I felt dirty – like someone would see me sneaking around and I would have to explain what I was doing.

It was late on a Thursday night when I walked into the dental laboratory with my wife and decided to get the bunsen burner going (just for old time sake).  As I looked around, I saw many similarities to my wood shop but on a much smaller level.  Naturally, I decided to play around and touch things.  That’s just how I am.

After I decided to act my age, I began to recognize some interesting aspects to a dental lab that I hadn’t thought about.  I made the move to transform my wive’s procrastination into a mental exercise for myself.  What I came up with was 5 important lessons for any organization:

  1. The tools – This 15′ x 8′ room seemed to have every dental tool possible (and then some more).  We may not use every tool that we physically or mentally have acquired, but there will come a time when that specific tool will help you go further than any other tool.
  2. The sharps box – Despite the drills, bunsen burner, grinders, wet floor, etc. all acting against my safety, the sharps box was of good size and at a central location in the room.  Make sure that you have the basics covered in your organization.  Laws and policies need to be in place, while freedom is also given to explore and create.
  3. The gadget hanging off of the table – Some things in the lab didn’t make any sense, this gadget being one.  But when my wife turned it on and used it for it’s purpose, I came to understand it’s usefullness.  Do not be fooled by out of place individuals and activities in your organization.  At one time or another, that weird thing worked.  On the flip side, innovate new ways that make no sense to an outsider.
  4. Labels… for everything – Yes, stone and other materials and powder gave the first impression of “nasty” but after being in the lab for a bit, there was never any question as to where every tool and material was housed.  Your company can always benefit from more organization and cleaning.  Personally, you may be able to deal with the clutter and mishap, but with more than one person utilizing a space, organization becomes a key piece to your productivity.
  5. The vibrator – When mixing compounds to make molds, a vibrator allows the air pockets to go away to help with mere flawless compound formation.  Good technology and seemingly useless products will work for your organization and not against it.  Do not second guess the usefulness of such items, or your productiveness and quality may suffer.

So next time you find yourself in an unfamiliar territory, take a second to take in your surroundings and give in to a great learning experience.  Ideate and pursue a better understanding of how your life is impacted by other’s professions.