The Clarity Edge

I saw my dentist this week.

A simple crown adjustment. A minor visit.

Dr. Fishner wasn’t there, so Dr. Schwartz took care of me.

Both are fine dentists. Both are likeable human beings.

And I liked Dr. Schwartz better.

I knew it within seconds. I was startled by this insight because Dr. Fishner is my regular dentist, and I like Dr. Fishner a lot.

What, I thought to myself, was Dr. Schwartz’s edge in this routine professional exchange?


Yes, Dr. Schwartz had the clarity edge. This is what clarity looked like:

  1. Crisp yet not curt.

Directions to me and to the dental assistant were precise and easy to follow. Precise can easily become curt. Crisp can feel hurried. Dr. Schwartz walked the beautiful line of a crisp calm.

 It was supremely comforting.

  1. Efficient yet not robotic.

Well-honed behavior runs the risk of becoming too polished. Too hollow. Transactional without being personal. Amid the efficiency of this particular transaction, I felt fully tended to every inch of the way.

 It was supremely comforting.

  1. Confident yet not cocky.

There was a quiet authority to Dr. Schwartz’s commands. It wasn’t the “let me be your cheerleader” kind. No, more like the “this is not a big deal” kind of authority. The “let’s not have any unnecessary drama” kind of authority. 

 It was supremely comforting.

 Putting a crown back in place is an entirely routine task for Dr. Schwartz.

I did not feel like I received routine treatment.

Crisp, efficient, confident inspired confidence in me.

When we keep a routine fresh, we are walking the clarity edge.

I was buoyed by the clean professionalism of this encounter. The ease with which it unfolded.

That was the clarity impact.

Consider the tasks in your work week that are routine behavior for you.

Giving feedback on a document. Coaching a colleague. 

Explaining a regulation. Attending a mandatory meeting.

You do it every week.

What is the clarity you bring to this task? What does your clarity edge look like?

Define it. Bring it.

It will be supremely comforting to everyone you work with.