Leadership – paving new paths and inspiring others in 2019 and beyond

Columns , Current Issue
Editor’s intro: Dr. Shalin Shah enjoys inspiring his colleagues to face unanticipated hurdles in the new year with enthusiasm, and calculated, coordinated, and diligent efforts. 

A new year often brings upon reflection of the previous year’s experiences, successes, and challenges while also stimulating our minds to generate fresh ideas. As professionals, business owners, and highly motivated individuals, we naturally seek to better ourselves and those around us by leveraging past experiences and knowledge. The challenge in taking on new ideas is in fully understanding the nature and consequence of the change, sound implementation of the process, and securing acceptance by others involved.

Simon Sinek describes leaders possessing two important qualities in his book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. He writes that leaders “must have a vision of a world that does not exist, and they must have the ability to communicate it.” In a budding or thriving practice, there is a continuous flow of needs and opportunities, and those are best captured by us, the orthodontists, who possess both the 30,000-foot and day-to-day view of operations and function. The development of change intended to improve our results — practice, patient, community, or otherwise – requires comprehension of how the said change can effectively be integrated as well as how it can truly be maximized in impact.

Mentally immersing ourselves into that process begins to provide a simulated picture of the journey of implementation. We also would be remiss to not ask our peers (includes orthodontists, team members, family, friends, patients, and community) calculated, thought-out questions and scenarios about their views on the idea and implementation. Data and correct data interpretation lead to less assumptions and more accurate next steps.

The common language that binds us all is empathy. What normal languages of the world cannot bridge can be resolved with a soft smile, a welcoming gesture, or a kind act, for example. This language drives relationships with our patients and community as well as our teams and willing participants joining our lives and professional journeys. What does empathy and language have to do leadership, particularly in our discussion of implementation and acceptance? It has everything to do with pushing an idea forward.

Dale Carnegie spoke extensively about relationships and how they drive the business world. Our discussions in the office are better served when they are true dialogues with our team, patients, and community. Involving our peers in our solutions provides several benefits, most notably expanding our own myopia through incorporation of other’s experiences as well as having the change be created by a group of people rather than by one individual. This approach has the ability to galvanize more enthusiasm in addition to readily gaining acceptance. Inspire others by allowing them to inspire you!

We will be sure to face unanticipated hurdles along our journey, and when the vision is unique and untested, even small failures can result in loss of trust among the team. Resilience and re-centering becomes a key focus in reestablishing that faith and belief in questionable moments. You alone, the visionary, know that by unequivocally rising again and pushing forward, success will emerge at some point with the greater good as the beneficiary. That success may be in quantifiable or intangible ways — perhaps more money or even just through incremental growth experiences. Through calculated, coordinated, and diligent efforts, however, you can assure yourself that your ideas, implementation, and larger acceptance will be heard, realized, and earned.

In our family, we always say “believing is seeing.” Believe in your ideas and the orthodontic profession’s future. With a heart full of love, hands of compassionate care, and an unparalleled vision, forge ahead relentlessly with grit and hustle — and of course, empathy. Bring to life your dreams and the dreams of others while also realizing that rarely do we journey alone, so embrace the amazing and wonderful people around you. When you reach your ultimate goal, you will then have many people around you with which to celebrate.

One love to all and to all a peaceful and incredible 2019 — make it the best year you’ve ever had!

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Dr. Shalin Raj Shah

Read more of Dr. Shah’s inspiring thoughts on improving your practice in his article, “Stability, longevity, and predictability in your practice management technology” here.