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Book Freview: Dream Makers ...

June 1, 2004
Today's practice demands require that women dentists lead the profession with their vision and values.
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Today's practice demands require that women dentists lead the profession with their vision and values. Having been mentored in large part by values and norms within dental schools and other organized leadership structures, many women have voiced to me their concern about how to create a practice that suits them. "Dream Makers: Putting Vision and Values To Work," by Michele Hunt, is just the ticket for tailoring a practice based on your dreams and visions to achieve your potential. It also provides a matrix to design your practice around the only constant in today's dental practice — change.

Ms. Hunt is a leadership change catalyst who explores leadership philosophy in her book about visionary leaders and their extraordinary values. What are the attributes of visionary leaders? What are the characteristics of outstanding businesses in today's world based on tomorrow's vision for the future? What is needed to maximize productivity? What types of changes can maximize new models for the woman-owned practice?

I was drawn to this book because it talks about the practice and the work environment as a pathway to supporting autonomy and effective decision-making and foster creativity. Admonished for laughing in a government agency with the words, "That's not professional," she writes, "I have thought about this remark often, and about the environment we've created where we expect people to be all that they can be and contribute their gifts, yet where, at the same time, laughter is considered unprofessional or inappropriate." Hunt's book calls for a rethinking of perspectives and basic assumptions about how people learn, work, and grow.

In environments where trust in religious institutions, governments, and corporations is eroding through fraud and abuse of power, establishing and reclaiming the trust of team members and patients will be even more necessary to maximize productivity. Holding up your vision and values is integral. This book is a must for the woman dentist who wants to lead by inspiring team members and expanding opportunities for growth.

The author notes several core underpinnings of leading businesses. "Dreammakers ...

  1. Express vision and values.
  2. Understand that we are all connected and interdependent.
  3. Support diversity and honor the integrity and contribution of all people.
  4. Value and nurture interpersonal relationships.
  5. Make their dreams a reality.
  6. Are both passionate and compassionate.
  7. Believe in a higher power and purpose.
  8. Demonstrate responsibility toward a larger community.
  9. Are committed to making the world a better place."

At age 46, the author traded in her life experiences to "put them to work for my personal vision and contribute in a more meaningful way, unconstrained by the structure of organizations." This is a must-read for new, transition, or tired practices. Just reading this helped me renew my own vision for the future.

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Margaret I. Scarlett, DMD
Dr. Scarlett is the science and women's health editor of Woman Dentist Journal. An accomplished clinician, scientist, and lecturer, she is retired from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You may contact her by email at megscarlett@