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The Power of 3

Posted by Paul on 7/26/2013 1:41:00 PM

The churning waters of Lake Michigan were an apt backdrop for the recent ADA Management Conference in Chicago. This gathering of constituent and state staff from around the country were handed some pretty sobering news on the state of association life in general and ADA membership in particular. The message was clear: radical changes are coming to dentistry and we must adapt quickly and aggressively in order to maintain relevance and continue to deliver value in membership.
Vicki Wilbers, Patrick Baker, and I split duties and sat in on a variety of presentations but we all agreed that the vibe was the same. How can we improve? How can we make changes for the next wave without abandoning our main base - the baby boomers who have stoutly led and led well for so many years?
While all the notes are too much to cover in this arena, we are giving serious thought to a number of issue. Change is difficult. There's no guarantee that new efforts will succeed. But we can't stay the course and expect different results. Our strategies will require input from all and a little bravery and time as well. It's exciting and a little scary all at the same time.
I will tip my hat to the ADA. Between the recent ADA ND conference and this event, I can tell that leadership is putting money and energy into addressing this. They have welcomed inputfrom all stakeholders. You can see the round table discussion above. It was lively and well received as everyone shared what they see in the day to dayof association work. I can respect those who take on difficult tasks and motivate others to join. The ADAhas an aggressive plan to add 9,000 members in the next 3 years. Those efforts start at the grass root level where we live.
Allow meto mention a few items in the works. There is the Power of 3. The tripartite model has served dentistry well as each level offers different resources. But with growth there is often duplication. The discussion now centers on what each level does best. It makes us at the MDA take a hard look at what should be doing and what do we need to stop doing. There are also some new resources to be unveiled soon. One is primarily for new dentists called the Center for Professional Success. Members find value when succeed in their profession. This often updated site will offer all manner of tools and resources to help the new dentist flourish regardless of practice model. Another idea is the Member Service University. This is designed to help the staff provide better direction to every inquiry. Excellent service should be a hallmark throughout the tripartite. And of course theAction for Dental Health continues to grow and develop as the primary strategy "to reduce the proportion of adults and children with untreated dental decay through multiple interventions, early diagnosis and risk assessment, disease management and health education, and by preventing disease before it starts."
There may be some stormy seas but I left the conference with a sense that the ship would prevail! All hands were on deck and the challenge should invigorate us all.

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