on the pillar which detonated just after 1.30 in the morning. The charge destroyed Nelson’s statue and most of the pillar, the army finished the job a week later.

So there would be no more 3d climbs to the top.

In fact there were to be no more trips to my grandparents as both of them passed away that year.

The start of the end of my childhood.

The reason I didn’t get to the UK this week – not one for nervous fliers.

If you don’t like flying – particularly in “smaller”aeroplanes – then perhaps you should look away now. No flights on Tuesday meant a knock-on and no seats available on Wednesday, so postponements and apologies all round. This was filmed on Wednesday when the gales had largely abated – or so it seemed.

Wonderful moment at 40 seconds when the ground comes into view.

The Monday Morning Quote #299

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.

The people who get on in this world are the people who look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

George Bernard Shaw in Mrs Warren’s Profession


Working on a Dream the LAST ezine from Dental Business Partners

Sent to subscribers on September 26th 2014

Hello and welcome to a slightly different ezine. A special welcome to the new subscribers, especially those I met at the presentations that Siobhan Kelleher & I did at the offices of Henry Schein in Dublin and Cork. Congratulations to HS on their 20th anniversary in Ireland, marked by a great party at Identex. Welcome also to the people I met at Identex last weekend, this event is growing from year on year and well done to the IDTA and IDA for making it happen.

September has always felt like a month of re-starts and I have my 20 formative years living by an academic calendar to thank. This is the month of returning students; the Rees household is no exception and yesterday morning we rose at ungodly o’clock to get the son to Cork airport for his journey to Cardiff. He’ll be starting his fourth and final year at University in the Welsh capital. In 9 months, hopefully, he will graduate as a Master of Physics.

This got me thinking on the nature of masters and mastery and what it takes to become a true master of anything, rather than a degree title. Common acceptance from K. Anders Ericsson’s work and explained by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, would have us believe that to master any skill, be it guitar, golf or endodontics, takes 10,000 hours of practice. That may seem daunting to the young dentists and final year dental students I met at the Dentinal Tubules partners’ meeting recently, who were delightful and stimulating company, but at least they have a skill that will be in demand (they hope) whilst they are learning mastery. Compare that with a budding guitarist who will have to practice in isolation until they have the confidence to face the public. Neither Eric Clapton nor Rory McIlroy dropped fully formed from the trees.

Mare daunting to the fledgling dentists is the fact that for many cases they may never become masters of particular skills; in the same way that for every Clapton, McIlroy or Carter there are thousands who have put in the hours but don’t have the basic wiring or natural skill. So whilst dedication and hard work will take you so far it will not take you further.

Do you settle for life as a journeyman or do you constantly keep climbing the artist’s mountain improving and enhancing your skills? You would think the latter must be the case, however judging from the numbers of dentists who appear to do the bare minimum of CPD and early on settle for a life in the comfort zone it isn’t the case. In the UK this is often blamed on the emphasis on core topics laid down by the GDC so that other interesting and stimulating courses aren’t considered.

In my case I had the clinical skills in many directions, a successful practice and a good income but I stopped enjoying the practice of clinical dentistry which led to my seeking a new direction nine years ago.

I have never regretted the decision although it has led to some introspective moments, the most recent of these was stimulated by a chance remark by Sheila Scott to whom I owe thanks for her catalytic qualities. This will the last edition of the Ezine in its current format as Dental Business Partners is about to undergo a metamorphosis in time for Dental Showcase. In edition to Sheila I have to thank Chris Baker from Corona, Louise Rowlatt from Pen-Pal design and John Moore Photography for their inspiration and toleration of my procrastination.

So what’s coming up? Clarity about who I am and what I do. I’m fed up of hiding my lamp under a bushel and being apologetic about my skills. My clients benefit from those skills and experience of a career in dentistry and nearly a decade of professional coaching; they seem happy about it, why shouldn’t more experience the same?

So at the moment I’m Working on a Dream; which clunky link brings me slipping and sliding to wish Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen a belated happy birthday, his 65th. Little did I know when I borrowed his debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ, from the students’ union record library to record it on my Akai 4000D reel-to-reel tape deck that our relationship would still be going strong 41 years later. We have made several similar mistakes over the years (contractual, marital and hair) but have come through all the stronger for it.

Finally, I made a reprise to DJing a couple of weeks ago at a friend’s 60th birthday party – what was intimidating was that it was also her daughter’s 30th celebrations. Would I be able to span the eras? Could I still get the feel of a crowd? Would I suffer the ignominy of clearing a dance floor? The answer, it was a success and we had a great night. I had one more chance and I could make those people dance. I may not have Springsteen’s stamina but I still put on a good show! Using software on a laptop and mp3s is a whole lot easier than humping twin decks, boxes of vinyl and speaker cabinets around too.

That’s it, I’ll be back in just under a fortnight, if you’re going to Dental Showcase drop me an email and let’s arrange to meet up for a cup of something and a chat.

To your success and happiness.

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