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Trying to Hard to be Perfect

Trying to hard to be perfect - Lily Head Dental Practice Sales

Trying too hard to be perfect.

I wanted to share two examples of counterintuitive thinking to show the importance of keeping an open mind.  One refers to something we are working on.  The other is a story of how an analyst in the US Air Force helped save the lives of airmen in the 1940’s.

My team and I spend a huge amount of time giving advice to our clients.  There are a number of messages, stories and lessons we want our clients to understand at different stages of the dental practice sales / purchase process to ensure they get the best outcomes.

We coach our team on how best to get those messages across and the timings.  We have a process document to help our them.

I got thinking that too much advice might be inhibiting us and that we are all trying too hard to be perfect.  That sounds counter intuitive and somewhat ironic coming from me.

George Orwell wrote: “The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.”

Being human is messy.  And in our business it is essential that we make a human connection with our clients and partners.  After all, we often spend more time talking and planning with them during a transaction than they do with their own families.

Perfection doesn’t exist in business sales.

There is no playbook that will cover all eventualities for all our clients.  The circumstances and the people around each deal are unique.  You can’t be yourself and easily make a connection if you’re always trying to be perfect.

Being robotic and scripted does not endear people to you.  Being trustworthy, curious, helpful, attentive and authentic does.

If you find yourself on client or patient calls trying to recall some scripted process you read in an article and consciously thinking “Should I do this now?” Or warning yourself “Be careful not to do this,” you’re not be yourself and being authentic.

Research shows that you’re actually increasing the odds of screwing the call up and confusing the other person.

The problem is what psychological researchers call explicit monitoring theory.

It’s the idea that when experienced people think too hard about what they’re doing in a particular situation, they tend to mess it up.

People can become so focused on their own actions in the moment that they lose sight of their ultimate goal: to help the other person out.  The risk is that they become more self-conscious, more anxious and less productive.

We are now focusing on taking our experience and expertise and encouraging our teams to present it in their own way to make it easier for them and to make the human connection with clients and partners.

This enables people to break free of what psychologists call the self-focus vortex, we need to keep their attention on the goal; not on our process.

We focus on what we need to do to help our client accomplish during each interaction with us.  We don’t get distracted by what we think people need to do or how we need to act at any given time.

Finally, the story on the military analyst I read that was published by Sahil Bloom.

During World War II, the U.S. wanted to add reinforcement armour to specific areas of its planes.  Analysts examined returning bombers, plotted the bullet holes, the damage on them, and concluded that adding armour to the tail, body, and wings would improve their odds of survival.

But a young statistician named Abraham Wald noted that this would be an error of judgement.

By only plotting data on the planes that returned, they were systematically omitting the data on a critical, informative subset.  Those planes that were damaged and unable to return.

Wald concluded that armour should be added to the ‘unharmed’ regions of the returning planes.

His profound logic: Where the survivors were unharmed was actually where the planes were most vulnerable.

Based on his insight, the military reinforced the engine and other vulnerable parts, significantly improving the safety of the crews during combat and saving thousands of lives.

If we fail to consider the range of outcomes and the hidden evidence, we develop a skewed and often incorrect view of reality.

What is unseen often has just as much value as what is seen.

This article was written by Abi Greenhough, Managing Director of Lily Head Dental Practice Sales . It was first published in the May 2024 edition of The Dentist Magazine.

If you would like to talk about anything to do with buying, selling or financing a dental practice anywhere in the UK then Contact Us today.

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