Self-Discovery During Social Distancing

March 25, 2020 Richard Green DDS MBA

It may not be this week. It may be next before you have a practice continuation plan in place and have communicated fully with your team and patients. When you do find you have some time, I encourage you to sit back and think about everything you have experienced over the last month and what new learning you have discovered. Then reach out to colleagues and talk over your learning. Continue sharing with each other throughout this time of social distancing. 

I am mindful of a quote from Carl R. Rogers: “The true wonder of learning is discovering for yourself.”  

Starting out in my career, I felt well trained technically, yet I must have subtly believed I was a “hardware” salesperson. Or, maybe it had to do with my tendency to be introverted. Whatever the reason, I found it easier to talk “hardware and technique” than to listen well and then help patients clarify their health objectives and the benefits they were seeking in their dental health care experience.  

I went to a workshop led by Carl R. Rogers titled Client-Centered TherapyThis workshop was significantly different than any of my previous educational experiences. It was a participatory experience. It took some time for me to assimilate his educational concepts into my life and practice, and I noticed right off that I had retained more from a workshop experience and could apply my understanding of what I had learned. When I returned to my office, I attempted to create a participatory learning experience for my patients. I learned from these early attempts more about learning and witnessed behavioral changes in myself and my patients.  

I sought out many other workshops at this time in my life. One was Parent Effectiveness Training, facilitated by a local devotee of Dr. Thomas Gordon. Then, I became reacquainted with Dr. Karl Olson, the retired President of North Park University where I had done my undergraduate schooling prior to going to Northwestern University Dental School.  

Olson had joined forces with Bruce Larson and Heidi Frost of Faith-At-Work and created The Leadership Training Institute, which focused on discovering your leadership potential through three separate weeks of “experiential learning.” The first week was focused on Know Yourself, the second-week focus was Know Yourself in a Small Group, and the third-week experience was focused on Designing Small Group Experiences for Others. Each of these three weeks was separated by six months of intentional application and reflection, which created a powerful learning period of discovering myself.  

From my point of view, there is nothing more rewarding than a learning experience in which one can become aware of one’s own learning in “the moment” or upon reflection. So, now that you have been thrust into participating in Knowing Yourself, your practice, your team, and your patients on a new level where there is a concern for everyone’s safety and wellbeing on an elevated scale take time to reflect on what you learned in “special moments” of the past month.  

Are any of your discoveries blog-worthy to stay in communication with your patients? They will appreciate your personal “touch.” 

Making a comment in response to this blog is one way you can encourage a “continuing conversation” of Pankey participants new awarenesses.” 

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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., 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.