Who likes going to the dentist?
Rhetorical question, right? No matter how much they try—pretty pictures on the wall, little presents if you’re good, and smiley people—you can’t get away from the fact that this is a house of pain.
If the injections aren’t enough, and you survive the drilling, there’s the delayed shock when the anaesthetic wears off just before you go to bed and it feels like Laurence Olivier is asking you if it’s “safe” over and over again (Marathon Man, 1976 – a must-see movie).
However, like any business today, dentists have evolved and worked hard on the soft stuff.
So I feel for dentists. Highly trained professionals doing their best to keep some of our most valuable assets healthy and attractive, and we see them only as merchants of pain.
The SCARF model in action
My dentist is a class act.
When I first came across David Rock’s excellent SCARF model, I realised that my dentist was going through all those gears to manage my fears.
He respects my Status—always calling me “Mr Solomon”—and, though I know he’s in a hurry, he goes at my pace. Certainty is high on the agenda, too, as he tells me what we’ll do not only at the start but all the way through the appointment. When it comes to decisions, I have Autonomy – he’ll advise, but I’ve never felt pressured one way or another. There is a lot of Relatedness as I’ve known him for years, he treated my mother, and he’s got the balance of “Hello, how are you?” and “Let’s get on with it” just right. And finally, it’s always felt Fair. Not just the appointments themselves, but the cost (it isn’t cheap!) in relation to the service.
Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t relish going!
But SCARF is a great way to consider how you can best approach tough conversations and situations. Take time to think about the other people involved and how you can put a SCARF around them.
By implementing this model, those conversations that you dread as much as a tooth extraction can be more easily managed. They may still hurt a bit, but trust me, the pain doesn’t last forever.
If your team could benefit from the acquisition of effective methods to accelerate their negotiation and management skillsets, just drop us a line.
Managing Director, Sun and Moon Training