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Thoughts on Leadership

April 29, 2011 – I walked around the ODA convention exhibit hall on Friday acting like a fly on the wall. I was curious to hear and see what went on at the booths, particularly the high-tech booths. No question, the loot bags are still out in full force, it still looks like the midway at the CNE, but

The five dimensions of meta-leadership as deve...

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something was amiss. The new products presentation section was not well attended, folks were still bellying up to the bar and listening to the sales pitch. I can’t help but feel that in spite of all the changes and advances, as a profession, we’re still walking the same rut, the path less travelled is not being chosen.  

We as a profession should be teaching the industry about our needs, not listening to them explain what they are to US. We as a profession should be demanding more resources for patient education, not buying tools in need of applications that our team has not embraced. We as a profession must begin to critically think and appraise ourselves of the changing economic climes and the wants of our client base in a time when everything in their discretionary income portfolio is under review.
To that end,perhaps the thing to do is review the concept of leadership and decide who’s leading or zooming who.  Where is the logic of being “sold” when you need evidence based science on site to validate the claims being made…maybe we should have access to the claims before we are engaged by the sales pitch – a 24/7/365 VIRTUAL EXHIBIT HALL.  Surely to goodness,it’s time for a better design than the “classic exhibit hall format”….put the eyeballs in the chute and walk them up and down until dizzy.  
The noise, the hurly burly, the omnipresent invoice book and the “hurry up and buy” energy has to be replaced by a more refined, defined, deliberate and levelled playing field.  
Maybe it’s a sign of being olde and jaded, one too many “we’ve got your back burns”, but, I can’t buy into an environment that is so inherently one sided and not conducive to critical analysis and thinking rather than simple buying under duress.
Leadership takes many forms; perhaps its time for revisionist leadership in our national dental societies to ensure that what they expose us to in a controlled marketplace is the best of the best and even though “caveat emptor” is always the elephant in any retail sales room, maybe they need to rethink the “bazaar mentality” of an exhibit hall and reframe it in some new conceptual format.  Just noodlin’.

To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!
Lao-Tsu

Do not follow where the path may lead.

Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Harold R. McAlindon


If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

John Quincy Adams

I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure: which is: Try to please everybody.

Herbert B. Swope


The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.
Theodore M. Hesburgh


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.

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About author
Dr. Ken Serota, DDS, MMSc Author of over 70 publications, Ken has lectured on Endodontics and Implantology around the world. MMSc from the Harvard-Forsyth Dental Center in Boston, MA; Fellow of the Pierre Fauchard Academy. Ken is the founder of ROOTS – an online educational forum for dentists from around the world who wish to learn cutting edge endodontic therapy.
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