Whenever I visit dental practices, I’m always surprised by the fact that so few have a clearly defined picture of where they would like to be in the future; which, of course, means that it’s very hard for the team to contribute to the achievement of the practice. As the old saying goes – if you don’t know where you’re going… all roads lead there.
So, why not find some time over the next week or two to develop a simple plan for the coming year.
So, where do you start? That’s easy…at the end.
Ask yourself, ‘What does my practice look like twelve months from today if our plan was achieved?’ This is where the word vision comes from – it’s about creating a visualisation of what the future looks like.
So, do you see your practice with more patients in twelve months’ time? Are you delivering new treatments? Has the make-up of your team changed to become more effective? Are you more profitable, or have you moved to a new and better premise?
The greater the detail that you can work into your vision, the more real it becomes, and the easier it is for your team members to buy into it. Once you have a clear picture of where you WILL be this time next year, start to think about the things that are clearly measurable and create goals for the practice around them.
For example, we will increase our income by 20%, or 25% of the treatments we will be carrying out in twelve months’ time will be different from those that we deliver now.
The key with goal setting is to push yourself to set stretching goals – goals that will force you out of your comfort zone and encourage you and your team to do things different and better, not just incrementally better. It’s about the ends driving the means, not the existing means limiting the ends.
Now you have clear targets, which is great because with those targets clearly defined, you can now start to think about your strategy. Obviously, the targets that you’ve set won’t be achieved simply by ‘carrying on as normal’ – something has to change. What needs to change? What new treatments might you introduce, what training do you need to deliver them, how will you communicate the new services to your patients, how much will they cost? These are the things that will ensure the goals are achieved and the vision is realised.
And finally, what are you going to do today, tomorrow and the next day to make these strategies happen? Break things down into everyday tasks that will start you along the journey. Who has responsibility for what and when will they be expected to have carried out their tasks?
If you follow this simple approach to planning, you will have a strong and measurable plan for the year ahead. All you and your team have to do is make it happen!
Good luck and have a successful 2015