Professionalism 

November 7, 2022 Richard Green DDS MBA

One definition of professionalism became the foundation of Dr. L. D. Pankey’s life and a thesis of his teachings. He wrote the definition himself!

“Professionalism is that quality of conduct, which accompanies the use of superior knowledge, skill, and judgment toward the benefit of another person or society prior to any consideration of self-interest.”

Throughout his life, he endeavored to make relevant connections with others, intentionally pay attention to others, share gratitude and appreciation, and offer compassion—even in the midst of reading another person’s lips!

As he was entering the last decade of his life, he remained continuously aware of and interested in others. Until the end, he was a continual student, eager to learn more. He encouraged other dentists to live and love their profession to its fullest at every opportunity.

The Story of Wilbur the Garage Mechanic

Dr. Pankey met Wilbur in the late 1970’s, when Dr. Pankey’s ’76 Fleetwood was not running as well as a relative’s ’72 Fleetwood. Dr. Pankey was able to observe Wilbur do his job and experience the ’76 Fleetwood move down the highway as if it were new. After a trip to Jacksonville and back, Dr. Pankey stopped again at Wilbur’s Garage to extend his gratitude and appreciation. He also wanted to listen to Wilbur’s own story again on a deeper level.

On reflection, Dr. Pankey wrote, “Like me, Wilbur got a few breaks. But of course, he helped make those breaks and took advantage of them by doing his job well and treating people right. Although he had never heard of the Philosophy as such, Wilbur was using it in his auto repair business just as I was using it in my practice.” Isn’t that interesting…

Dr. Pankey always had a smile on his face as he told Wilbur’s story in each Philosophy session he taught in the late ’70’s and well into the ’80’s. Let me encourage you to reread his personal story in the first section of A Philosophy of the Practice of Dentistry by L. D. Pankey and Bill Davis. Read that section of the book at least once or twice a decade. Reflect on your experiences; you just might become aware of new observations and connecting insights, during your decade-by-decade reflections. This exercise often puts a smile on our faces!

“That Quality of Conduct”

The quality of conduct on which Dr. Pankey founded his life’s work (his professional philosophy) not only embodied genuine interest in others as individuals (with uniquely compelling situations, needs, personas, and values). It also embodied genuine concern for others’ welfare ahead of his own. Intentionally sustaining his vision of practice, drove this professional philosophy deeper into his “tissues”—into his thoughts, behaviors, motivations, and emotions. His philosophy did not spring full grown out of his mind. It developed over time.

In my last blog, I wrote that as we look into our life’s mirror (over many decades for some of us), we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves. By reading again Dr. Pankey’s story, we discover a deeper understanding of how it relates to our personal stories and life’s work. Reflections on our own lives (and Dr. Pankey’s life) offer opportunities for new awareness, commitments, and actions. We develop over time, and the beat goes on!

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About Author

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Richard Green DDS MBA

Rich Green, D.D.S., M.B.A. is the founder and Director Emeritus of The Pankey Institute Business Systems Development program. He retired from The Pankey Institute in 2004. He has created Evergreen Consulting Group, Inc. www.evergreenconsultinggroup.com, to continue his work encouraging and assisting dentists in making the personal choices that will shape their practices according to their personal vision of success to achieve their preferred future in dentistry. Rich Green received his dental degree from Northwestern University in 1966. He was a early colleague and student of Bob Barkley in Illinois. He had frequent contact with Bob Barkley because of his interest in the behavioral aspects of dentistry. Rich Green has been associated with The Pankey Institute since its inception, first as a student, then as a Visiting Faculty member beginning in 1974, and finally joining the Institute full time in 1994. While maintaining his practice in Hinsdale, IL, Rich Green became involved in the management aspects of dentistry and, in 1981, joined Selection Research Corporation (an affiliate of The Gallup Organization) as an associate. This relationship and his interest in management led to his graduation in 1992 with a Masters in Business Administration from the Keller Graduate School in Chicago.

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A Reflection On Personal Growth in Learning

December 1, 2021 Richard Green DDS MBA

A Reflection: Although most of our early educational classrooms have not often fostered it, an essential participatory experiential exercise can help ground our discoveries and anchor our adult learning, in which we can be “known through” an experience with self and others, more than knowing anything by our own thought. An authentic encounter with a teacher/mentor can foster, in time, our discovery toward a feeling of true knowing, in our heads, our hearts, our hands, and our bodies, as well. This understanding, authentically discovered, can emerge, in unique ways with each individual, and becomes an opportunity for True-Self seeing. It is quite unlike the intellectual “knowing” most of us have been taught to rely on. This experiential kind of “seeing,” can take away much of our anxiety concerning figuring it all out fully for ourselves or requiring ourselves to be “right” about our formulations beforehand. At this point, a teachers’/mentors’ facilitation can become more like a verb than a noun, more a process than a conclusion, more an experience than a dogma, more a personal relationship than an idea.

Life then becomes more like a verb than a noun…We were not put on this earth to describe life, rather we are invited to actively live it,,,! In time, there often can be someone dancing with us (maybe sitting on our shoulder), and we are not afraid of making mistakes. We learn through experience, mistakes, doubt, while allowing a reviewing process to become an intentional part of our experiential learning. It is often best, if we are not told first… Rather, we can be invited to discover it for ourselves! Hmmm…Isn’t that interesting?

“The true wonder of learning is discovering for ourselves!” Carl Rogers, PhD

Through our own experience we can discover while having many encounter’s in which family, patients, team members, friends, and colleagues become our teacher’s / mentor’s. Even when we are doubtful, we can look in the mirror, at our authentic self and say, “Yes” – knowing full well, there is much more to be experienced and it is bound to add layers to our understanding and learning on the job! What ever the “Job” may be or become! Learning becomes a “Two-Way Street” and our teachers and mentors can become participants, team members, patients, spouses, parents, grandparents, adult children, children, and grandchildren, in all age groups. Success then, is a moving target… Not a fixed destination; instead, it can be a becoming!…Isn’t that wonderful…!

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About Author

User Image
Richard Green DDS MBA

Rich Green, D.D.S., M.B.A. is the founder and Director Emeritus of The Pankey Institute Business Systems Development program. He retired from The Pankey Institute in 2004. He has created Evergreen Consulting Group, Inc. www.evergreenconsultinggroup.com, to continue his work encouraging and assisting dentists in making the personal choices that will shape their practices according to their personal vision of success to achieve their preferred future in dentistry. Rich Green received his dental degree from Northwestern University in 1966. He was a early colleague and student of Bob Barkley in Illinois. He had frequent contact with Bob Barkley because of his interest in the behavioral aspects of dentistry. Rich Green has been associated with The Pankey Institute since its inception, first as a student, then as a Visiting Faculty member beginning in 1974, and finally joining the Institute full time in 1994. While maintaining his practice in Hinsdale, IL, Rich Green became involved in the management aspects of dentistry and, in 1981, joined Selection Research Corporation (an affiliate of The Gallup Organization) as an associate. This relationship and his interest in management led to his graduation in 1992 with a Masters in Business Administration from the Keller Graduate School in Chicago.

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I AM INTERESTED IN

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