Value in Your Vision
In what is usually the coldest month of the year, thousands of dentists, technicians, and others traveled to the windy city of Chicago for one of the largest dental conferences in the US. A month earlier, a few hundred technicians, business owners, and managers flew to Las Vegas to attend the National Association of Dental Laboratories' Vision 21 meeting. What draws us to these events? No doubt the answers vary, but what is the common thread? Most of us would probably concur that learning, sharing, and interacting, along with getting together with old acquaintances and making new ones, are big parts of the success of these forums. Call me "old school," but conversing and learning through face-to-face interaction is invaluable and for me has always been the most effective educational means. Still, I believe there is something more-something else that drives us.
Recently, I attended a session during which three of the five panelists discussed their vision of uncompromised quality of work driving their businesses to steadily grow and prosper, while the other panelists focused on speed and cost restraints as a means to success. Accepting the merit of each viewpoint and the challenges that each side faces, clearly the experience of attending a lecture is immeasurable. All of us believe-or would like to believe-that exposure to another's system or strategy for success could ultimately inspire our own success. Let's be honest: Not every book we read, movie we view, or lecture we attend will move or inspire us, but aren't we all in search of the ones that do? Don't we all want to find the system that works within our own beliefs and sets us apart from others?
In his TED Talk "How Great Leaders Inspire Action," Simon Sinek sums up two key elements I frequently reference in my own lectures. First, "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it," and second, "The goal is not to do business with people who need what you have, but to do business with people that believe what you believe." Why do you do what you do? What do you believe? Do we eat and prefer a cheeseburger that costs $40 or one that costs $0.99? Arguably, there is value to both products. There is presumably no wrong answer, and each may be part of a successful business plan. (I have enjoyed both types of cheeseburgers.)
Understandably, we are not in the business of making cheeseburgers, and without trivializing this issue, I do believe that our future success as dental technicians will depend largely on how true we stay to our own belief systems. Creators of high-quality products would be the first to explain that they must be cognizant of cost and speed while still maintaining quality. Similarly, price-conscious businesses admit that affordability hinges on quality and customer satisfaction. There must be a balance if either model is to be successful. Live lectures and demonstrations afford us the opportunity to delve into and discover what is best for our own business strategies. The challenge lies in identifying our own beliefs, exposing ourselves to the vast amount of technology being offered, and working that into our own personal belief systems for a business that works best for us. If we do not believe in our choices, no one else will. In the end, building the vision and value that you believe in is a personal choice, and ultimately our business choices should coincide with our own belief systems to be successful.
Peter Pizzi, MDT, CDT