As a dental coach, I often address the same issues that a dental consultant must deal with. However, I go beyond the surface concerns of poor marketing and unsatisfactory profits to analyze the underlying reasons for these problems. When I work with my clients, we begin with honest self-assessment. Many of us have difficulty facing up to our failings. This is not a problem that haunts dentists alone; as a society we love to pass the buck. Having money difficulties? It’s because of outrageous taxes. Marriage at a standstill? It’s our spouses’ faults not ours. On the surface, the Blame Game is liberating. We feel good when we believe we are not at fault. However, the longer we play this game, the more it begins to take over our lives. We become answerable to varying circumstances because they determine our responsibility or lack thereof. How often do you play the Blame Game? Take the quiz below to find out how you measure up.
Can You Shoulder the Blame?
- You have a consistently low patient compliance rate. What do you think is the root cause?
A. Your patients, of course! You just seem to have an exceedingly unmotivated clientele.
B. You. Maybe you aren’t clearly communicating with your patients.
C. Your team. They need to learn to be more aggressive with your patients.
- Several of your team members seem lazy and unwilling to shoulder responsibility. Who is to blame?
A. The employees themselves. Why do you seem to attract so many irresponsible individuals?
B. You, in part. You haven’t really outlined your team’s responsibilities or provided adequate training.
C. Your patients. Who wants to work hard when you have to deal with such an annoying bunch?
- You and your spouse have become distant lately. Why do you think this is happening?
A.It’s my spouse’s fault. I work hard, and he/she seems completely unsupportive.
B. It may be my fault. I haven’t set aside time to devote to my spouse.
C. It’s because of the kids. They just run us ragged. We don’t have time for each other.
- Your daughter doesn’t seem herself. She’s snappy and easily upset. What’s going on?
A. She needs to learn that life doesn’t revolve around her.
B. I think perhaps I have not given her enough support. I have been caught up in my work.
C. It’s those friends of hers. I never liked the girl with the pink hair.
- Although you have always loved your job, lately your passion has started to wane. Why?
A. It’s my patients and team. They are unappreciative and apathetic.
B. I have been driving myself too hard. I haven’t taken time for myself and the activities I love.
C. It’s my landlord, the credit card companies, and the marketing agencies. All these non-dentistry related matters are driving me insane!
Your Dental Consultant and Coach Asks: Do You Pass the Blame?
If you answered mostly A’s, you pretty good at the Blame Game. Whatever the problem, you tend to accuse the other party that is directly involved in the situation. Remember, although other parties may share responsibility, professional and personal problems are rarely a one-way street. In all likelihood, you shoulder just as much of the blame, if not more. Unlike a dental consultant, a coach will help you learn honest self-assessment.
If you answered mostly B’s, you know how to shoulder responsibility, and you are honest about your own shortcomings. However, you should remember not to be too hard on yourself. Everyone has failings. In all likelihood, others share some of the responsibility for your professional and personal concerns. Although you already understand the root cause of your problems, a dental coach can help you find effective solutions.
If you answered mostly C’s, you’re a deflector. You don’t like to accuse the other party, but you don’t want to shoulder responsibility yourself. Instead, you place blame on anyone else who is indirectly involved in a situation. However, this still leaves you at the mercy of uncontrollable situations. When you learn to acknowledge your own shortcomings, you will be able to take control of your concerns. In this way, you can find greater freedom for yourself and others in your life.