You may not realize it, but there is a tool that is too often forgotten (or never considered at all) that can be the start of taking back control of your practice and life. This strategy and word were never used prior to the early 1860’s. Its use today doesn’t carry the strong implication it had during its inception. Let me give you a little history to chew on. Most of us have deadlines in our lives. We do this in an effort to feel as though we are actually engaged in something useful, rather than simply procrastinating. If you are reading this because you feel pressured by some deadline that is hanging over your head, you can relax a bit, since no one is going to kill you for missing it. Strangely enough that was not always the case. People would actually be killed for crossing a “deadline”.
Leadership is one of those things that most of us have to work on daily. For me, a deadline helps me rethink my schedule and current obligations in order to finish a task by a particular time or day. With a deadline, I have added a more concrete commitment to this task. I have decided that I must finish it within or on a specific time, no matter what happens. For me, business life has a structured schedule with expected results, much like our clinical schedule. I strive to engineer a thought-out path for each day to reach a predetermined result. Deadlines put a focus on any goal you might make. Much like a magnifying glass, deadlines focus our thoughts and efforts.
While many of us set deadlines for ourselves, we often miss the simplicity of creating a phantom pressure for our team by setting a due date or finish by date for any task we delegate. Deadlines signify that from this point until the deadline is completed, you must reorganize your schedule in an effort to knock this down.
When we look back to the origin of the word deadline, we find it originated from the American Civil War. The deadline was simply a line drawn in the ground. Any civil war prisoner who crossed the line was shot dead. Hence the term deadline.
We are well past our first quarter of the year, and for many this year, like past years, has not put us on course for a 15%-20% growth in new patients, revenue, and profitability. There is still time to act. Still time to change. Take the time to measure your progress for the first few months of the year and set a goal to do better. Share what you find with your team, and delegate tasks to improve everything next month. Don’t settle for anything less than a personal best for you and the practice. That’s how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS
PS. We have recently created a YouTube channel and have uploaded quite a few videos covering many of the same topics you read about in these blog posts/articles. Check it out:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4KBldLG41o1BWCY2AzeIqw/ (then click VIDEOS)