The Great Lakes Association of Orthodontists (GLAO) is a constituent of the American Association of Orthodontists. Components of the GLAO include: Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Ontario (Canada), and Pennsylvania (west of the Alleghenies). The GLAO advocates on behalf of its members and promotes the advancement of the Speciality of Orthodontics.
A MESSAGE FROM THE GLAO PRESIDENT…
Confusion of passion with strength.
I was reading a daily devotional email today and the phrase “confusing passion with strength” hurled itself off the page and lodged in my brain. Being an orthodontist is a wonderful career, filled with joy and challenge. I believe that orthodontists collectively are inspired individuals with passion for excellence, and skill for motivating others. In our daily practice we wear many different hats…Coach, Teacher, Technician, Teammate, Manager… and so on. As we practice our craft over the years we discover that some of the hats fit better than others. Being honest with ourselves, and listening to others as we experience everyday challenges, hopefully we become aware of our personal strengths and weaknesses.
Do you actively, strategically, assess your personal and staff strengths? Are you effectively delegating tasks within your practice that fall outside your areas of strength? Are you targeting the time you spend in the office so that the majority of your day is spent in your “wheel house”? I would advise any professional to take time to do team assessments. You should know your team culture, understand your team values, and be aware of your weaknesses.
There are many HR tools available… The DiSC evaluation is one tool we’ve used in our practice to determine how our team and each individual are predisposed. Knowing that our team culture is strongly in the S category (steadiness) often times we will designate a team member to role play the part of a D (direct) to facilitate meetings or team processes in order to keep things moving on schedule… and on point. In my practice realizing we are not a team of direct people enables us to plan for our weaknesses, and adapt efficiently. Administering HR tools requires time and resources…implementing them requires discipline and commitment.
Much like we do in our clinical practices, the AAO is continually evaluating our membership to garner insight into our culture, and to identify strengths and weaknesses. Over the course of my career the AAO has sent me a great number of surveys and evaluations, and admittedly I don’t always participate. Consider though that neglecting to participate decreases the information gathered, and reduces likelihood that the responses obtained are representative of our membership as a whole. The member response rate to the recent GLAO online ballot was very low. Apathetic participation in the elections process, and lack of input from membership regarding AAO operations cannot result in improvement of our organizational effectiveness. There is a growing trend of criticism and cynicism regarding authority in our world today. I have a friend from church who jokingly says “Criticism is one of my spiritual gifts.” Consider this…a passionate discontentment produces nothing without an effective plan of action to correct the current course.
In conclusion, with respect to orthodontics as a profession… recognizing a need for change, or identifying areas of deficiency is easy to be passionate about. Our patients come to our offices seeking changes and correction of the deficiencies regarding their orthodontic problems. Many of our patients are passionate about their desire to change their malocclusion and their smile. Without the strategically executed orthodontic treatment plan and active participation in the orthodontic treatment process this passion for a beautiful and healthy smile is nothing more than a wish and a dream. Directing our hopes and dreams into an effective and systematic means of producing results requires utilization of strength and specialized talent. Sometimes that strength is not our own, but lies within others we work closely with. Sharing information, and a willingness to commit personal time and resources are required to produce the optimal outcome in any endeavor.