By Ann-Marie DePalma, RDH, MEd, FADIA, FAADH
George Orwell said, "Each generation considers itself to be more intelligent than the one before, and wiser than the one after." In today's dental practices, there are multiple generations in both workforce and patient populations. Each generation presents with its own biases, motivations, and values.
As dental professionals, we need to be aware of these generational differences in order to prevent conflict and miscommunication. Understanding and appreciating the variations of each generation enhances the workplace by creating a more efficient, effective team and improving patient care.
Cindy Ishimoto has created a program to delve into these generational issues called "Bridging the Generational Gaps: How to Get Along With Everyone Who Is Not Me." Cindy's program assists teams in blending and capitalizing on the differences each person brings to the dental practice. Different experiences, different communication styles, and different beliefs benefit practices in many ways. Communicating needs from the patient, doctor, manager, and team requires understanding of a person's generational mindset to accomplish goals.
Cindy's objectives of the program include:
- A review of the distinctions between the silent generation, baby boomers, Gen X, and millennials
- A discussion of how each generation differs in values and morals, and how they think and feel
- An examination of the ways to improve multigenerational team performance
- An implementation of the hows and whys of attracting new patients from each generation
Although not specifically geared toward hygienists, this program enables dental teams to focus on their communication and generational concerns. Cindy believes that pairing hygienists will allow different generations to work together, which will create a mutual goal instead of accomplishing goals based on age differences. Even hygienists who participate without their team present benefit immensely from the information.
As a consultant and lecturer for most of her career, Cindy has found that the last 10 years have introduced a huge shift in generational differences in dentistry. As long-term teams add new team members or as established dentists seek new associates and patients, dentistry is no longer immune from the generational divide seen in other industries. Cindy began researching the topic by attending numerous lectures and reading materials that honed her personal development.
Cindy attended the University of Hawaii and has been consulting and speaking for 35 years. She began in dentistry as a dental assistant and has worked with small and large practices to establish systems that balance serving patients, engaging profit, and creating enjoyment of the dental profession for all team members.
Her expertise in business and financial management, along with her motivational and team-building skills, enhance her programs and consulting. Cindy understands that repetition is the key to learning, and her programs reflect her beliefs in creative and entertaining ways. She is an active member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants, American Association of Dental Office Managers, and the National Speakers' Association.
During a recent presentation, Cindy was on a stage and wanted to be closer to the audience. As a result, she moved to the edge of the stage, a recipe for disaster! She was discussing how to greet patients in the reception area, including shaking hands, and walked right off the stage! Luckily the stage wasn't very high and Cindy landed like a cat on her feet. The audience gasped, but she kept on talking Ann-Marie DePalma continued from pg. 55
to emphasize how important it is to greet patients, no matter the obstacles.
In addition to the "Generation Gaps" program, Cindy presents information on leadership training, customer service, and systems management.
Cindy believes in coaching teams to become a better version of themselves. She feels we are all blessed to work in a profession that can help others. Her husband has been a dentist for 43 years, and together they have two adult children. Cindy enjoys traveling, music, and singing. She also loves presenting, teaching, coaching, and guiding individuals and teams to achieve their best.
Participants in Cindy's program enjoy her humor and enthusiasm. Change is difficult for many, and working with different generations means adapting to another generation's mindset. Cindy allows participants to see the benefits of this adaptation through her humor and passion. As Michael Jordan said, "I want to be the bridge to the next generation." Become the bridge in your practice and team.
For more information about Cindy and her programs, contact [email protected].
Thought for the month: My best investment, as clichéd as this sounds, is the money I've spent developing myself via books, workshops, and coaching. Leadership begins within, and to have a better career, start by building a better you. Robin S. Sharma RDH
ANN-MARIE C. DEPALMA, RDH, MEd, FADIA, FAADH, is the 2017 recipient of the Esther M. Wilkins Distinguished Alumni Award of the Forsyth School for Dental Hygiene/Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene and the Association of Dental Implant Auxiliaries, as well as a continuous member of ADHA. She presents continuing education programs for dental team members on a variety of topics. Ann-Marie has authored chapters in several texts for dental hygiene. She can be reached at [email protected].