Blue Skies over Denver
Which city gets the most annual days of sunshine?
If you answered Denver, you’re correct!
We’ve been researching Denver in advance of the 2013 New Dentist Conference, taking place in the mile high city, and we’ve learned some interesting facts from the Official Travel and Visitor Bureau for Denver, Colorado. Turns out the city enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine every year, more than San Diego or Miami.
If you are attending the conference, taking place July 18-20 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Denver, you’ll want to be sure you pack your sunscreen. At 5,280 feet above sea level there’s 25 percent less protection from the sun.
One more bit of weather trivia – with less water vapor in the air at this altitude, the sky really is bluer in Denver.
Just floss a single tooth?
Stanford professor BJ Fogg has been studying habit formation and how to influence it by taking tiny steps towards a goal. In an interview with public broadcaster KQED, Fogg discusses his approach:
The strength of a habit is defined, at least the way I see it, is how much of a decision was that behavior. So if you’re deciding ‘yeah, I’m going to go to the gym today’ it’s a pretty good indication it’s not a habit. Habits are things you do without deciding.
So how should you go about helping a patient develop a healthy habit, such as regular flossing? According to Fogg, the key is to start with flossing a single tooth.
Next, find a habit you already have and do your new habit immediately after. “For me and for most people, brushing your teeth is a solid habit. So that can serve as a trigger for the new behavior you want.”
Then, reward yourself. “You declare victory. Like I am so awesome, I just flossed one tooth. And I know it sounds ridiculous. But I believe that when you reinforce yourself like that, your brain will say yeah, awesome, let’s do that.”
Reading about BJ Fogg’s approach we can’t decide if it sounds like positive reinforcement or positively a terrible idea. Share your perspective in the comments.
Is this valuable?
We all like to feel appreciated, and you probably thank the members of your team for doing good work.
It turns out that expressing your gratitude might be one of the best (and least expensive) investments you can make in your team!
Harvard associate professor Francesca Gino conducted numerous experiments in gratitude for her book, Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed and How We Can Stick to the Plan.
In one experiment, Gino studied a team of 41 call-center fundraisers working on fixed salaries. At the end of one week, the supervisor personally thanked about half of them.
The second week, the group that received thanks saw its call volume shoot up about 50 percent while the unacknowledged group kept its total number of calls about the same.
Why does expressing thanks have such impact?
As Gino explained to Chuck Eddy at Harvard Gazette, “Receiving expressions of gratitude makes us feel a heightened sense of self-worth, and that in turn triggers other helpful behaviors toward both the person we are helping and other people, too.”
What about you? How do you let members of your team know that they are doing a good job? Leave your answer in the comments.
Over at the blog Signal vs. Noise, Jason Fried has been writing about the feedback requests he has gotten from different businesses. He was not a fan of this survey he received after buying a car.
After buying some gourmet foods from an Ann Arbor mail-order deli, he got an email survey that consisted of a single question:
How Likely are you to Recommend (this mail order company) to a friend or colleague?
0 = Not a Chance
10 = In a Heartbeat
Considering how challenging it can be to get feedback, it’s easy to see the appeal of such a simple survey, although it’s less clear how useful the results might be.
Looking to take your customer service to the next level? Check out Power of Customer Service: How to Create Happy Satisfied Patients from the ADA Catalog. Members always receive a significant discount when ordering catalog items.
How do you find out what your patients think about the job you and your team are doing? Leave your answer in the comments.
Everybody procrastinates sometimes. If you find yourself seeking distractions from the task-at-hand, consider doing a time dash to get back on track. The blog 99U identifies three different kinds of time dash proposed by writer and speaker Merlin Mann:
- Time-based dash – Use a timer and choose an amount of time that gives you enough room to do something but that’s brief enough to seem completely unintimidating (Mann suggests eight minutes.)
- Unit-based dash – Plow through an arbitrary number of pieces (pages to read, documents to file, etc.)
- Combination dash – Stop the hated work whether you reach either the time or unit goal first.
What about you? Any tricks that help you get going when it’s tough to start? Share your suggestion in the comments.
Author and speaker Scott Berkun recently answered a question from his mailbag:
I’m going to a conference for the first time, in part to meet an author that inspired me who’s speaking there. Do you have any advice on what to do and, mainly, what NOT to do when I meet him?
If you are attending the 27th New Dentist Conference in Denver July 18-20, it’s possible you might end up face-to-face with one of your personal heroes.
Berkun shares some tips for meeting your heroes, with an eye towards making the encounter friendly and enjoyable, rather than awkward and uncomfortable. Here’s one suggestion if you hope to have a dialog, not just a handshake:
Email them before the event with a very well thought out comment or question, and/or a strong thanks for their work and how it inspired you. Mention you’ll be at the event and hope to meet them.
What about you? Who is that one hero you’d like to meet, even if the prospect makes you a little nervous? Share your answer in the comments (and yes, your hero can be from any endeavor—non-dentists can be heroes too!)
Over at his blog The Simple Dollar, Trent has been wondering when it makes sense for romantic couples to share a checking account (Spoiler alert: He and his wife began marriage with separate accounts, but they eventually merged.)
Back in 2011, Jessica Grose wrote for Slate about the possibilities she and her husband considered:
Seems like there might not be one size that fits all. What approach works for you? Share your answers in the comments.
Clinical Demonstration at ADA365
The ADA Annual Session is packed with education, and ADA365 is the place to go for on-demand videos of the courses you may have missed (or just want to watch again.)
It’s all free to ADA members, just visit ADA.org/ADA365 and log-in with your ADA member number and the password ADA365 (all caps).
With more than 50 hours of video covering topics from clinical techniques to work-life balance, there is something for everyone. Here’s a few suggestions to get you started:
- Preparing for Practice Ownership
- Day-to-Day Technology that can Improve Your Practice
- EIR: Active Clinical Treatment: The Art and Science
- New Dentist Roundtable
Thinking about attending the 2013 ADA Annual Session October 31-November 3 in New Orleans? We’ll see you there!
As of today, July 1, the interest rates on Stafford Loans are set to double from 3.4% to 6.8%.You’ll find some handy explanations of how this affects you over at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s blog.
Already on the hook for loans? This change only affects new Stafford Loans for undergraduate education. If you have loan that originated before July 1, 2013, or you are taking out a loan to finance your post-graduate education—such as dental school or a residency—you are not affected by this change.
The ADA speaks up. Increasing the cost of education is a big deal, so much so that the ADA sent a letter to the U.S. Senate, explaining that education debt plays a major role in postgraduate career planning and can influence whether a recent graduate will choose to enter private practice, focus on underserved communities or pursue a career in public service, teaching research and/or public health. Read more about the letter here. The interest rates could be revised retroactively, so it’s important to speak up. If you’d like to contact your legislator yourself here’s some information on how to do that.
Other Resources The ADA collects information on student loan repayment programs. Access a list of federal and state programs that offer loan repayment assistance, which are often in exchange for services in a healthcare shortage area. Download the free pdf here.
The ADA offers a free student loan contract analysis service to student members. Contact an ASDA chapter leader at your school and notify the ADA legal department at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a written analysis – in plain language – of your student loan contract. The service is available for unsigned contracts and all pre-doctoral and post-doctoral student members may take advantage of it. Here’s the Student Loan Analysis F.A.Q.
“Communication breakdowns happen so often and so quickly that it’s best to start with the assumption that they’re going to happen at some point and plan accordingly.”
That advice comes from Doug Sundheim in his book Taking Smart Risks: How Sharp Leaders Win When Stakes are High. (we looked at questions you could ask after you’ve said something here.)
Sundheim outlines four clarifying questions to ask after someone has proposed an idea:
- Here’s what I’m hearing. Is that correct?
- I don’t know how that would look. Can you give me an example?
- I’m not sure of the best first step. What are your thoughts?
- I understand the strengths of your approach. What do you see as its drawbacks?
Assume a communications breakdown will happen — plan accordingly
How do you check in to be sure you understand other people’s ideas? Share your answers in the comments.