Alun Rees explains why it’s important to get out of the practice and network with other professionals.

In the first of these pieces I described the damage caused by silos within practices.

In business, a silo describes how groups can become isolated.

This time I examine the way isolation leads to different problems to individuals and practices alike.

Dentistry can be a lonely profession, even within group practices.

Isolation often leads to stagnation and a lack of perspective.

Networking

Everyone needs friends and colleagues with whom they can share experiences, highs and lows; people who can help them see triumphs and disasters for the imposters they both are.

Reflective practice is fine as far as it goes but can encourage an inward looking mentality, which may cause other problems.

The traditional informal networking at CPD events has served us well over many years and leads to the routine habit of attending local or regional meetings, meeting others who face the same challenges and taking some weight off each other’s shoulders.

Unfortunately time pressures, real or imaginary, mean that now, many dentists do their CPD online, almost as a box-ticking exercise.

I have heard people say they don’t want to meet their ‘competitors’.

In my experience the 21st century dentist is competing against other forms of discretionary spending.

If you can’t differentiate yourself then you need to sort out your marketing.

Mastermind groups

The semi-formal ‘mastermind group’ works well.

This is a routine meeting with like-minded peers, possibly from around the country.

You meet without fear or blame, and egos are parked firmly at the door.

You all attend to learn, support and share.

Government is happy to keep dentists in isolation.

A profession divided, or one that doesn’t communicate within itself is easier to control and rule.

Make your New Year resolution to get out there, meet and talk to other dentists, share your experiences, listen and support each other.

Let’s expand dentistry.


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