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  • Tanya Norton

Skill versus Talent

The dentist looks inside the patient’s mouth. He completes his examination, makes an assessment and proposes treatment. The proposed treatment considers only two things. What’s going on inside the patient’s mouth and her ability to pay.


The dentist knows he can fix the problem. He wants to do a good job. This is the work he’s trained for twenty years to do. But his training hasn’t equipped him to see that treatment isn’t only about executing flawless fillings. A good dentist assesses the mouth, then fills the tooth to relieve the pain. A great dentist looks the patient in the eye and understands why she’s worried about having a broken tooth before he thinks about drilling.


Proficiency and competence are a given. What patients, clients and customers want is someone who has the talent to see their problems in context. A professional who knows that they are more than the sum of their challenges and the contents of the wallets.


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