Some of my best education in dentistry and in life has come from sources that were an unexpected surprise to me. I realize I can learn from everyone and that my job is to take the good from what I see and hear and find a way to make it mine.

In 1939, a tornado rips through Kansas. Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, are whisked away in their house to the magical Land of Oz. In an attempt to get home, Glinda and the Munchkins suggest that they follow the Yellow Brick Road toward the Emerald City and enlist the help of the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.

Along their journey, Dorothy and Toto meet a Scarecrow that needs a brain, a Tin Man missing a heart and a Cowardly Lion who wants courage. The wizard asks the group to bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West. Elphaba tries to sabotage the journey and take the ruby slippers from Dorothy’s feet.

“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”  - Glinda the Good Witch of the North.

In life and in business, there is good debt and there is bad debt. I was taught early in life about the two. Good debt has a definitive end in the future. It goes to bettering yourself, your family and your business. Bad debt reoccurs and puts you into a deeper hole where there appears to be no bottom in sight. While we all know that people buy based on emotions, we should try to balance our emotions with fiscal responsibility.  So when you pull out your credit card to make a purchase, ask yourself, “are you a good witch or a bad witch?”

“We’re off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz” – Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Toto. 

You are not on this journey alone. Who is on your team? In the office, do you surround yourself with people that support and encourage you, or are they there just for a paycheck? Have I had team members for 25 years because I do nice composites? Create your dream team. They will take you to Oz and back. You, as the wizard, need to help the Scarecrow find a brain, the Tin Man a heart and the Cowardly Lion his courage. That is what a good leader does with their team: helps them grow professionally and personally. 

There are other teams you need for support. Your counselors, advisors and mentors will help you on your journey. Regularly meet with your accountant, attorney, financial advisor, laboratory technician and whoever else is on your business team. Take their advice with an open mind. Plan for the future - it will be here before you know it.

And most important is your family team. Discuss where you are and where you want to go. Without support and common goals, you will be fighting an uphill battle. 

Off to Oz!

Enjoy the journey.

Carl E Steinberg, DDS, MAGD, LLSR

(Click here for more dental practice management articles by Carl Steinberg)