05/12/2017

Generate fresh ideas through association connections


Like many small business owners, dentists can often be confined to the “fishbowl” of their own offices. Taking a break from daily practice to connect with professionals from other practices and specialties can positively impact career growth, development and practice success. One way dentists can find these breaks is through membership in thriving associations and professional organizations. Such memberships offer large, diverse networks that expose dentists to new ideas and outlooks from colleagues with different backgrounds and experiences. 

Seventy-three percent of business leaders believe that in-person communications are the most impactful, according to a 2016 study by the Economist Group’s research division; however, more than 60 percent of communications are not in real time. So, how can a busy individual harness more in-person interactions and make each one more effective, powerful and conducive to success?

Gain exposure to diverse ideas and fresh solutions

Networking at an association’s educational or social event is easier and more fruitful when approached with curiosity. Even a richly diverse organization cannot live up to its full potential unless it has a culture of curiosity, as Fierce, Inc. white paper on leveraging diversity. By fostering connections with peers across stages of dentistry at events like CDA Presents, dentists can gain different perspectives on practice, see trends emerge and find solutions for common problems.

Enhance collaboration and communication skills

From clinical techniques to practice management challenges, a larger network of peers provides more ideas to draw from, combine, refine and improve. Collaborative learning in hands-on workshops can be sustained online through an association’s social channels. As with any professional communications, relationships are built not on “what can you get” but “what can you learn.”

Explore mentoring, coaching and leadership

Seasoned dentists can pair with student members and those in the early years of practice to impart real-world advice. Developing and retaining emerging talent in organized dentistry helps shape the future of the profession. Additionally, honing mentorship skills can also strengthen skills used to coach dental team members and connect with patients of different ages and personality types. California dentists can pursue a wide variety of volunteer leadership opportunities on CDA’s councils, committees and boards.

Expand hiring and career opportunity pools

One quick way to expand options when seeking a new team member or making a career change is to tap into association connections. Through a combination of personal referrals and association job boards, dentists can access more robust candidate pools. Plus, associations can provide resources for a range of human resources topics, such as CDA Practice Support’s guidance on candidate screening and associate contracts.

While clinical decisions sometimes rest upon the skills or experience of just one dentist, the most effective professional decisions draw from perspectives and supporting insights from multiple areas of dentistry. The day-to-day demands of the office can seem ceaseless, and local, state and national association communities can provide relief through much-needed collaboration and inspiration.

Put skills into action at CDA Presents and other upcoming live events.



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The California Dental Association is experiencing remarkable growth this year, expanding its reach and passing the 27,000-member mark. In addition to growing its businesses to support new advocacy, protection, practice support and networking opportunities, CDA is pursuing ways to make the everyday membership experience friendlier.

CDA is celebrating an important milestone as membership grew to 27,000 dentists in December 2016. For all members, a community of 27,000 means greater representation through advocacy efforts to ensure diverse dentists across the state have a voice in policymaking. It means the availability of crucial practice support resources to help dentists easily manage the business and regulatory side of dentistry so they can stay focused on what they do best — providing great dental care to Californians.

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