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I subscribe to Seth Godin’s blog (, and I found today’s topic a perfect fit with what we’ve been examining about change. Sometimes it is nice to find independent confirmation for strategies and assumptions you already hold. Seth is an American author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker and an expert at workplace psychology. The following is an excerpt from his daily blog.

“Most people have been trained to come to work in search of familiarity and competence: To work with familiar people, doing familiar tasks, getting familiar feedback from a familiar boss. Competence is rewarded; coloring inside the lines is something we were taught in kindergarten.

People will do a bad job for a long time because it feels familiar. Legions of people will stick with a dying industry because it feels familiar. The reason Kodak failed, it turns out, has nothing to do with grand corporate strategy (people at the top saw it coming) and nothing to do with technology (scientists and engineers got the early patents in digital cameras). Kodak failed because it was a chemical company and a bureaucracy, filed with people eager to do what they did yesterday.

Change is unfamiliar.

Change creates incompetence.

In the face of change, the critical questions that leaders must start with are, “Why did people come to work here today? What did they sign up for?” That’s why it’s so difficult to change the school system. Not because teachers and administrators don’t care (they do!). It’s because changing the school system isn’t what they signed up for.

The solution is as simple as it is difficult: If you want to build an organization that thrives in change (and on change), hire and train people to do the paradoxical: To discover that the unfamiliar is the comfortable familiar they seek. Skiers like going downhill when it’s cold, scuba divers like getting wet. That’s their comfortable familiar. Perhaps you and your team can view change the same way.”

Dentistry as we know it is changing. Unless we get comfortable with adapting to change, thriving in change, looking at our businesses differently, and acting quickly to correct our course, we will see the end of the independent practice of Dentistry in the next 10 years. Take yourself and your staff out of the familiar and comfortable, and into a better future. What are you willing to change? This is how you Summit.

Michael Abernathy, DDS
972-523-4660 cell
[email protected]

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