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Harnessing the Power
The cultural structure of many businesses and the industries they reside in remains a vertical, top-down configuration. Major decisions are made by organizational leaders, with direction given to the next management levels down and, in the end, filtered on down to employees who are left to carry out the actual steps to make the decisions work. It is a silo mentality that worked well when the company or industry leaders were the sole knowledge holders. However, in today’s less simplistic business environment attitudes are changing and corporate leaders as well as individual companies within an industry are realizing that collaborative thinking and collective brainpower can allow them to reap huge rewards and benefits whether within the internal corporate environment, between companies, or among individual stakeholders.
Certainly, in terms of breaking down barriers between individual companies, the dental manufacturing community has adopted and benefited from this collaborative attitude. Individual companies have found it advantageous and even necessary to partner with former competitors or synergistic businesses in order to better serve the end user as well as each profit from the partnership. In large part the change in attitude has been driven by advancements in technology. Companies have found that alone they are limited by their own capabilities and cannot develop all manner of equipment and materials needed in this technology-driven industry. Rather than try, they have found areas of common interest and built a working relationship. These companies, despite their differences, have optimized their collective experience and expertise and found a shared purpose and vision that serves the interests of each as well as those they serve.
Harnessing the power of a collaboration-driven philosophy requires a change in behavior and attitude among the stakeholders. It comes from the realization that the complexities faced are far beyond the scope of a single individual, company, or even industry. It demands mutual trust and respect, and it values the other’s expertise and knowledge, putting aside ego to meet a common need or goal. Most importantly it allows a group of individuals or business entities to accomplish something that is far beyond what could have been accomplished alone.
In this issue we celebrate those individuals in the dental industry on both sides of the chair who have embraced the collaborative approach to patient care. They have built a relationship based on the diversity of knowledge that each brings to the case and then use that cumulative expertise to focus on the patient rather than their individual competencies to solve a complex problem. They have learned the power of listening, learning from each other, and playing on each other’s strengths, while considering all treatment alternatives before reaching a common vision and goal for the case outcome. As the complexity of patient conditions and treatment options increases and technology opens the door for greater transparency and precision in treatment outcome, the need to share specialty knowledge among all team members will become an essential element to successful patient care and the survival of a profitable industry.