Creating A Relationship Based Life – A True Story

October 15, 2021 Richard Green DDS MBA

New Patients / Patients of Record

Often a dentist or team member can believe: A new patient or patient of record wants to be efficiently informed on two or three things:

  • What do you want me to know about my dental health?
  • What and how do you want me to do “it”?
  • What is this going to cost? Or isn’t dental insurance going to pay for this?

A Story of Dr. R. A. Green from the Past to the Present:


A retired physician of seventy-five years of age was enjoying teaching at The University of Chicago Medical School. At the time of this conversation, I was attending Northwestern University Dental School and working part-time as a Doorman at The Hotel Pearson. The Hotel Pearson was a residence hotel; the physician was a resident of the hotel. The hotel was located where the Ritz Carleton presently stands on Pearson Street, one block East of Michigan Avenue; the time frame was the early 1960’s. That evening, as the retired physician walked out for some fresh air, he engaged me in a conversation, which he had done on previous occasions. I remember asking him about, what he was teaching?

His reply has stuck with me all these years. He said, “I am trying to encourage the young Interns and Residents to slow down and listen.” Slow down and listen, I replied with a question lingering in my voice. He said, “Yes, if I can help them begin to create opportunities for a patient to experience “deep listening” and then stay “present” with and for a patient, the Intern/Resident will notice, in time, a patient will diagnose their own ailment (at least offer enough important information to be able to develop a very accurate differential diagnosis); a wonderful place to start, a beginning!

He went on to say, “If I can encourage the Intern/Resident to continue to listen deeply, a patient can reveal how they want to be treated. And, if the Intern/Resident can listen just a little longer, a patient can initiate a conversation about how they want to pay for the services to be rendered. Deep Listening accomplishes a greater understanding of the patient, which leads to a better diagnosis, and can lead to a more successful practice model than running from room to room, thinking you only have three – five minutes to do all of the above, while not accomplishing any of the above. I am really trying to encourage them to slow down and listen!

Now, almost sixty years later, I am sitting and reflecting on my lifetime in dentistry and work with patients, team, and dentists; I too have been involved with teaching and coaching, myself and others, for over sixty years. While I strive to have conversations concerning many different aspects of dentistry, which surface while being present, with and for others, the bottom-line in a relationship-based life and practice are very similar to that of the retired physicians’ message, nearly sixty years ago.

My response is also altered and influenced, due to an early encounter’s with Dr. L. D. Pankey, soon after I had met him in 1968. In a conversation, he had asked me to tell him about my office and the flow of a day in my office. His response to my description of my usual day was, “Why don’t you Slow Down and become more Affective, you are Efficient Enough!” A similar message, and it had a heightened impact upon further reflection: “I have heard this before and it sounds very familiar!

What is it you do intentionally, on a regular basis, to slow down and become more Affective (Affective Domain), for you too are Efficient Enough?

Hmmm… Isn’t that interesting!

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About Author

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Richard Green DDS MBA

Rich Green, D.D.S., M.B.A. is the founder and Director Emeritus of The Pankey Institute Business Systems Development program. He retired from The Pankey Institute in 2004. He has created Evergreen Consulting Group, Inc. www.evergreenconsultinggroup.com, to continue his work encouraging and assisting dentists in making the personal choices that will shape their practices according to their personal vision of success to achieve their preferred future in dentistry. Rich Green received his dental degree from Northwestern University in 1966. He was a early colleague and student of Bob Barkley in Illinois. He had frequent contact with Bob Barkley because of his interest in the behavioral aspects of dentistry. Rich Green has been associated with The Pankey Institute since its inception, first as a student, then as a Visiting Faculty member beginning in 1974, and finally joining the Institute full time in 1994. While maintaining his practice in Hinsdale, IL, Rich Green became involved in the management aspects of dentistry and, in 1981, joined Selection Research Corporation (an affiliate of The Gallup Organization) as an associate. This relationship and his interest in management led to his graduation in 1992 with a Masters in Business Administration from the Keller Graduate School in Chicago.

3 thoughts on “Creating A Relationship Based Life – A True Story

  1. Rich Green is one of those amazing gifts to humanity, and especially to the Pankey Institute. He definitely inspired our son to be all that he can be as a much appreciated dentist and we are extremely grateful to him and to the Pankey Institute!

  2. Rich – Thoughtful, inspiring and challenging. You are truly gifted and we all thank you for your willingness to share and gently challend us to be better.

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