I saw this post on New Year’s Eve and it got me thinking...applying this idea to goal setting for your practice could easily become an overwhelming task and potentially stop you from starting the year off headed in the right direction.
"Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.”
So, to help you take your first step, here are some simple actions you can take to get your practice headed in the right direction this year:
Acknowledge your wins from last year
I sat down this weekend and wrote out last year's wins for Front Office GURU. It was a great activity and it helped me see that this was a great year for my business. I was able to give myself credit for things done well and it was a positive action as I move into 2018. Instead of focusing on some of the well-learned mistakes, I looked at what got me where I am today, and it gave me a great start for the new year.
Acknowledging your wins has 2 benefits: First, when you acknowledge your wins you are focusing on things done well and you can brighten your attitude toward the new year and bolster your resolve to set more goals, so you continue to win. Take the time needed to identify wins – no matter how small.
Second, and I find this most important, when you look at what worked and take note, you are better able to reproduce the actions that led you to have the wins.
Suggestion: When you write down your practice wins from last year.
Take stock of the practice’s setbacks as well
How can our losses or failed attempts help us? I’ve found that taking stock of the losses (not dwelling on them but acknowledging them) has helped me avoid making the same mistakes as I plan and implement in the new year. I don’t dwell on our losses or some of the mistakes I made. I take an honest look and then use what I found to put in policy or create systems to prevent it from happening again.
And that’s something you can do as well. Take a moment and make a quick list of things that didn’t go according to plan last year. Then take the time to analyze what went wrong and what could change so it doesn't happen again.
Focus on YOUR goals; not someone else’s.
As Mike and I built and later expanded our practice, I caught myself worrying about or focusing on what other practice owners were doing instead of staying focused on what was right for us. Every time one of us did that, our practice growth stalled or declined. Another thing I noticed as I built Phase 2, I got a lot of well-meaning advice, but it resulted in confusion because it wasn’t right for me.
Your practice is different that everyone else’s so don’t set goals that someone else is setting for their practice and don’t let someone else tell you what you should be working toward, because it may not be right for you.
Someone I admire once posted: “Don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20.” It really hit home for me and I realized how much I had done that over the years and how it was detrimental to my success.
When you’re doing your planning for the year, set goals that work for you and don’t compare yourself or your practice to anyone else. And don’t ask someone else what your goals should be. Your goals are yours and they have to have meaning for you in order for you to be willing and able to work on them.
What one big thing goal do you want to achieve this year?
Establish a 'quarterly practice plan'.
Take your big goal from #3 and break it down into 4 achievable parts that will be worked on one-by-one, quarter-by-quarter. Make sure that you put them in sequential order so each quarter builds on the last until you achieve your goal.
For each quarterly goal you will need to write up a list of actions and systems that are necessary for the practice to achieve that segment of the long-term goal.
When you break it apart, it doesn’t seem as daunting of a task and you can see wins as you move along. You won’t be as likely to freeze up or become overwhelmed and you’ll be more likely to take action.
Don’t forget to set due dates for actions and systems to be completed. Without a date, it isn’t a goal and you won’t be as likely to meet that segment on time and that will put you behind for the year. Give yourself and the practice small targets to meet throughout the quarter so you will have wins as you achieve your targets.
Put your focus on your goal
You may have a list of 50 things to accomplish but which actions will help you achieve your goal? Last year, I asked an owner I was working with to write down all the things that needed to be done right now to expand the practice. There were over 25 things on that list! I’ve personally found myself in the same boat when I was in the practice and even as I progressed through my first year building my business. When your list is too long you get distracted and you cannot focus on each separate task. A good friend always used to remind me that “you can only where one hat at a time”. If you apply that to your practice you can stay on track.
Also, we often have great intentions but then other “great ideas or offers” appear and they pull us off track. Focus on the actions and systems needed to achieve your quarterly and yearly goal. Feel free to keep a notebook of other ideas but stay true to your main goal and the actions needed to achieve it this year.
If something is pulling you off track, take note of what it is and determine if it is necessary or if there’s something you’re struggling with that’s making you get off track. Then get yourself back on track.
Don’t ponder or stress over the past. You cannot change it. And don’t focus too hard on the future as it isn’t here yet. By being present you can focus on what needs to happen now and work on the actions needed to achieve your quarterly goal.
Get your staff involved!
Many times, as owners who started out as the only staff member or maybe one of only two people, we have a hard time letting things go or giving up responsibilities. Guess what? YOU are not the practice’s only employee (unless you’re a business run by one person) so you need to get the entire practice involved in working toward this goal.
A good friend calls her practice goals their “big-hairy- audacious goals” and she gets her entire team involved. When your whole practice is aware of the practice goals and when they are all working toward this goal, you will be more likely to achieve it so get your team on board and working with you to achieve success.
Reassess where you’re at each quarter.
In the last week of each quarter, make sure that you have set aside time to evaluate your progress. As you write out your yearly plan, make sure you set that time aside right now and set a reminder on your calendar. If you are still treating, make sure you block that time off on your schedule, so you aren’t scheduled to see patients. And hold yourself accountable to sit down and evaluate where you are in your success.
Don’t let missed visits slow your practice growth. Coaching and training front office staff is like planting a seed. Don't wait for that rainy day. Start now.
Wishing you the best, today and always!
I started Front Office GURU to forward the private practice industry and ensure that practice owners had a way to expand and help their practice THRIVE, not just survive...and I've done it over and over again!
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