July 31, 2020
by Dr. Angela Mulrooney, CEO of Unleashing Influence & Unleashing Dentistry’s Potential
Everyone will go through trying times – often alone. For the first time in many of our lives, we are collectively going through the same trying time – together. It has been fascinating to watch reactions to the evolving COVID-19 situation. Some reactions were completely unexpected and seemingly out of character. Some pulled relationships apart. It is strange what a massive, unexpected crisis can provoke in normally rational professionals.
In the past, when major crises have happened, I have witnessed ugly behaviour in my colleagues. I watched dentists pull each other apart during the Global Financial Crisis in 2008/2009 and during the Oil Crash in 2015. The willingness to be cutthroat was disgusting. I witnessed colleagues willing to ruthlessly put their needs first while doing harm to a fellow dentist in need. When our livelihoods are threatened, strange behaviours have historically emerged causing a shift in mindset from being a community to “every dentist for themselves”.
Indeed, unexpected crisis can bring out the worst in us because we step into fear. However, what I witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic has made me proud of my colleagues. The unexpected crisis made everyone stop in their tracks and pay attention to what was happening around them and beyond them. This time around, I witnessed many dentists step into courage – taking action that was community-minded rather than competitively-motivated. Coming together to help others by sharing knowledge and professional resources. I was amazed to witness the dental community pull together – locally, nationally, and internationally.
My question to you is this: Is this new mindset sustainable? Only time will tell as none of us have the crystal ball to know exactly what we are in for. However, we can be mindful to move forward, remembering the lessons we learned while in isolation.
As we return to work and into the new normal of “practice as unusual”, my hope is that this sense of community we found becomes our new normal in how we interact with colleagues. It’s time to drop the hyper-competitiveness of working against each other and remain a community of collaborators because there is still a long road ahead.
In the coming months, collaboration and community will be more important than ever. There will be dentists losing their practices when subsidizations run out. There will be dentists and team members seeking new ways to carve out a living. There will be dentists and team members retiring as the new normal will be more than they wish to sign on for. There will be others who will simply try to resist the changes forced upon them.
Everyone will deal with the situation as best they can even if is not how we would have chosen for ourselves. We need to find compassion towards each other during this transition, so we come out on the other side more resilient as a group rather than further fractured apart.
Will you continue to choose courage and community or revert back to fear and competition? It’s all up to you.
To unleashing entrepreneurs’ potential…
About the Author
Dr. Angela Mulrooney turned a run-down clinic into a cutting edge practice that was referred to by colleagues for full-mouth reconstruction, I.V. sedation, and sleep apnea therapy. In doing so, she more than doubled her hourly production while working 50% fewer hours at 28 years of age. After sustaining a career ending injury, she decided to turn tragedy into opportunity by sharing her credibility and production-boosting secrets through practice management and social media marketing to help talented colleagues realize their full potential clinically and entrepreneurially.