Moving Together With The Future

by Peter C. Fritz, BSc, DDS., FRCD(C), PhD (Perio), MBA, LLM.

Much has been discussed recently about the challenges of finding new team members and retaining current ones. The pandemic has shifted perspectives, and what teams needed in the past has now changed. Among the top stressors reported during the pandemic are finances, social isolation, and the health of family members. In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental illness. Throughout the pandemic, provincial studies have shown that 54% of the adult population reported a worsening in their mental health. Recently, 28% percent of adult Canadians screened positive for symptoms of anxiety and depression. Front-line workers, including dentists and their teams, are among the most likely to experience a decline in mental health.

The Time is Now to Nourish the Soul of your Entire Team

The future is about managing things you don’t know while relying on guiding principles. Investing in human relationships and sharing information have stood the test of time. That’s why belonging to local, provincial, national and international dental organizations is so important. It’s time to spring forward to reignite relationships, learn together and support one another again at dental meetings and study clubs. As leaders, we must lead from the desirable future, all the while creating opportunities for our teams to join us. Our practices must evolve into places that will benefit patients but will also make us happy.

Coping strategies for emotional distress include getting active, spending time with friends and having a nourishing meal. Dental study clubs can be the perfect ecosystem to accomplish all three. We know one way to show your team appreciation is to invest in their growth and learning. Engaged and informed team members can really help a practice to thrive rather than merely survive. Study clubs create an environment to provide this opportunity in a meaningful, fun and rewarding way. Expose your team to learning opportunities where they will also develop stronger relationships and help propagate useful, accurate information to our patients.

Explore New Ecosystems

The future is already here but not evenly distributed. The future is a resource; even if we can’t imagine it, we all own it. Skills of the future include imagination, creativity, and risk-taking. We would rather manage what we know. It’s more comfortable and easier. But the future is about managing things you don’t know. You can’t just extrapolate data from today. Executing is great, but exploring is critical. To create innovation, you need diversity in thoughts, backgrounds and cultural viewpoints. Many different ideas are required to make a great idea.

Combining relationships that don’t seem combinable is critical in catalyzing progress. In this issue of Oral Health, we have included articles from dentists but also scientists, students, an engineer, a veterinarian and forensic pharmacist. Discovering new constellations together not only can improve our clinical abilities but can enhance our team’s performance and mental health. The ownership of the future requires a transformation. People are the transformation, and the transformation is continuous. Invest in your people.

About the Editor

Peter Fritz is an intrepid lifelong, global learner. He leads an extraordinary, collaborative, empowered team of clinicians, scientists, explorers and artists who are all performing together to innovate the dental specialty of periodontics and redefine the patient experience. As a futurist and advocate of perpetual change, Peter sets a clear and ambitious path to success based on scientific rigour, inspiring others, and clinical excellence. He strives for improvement, guided by his life-long goal in all elements of his life, “Give me success or its eternal pursuit, and I’ll take the pursuit.”

Oral Health is pleased to present the voices of our Editorial Advisory Board members in this forum, which allows writers to share their personal thoughts, opinions, viewpoints and experiences. We want to ensure our tradition of serving our readers the very best in clinical and editorial content continues and we thank all the members of our Editorial Advisory Board for their efforts in making this happen. We welcome your comments and feedback. Feel free to share your thoughts with us through letters to the editor (