By accident or design the last few weeks have been about creating visions and goals that are actionable. Not just the process of checking a box, but actually performing on what you need to do. A real accountability tool chest that assures you and you staff that you will let your actions rise above your excuses in 2021.
If you have been following along, you are now using mind mapping along with colored transparencies to pull and put down on paper the challenges, visions, and actions you must take to make this year as great as 2020 was horrible. The next step will be giving you a tool to make goal setting consistent, scalable, and understandable with your team. Hopefully after reviewing last year’s performance and mind mapping a vision for the challenges of this year, you are now ready to partner with your staff to execute on your plans. Goal setting is the final step. It acts as a contract with your team and yourself to confirm the plan and commit to its completion.
Every practice management course begins with the advice to write down your goals. And every time the word “goal” is uttered a groan arises from the audience. But if it weren’t so important, why would every expert in practice management say the same thing? The experts are in agreement on at least one thing! You have to know where you want to go before you can plan how to get there.
Have you taken the time to reflect on your goals? For some, the end goal will be money. But don’t get into the trap of equating money with happiness. Money and happiness are not the same. While you can absolutely have both, you should never confuse the two. Some of you may desire more time off from your practice but feel trapped in meeting your obligations. Still others want to excel in clinical competence and become famous within the dental profession.
Certainly, these are all worthwhile goals. It is even possible to have more than one goal; more often than not most dentists do. Unfortunately, these goals are often ill defined and a good portion of life can be wasted in a sea of confusion.
Far too often we at Summit invest the time and effort to share the visions and goals you have for your practice only to find that the goals are only a fanciful wish list. Probably every doctor we have spoken with claims to have goals, yet produces few results. Written, balanced goals with a time frame for completion always produce results. In an effort to compare apples to apples, we have created a framework for your goals. It will take a little time and effort. The rewards will be an unerring vision to the future producing results today.
To this point we have talked about dentists having goals, but it is as important for team members to have goals as it is for the dentist. For dentists to reach their own goals, they have to help team members reach their goals. If no one on the team has any goals, then all of you will go nowhere fast. Some dental teams entrust their future to the government, their employer or their spouse, so they fail to see the need for personal goals. The sad truth is: Social Security faces a dismal and uncertain future. Corporations of all sizes are eliminating benefits. Marriages are failing at a rate of 50%, and for those fortunate enough to remain married, there is an 80% chance your spouse, if a male, will precede you in death. The bottom line is, most women live out the last years of their lives alone, taking care of themselves. The amount of money you will have to live on at the end of your life has everything to do with what you do with your money today. For decades I have been coming to you weekly, to encourage you to help move your practice upward to higher levels of success. But don’t think that Summit is just here to make the doctor rich. Your team’s personal success is tied directly to the practice’s success. The more the practice grows, the more money becomes available for bonuses and the more opportunities you will have to reach your personal goals and ensure your own future.
Goal setting is recognized as perhaps the strongest of all forces for personal motivation toward the cultivation of leadership abilities. Goal setting is the act that makes everything else possible. It adds aim to energy, focuses talent, and even structures time.
Before you will be able to inspire your team and even yourself, you must understand goal setting. You must analyze yourself and be able to define your own goals. These goals will form the framework for your practice vision.
In 1953, the graduating class of Yale University was asked three questions dealing with goals.
- Have you established goals?
- Have you written them down?
- Do you have a plan to accomplish them?
Only 3% answered yes to these questions. Twenty years later, in 1973, surviving members of the class of 1953 participated in another study. The 3% who had said yes to goals were more happily married, more successful, had a better family life, and were in better health. And 97% of the net worth of the class of 1953 was in the hands of this 3%.
When Macy’s came under union pressure to promote more managers from within, they set up a New York University course to teach management skills and even offered to pay the tuition of the interested employees. Less than 3% signed up.
You can’t hit a target you can’t see. You must have focus. There are three basic rules.
- Goals must be written down.
- Realistic plans must be made for their accomplishment.
- Deadlines must be set and honored.
Peter Drucker said, “The common denominator of all successful people is a perfect balance between thought and action.”
Failure is inevitable; you just shouldn’t link it to giving up.
Did you know that 5 out of 10 people avoid setting goals because they’re simply afraid they’ll feel bad if they don’t reach them? When people are unsuccessful in goal setting and leadership development, it is usually because they don’t know where to begin.
When you identify your goals, you will begin to sense the power of your own talents, abilities, and capacity to effect changes in yourself. You will emerge from underneath hindering circumstances that have previously limited you and establish a more concrete leadership direction. You will be more goal directed and achievement-motivated, and as a result, will develop a non-limiting belief in yourself and your ability to lead that will inevitably carry you to whatever heights of achievement you envision.
Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts. Proverbs 24:3-4 (TLB)
The starting point of all achievement is desire. Napoleon Hill
Whatever the mind can conceive…and you can bring yourself to believe…you can achieve! Napoleon Hill
Below, you will find a link to a goal sheet that we use with our teams as well as a tool for myself. There is something about verbalizing your vision in the form of a written goal that adds feet to your strategies. Take the time and create at least a single goal with each of your team members. Help them with the goal and assist them in completing this goal sheet. Store it in their HR folder and be sure and set a deadline and a point where you follow up to make sure they are focused on its completion. WIIFM poses the question: What’s In It For Me? There has to be a benefit before a commitment is made. Get started today and redefine your future. The affirmation is a single sentence that describes the benefits of the goal’s accomplishment. NOTE: Let them fill in all the reasons that they cannot accomplish this goal, then make sure you help them come up with twice as many reasons and solutions for making it a reality.
This is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS