I’ve said it many times before in articles and during talks with groups of fellow orthodontists – self assessment is hard! We all think we know who we are, what our strengths are, what we struggle with… and if you are getting the results you want then you very well may have a good handle on things. However, it’s much more common to see folks complaining about their lack of results while believing that they are doing everything right. This idea that external forces are to blame for our less than stellar performance in any given area is very human but we orthodontists have refined and elevated this victim mindset to an art form. It’s the economy, it’s the patients, it’s the competition, it’s the PCDs… whatever! Over the last couple weeks I’ve run a few polls in Ortho101. I’ll spend some time and the next couple blog posts looking at the results and seeing what we can learn from the way our fellow orthodontists answered. Thanks to all of you who played along and thanks to all of you who will hash this out in what I hope will be a spirited debate. Here goes:

The first poll asked what was the most important thing to possess to have a successful practice. Respondents were not allowed to add answers or to choose more than one. The overwhelming choice was “Interpersonal skills and likability”. Click the photo to enlarge.

interpersonal skills for success

To follow up, this next poll asked how to assess one’s “Interpersonal skills and likability”. There was a much lower response rate for this poll (which says something in and of itself) and the choices were interesting. Again, respondents were not allowed to add answers or to choose more than one. Click to enlarge.

self assessment

So several questions arise when we look at these two polls together:

  1. If interpersonal skills and likability are the obvious keys to success, why do we focus almost solely on improving our technical skills? Why do we attend CE classes that teach us to align teeth better, faster, easier? Why do we spend all the money we do on technology that doesn’t increase patient flow or make us more likable?
  2. If we all know what is important, how has that or does it influence our behavior in a meaningful way on a daily basis in the office? What are we doing to communicate better and be more likable?
  3. Why did the second poll about how to assess ourselves get significantly less responses?
  4. If we are not getting the results we want in our practice but know that interpersonal skills and liability are far and away the most important, what does that say about us, our interpersonal skills and our likability? Will we recognize what we just taught ourselves here? Will we do anything about it or just keep doing what we have always done while expecting a different result?
  5. I wonder what the results would be if we combined Invisalign top 1%, ABO Certification and an orthodontic certificate with likability and interpersonal skills and asked what was the most important…

I think I’ll find out!

I’m hoping for this to spark some lively commentary. There is no right answers – only those who get results and those who do not!


Democracy & Truth

Why Don’t We Do More Invisalign?