Clothes make the man


I was involved in a practice training day recently. It was one of those whole day affairs with several trainers given time to beat the team into shape (I always get the short straw and the least compliant team members, the clinicians…).

I was looking around the room of people at the beginning of the day. I was dressed in a jacket, open necked shirt, wool trousers and polished shoes (why am I telling you this? Wait and see!). My fellow trainers were dressed similarly and the practice business manager was dressed in a very smart suit.

However, the rest of the folk – 15 or so dentists, hygienists, nurses and receptionists – were mostly dressed scruffily; jeans, trainers, sweat and T-shirts. I’m not talking expensive, fashionable, designer jeans, I’m talking scruffy with unkempt hair and unshaven faces.

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society ― Mark Twain

The business is a high fee, long established private practice and although I have plenty of my own jeans and T-shirts I felt it was appropriate to look like a successful man and I guess my fellow coaches felt the need to look and behave like successful folk too.

I mean, just imagine if you were sitting in a plane at 30,000 feet and the cockpit door opened and a chap in jeans and T-shirt bounded out and introduced himself as captain; how comfortable would you feel?

We respond to uniforms whether we like it or not – you would not attend a funeral in flip flops and cut off jeans. Putting on your uniform (whatever it is) gets your mind set for your job and acts as a shield and a confidence builder, enabling you to engage more effectively with your audience, and in dentistry that’s both colleagues and patients.

Anyway, on top of this sartorial sloppiness one of the associates then drifted in 30 minutes late, adding to the general sense of a scruffy, ill-disciplined army of people, certainly ill-equipped to deliver any version of “world class customer service”.

As I looked around at my clients, both the leaders and those being led, I couldn’t honestly say that I felt like I was looking at a successful team.

They didn’t have the demeanour or the attitude of success and when they got the chance to speak, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that most participants wanted to complain about their lot.

If it was left to me, I would have stopped the day there and then, changed the plan and created (on the hoof) an interactive workshop on, “The attitudes and characteristics of successful people!” We would have discovered together:

  • What makes for a winning attitude
  • The appearance of success
  • Why clients buy and why should they buy from you?

Instead, we focussed on creating a functional, systemised patient journey and I taught the clinicians some effective ways to increase the value and acceptance of new patient treatment plans.

However, I can’t help thinking that my “on the hoof” workshop on successful habits would have been a lot more useful for them.

If you would like me to run a workshop for your dental team please contact me to discuss your requirements.

With all good wishes,

07770 430576

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One Response to Clothes make the man

  1. nisha ari says:

    Nice reading and i totally agree with you. For some reason us dentists think its totally acceptable to look the way we do in surgery and especially even more so when we are on conferences and dental meetings. What do you suggest Dentists wear in surgery ? Im considering implementing a new uniform in the practice. Thanks Nisha

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