Goal Achievement for Your Practice

DECEMBER 26, 2017
Robert M. Pick, DDS, MS, FACD, FICD
goals,determination,physician,achievementOne of the many facets of running your practice, and running your life is the creation and achievement of goals. It doesn't matter if these goals are big, small or off the charts — if the proper methodology and work necessary is employed, goals can be achieved. Achieving goals is a super thrill, and once you discover how to make goals achievable, you then want to do it again and again.

With this article being focused on goal achievement for your practice, I feel the best place to set goals is at a biannual, away from the office, business teambuilding retreat that my team and I affectionately call the “PBR!” — for The Pick Business Retreat. The PBR itself will be a future article, but in summation, it's where you take the time with no office distractions to complete everything from developing your office mission, vision and culture statements, to understanding how to get new patients through the door, personality profiling (DISC) 1. for a 99% case acceptance rate, the amazing Golden Circle of why you do what you do, social media, and much more.

There are also teambuilding exercises, you look at your KPI’s, your production, a business SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), and a STEW (satisfy the customer, team, extra mile, and the wow factor in all that you do), your collection, and most importantly, your goals!  

Now that you get a brief idea of what the PBR! is, let’s get back to the business of goal achievement.  

To begin on your business retreat agenda, set the correct time aside for goals. You as the CEO are the team leader, but it is so important to go around the room with all of those in attendance to also hear what their goals would be from their perspective, and what their goals would be if they were running the practice functioning as the CEO. 

In my opinion I feel by involving the team, you empower them, they are made to feel important, they are made to feel as if they are an integral part of your team, and with that, they will work harder and faster to help you achieve your goals.

There are 9 steps in order to create and achieve your goals:

Step 1: To Begin You Must Create The Goal. As an example, you want to increase your gross production by 20% over the next year — that becomes your goal. Also to some extent, make sure the goal is reasonable and not so far out of the solar system that no matter what is done, it's just not achievable. 

It is always important to set big goals but you have to be reasonable. In other words, if you are a solo practitioner, with 5 employees, and you are producing $850,000.00 a year (gross production), to say you want to produce 4 million the next year, is pretty much a non-obtainable goal. However, a 20% increase is much more achievable than the 4 million. If you are able to increase by 20%, you then have the ability to jump your practice from a gross production of $850,000.00 to a gross production of $1,020.000.00. Not bad!

Step 2: Figure Out The Method To Achieve The Goal. The reason most goals are never achieved, is because the method to achieve the goal is never figured out. This takes time, planning, analytical and cerebral thought — it takes a team and of course the right methodology. So as per the example used, if you want to increase your total production number by 20%, how are you going to achieve it, what is the method? 

As an example, you may want to state, starting the next practice day where applicable, all fees will be increased by 10% and you are going to look more closely at when FMX’s are due and then take them accordingly. The need for the FMX will be reported on in the morning huddles. You may also begin to focus more on comprehensive dentistry and spending where applicable, more quality time educating patients to quality, comprehensive, dentistry needed.   

Finally, you may focus on an increase of new patients through the door. These examples will all lead to an increase in production – and hence giving you the method to achieve the goal!

Step 3: Set A Time Frame. Again, analytically think out the timeframe needed to make this happen. It will not occur overnight, but you also do not want to set a goal for something that will take 3 years to achieve. This is something that hopefully can be achievable in a 1-year timeframe, therefore set the goal for 12 months. Write this down and make sure the entire team knows this. 

Step 4: Remove Roadblocks. Roadblocks come in many forms both internal and external. Believe it or not, it has been well proven that fear and self-doubt can be major obstacles to success. You must also begin by looking at yourself. Is there anything in your personality, abilities, temperament, habits, education, etc., that could be holding you back? Always look to increase your knowledge and skill to help overcome any of this. Habits are also so important and will be a topic for another article.

Further, preventing someone from moving forward can occur especially if the goal is not realized, if there is embarrassment, fear of failure, or rejection. If you do not move, push, and have great tenacity, you will never get your goals. Even if for some reason, you shoot for 20% and only achieve 18.5%, big deal. You still improved by 18.5% and you landed at $1,007,250.00. And at the next business retreat, you start the process all over again. Other roadblocks can be certain team members that are not fully on board.  This is why a business retreat is so important to put everybody on the same page and get them highly motivated. 

Step 5: Measure Progress. As you want to make sure you are achieving the above goal, the progress needs to be measured on a timely basis. As an example, each month look at your combined totals on your daily production and collection sheets. You want to look at your monthly production versus your monthly production of the year prior and the month before. Your daily Morning Huddle Sheet (as I call it), should have many things including how many new patients you have received, each individual providers production and collection, the prior year’s numbers, projected numbers, next available blocks (new patient exam, crown and bridge time, scaling and root planning, etc.). 2

Step 6: Review Your Goals Daily. At every morning huddle, your goal and methods to achieve the goal, regarding this production increase, must be mentioned and reviewed.2  Also, you yourself must personally review not only this goal but your other goals, and of course the method to achieve the goals each day, as this is important. 

You also must believe deeply in your goal, that nothing can stop you. You want these goals deeply locked into your subconscious mind so they take on a power of their own.  Another trick in goal setting is to write down your goals, even if you have already accomplished them. Therefore, instead of writing down I want to be a $1 million plus practice, I am a $1 million practice! 

Finally, the first thing in the morning, and the last thing in the evening, when there are hopefully no disturbances, review your goals and the methods to achieve them.

Step 7: Visualize Your Goals and Think Big: Visualize your goals and imagine them as if they have been achieved in the future. As an example, if you have an amazing practice day where you were over the daily goal, hygiene was over its daily goal, all recommended treatment was scheduled, all FMX’s due were taken, a record number of new patients called and scheduled, and several patients excepted comprehensive treatment that you proposed, you want to remember this day — place it in your conscious and subconscious brain, and remember it often. The more frequent this memory and visualization occurs with vividness, accuracy and intensity, the more it will occur as a reality, period.

Always think big and never think small. I always state, shoot for a different solar system and if you land on Mars that is quite okay. You have to think big in order to achieve your goals. It's one of the cornerstones of maximum success. 

Another action that can help with visualization are vision boards. Vision boards can be done personally, or what I recommend, is that they are done by all team members at one of your biannual “PBRs!” In brief, vision boards are tools which are used to effectively clarify, and maintain extreme focus on specific goals that either you or your practice has. 

The vision board displays multiple images (oftentimes cut out from magazines or articles), that represent what you want to be and most importantly those particular goals.  That vision board can therefore be looked at frequently as another reminder of the goals.  As an example, my latest vision board, is hung inside my personal office closet door, so each morning I see it when I open the door to hang my coat up, and grab one of my lab coats for the day.

Step 8: Create Good Habits Along The Way: The one and only Brian Tracy has an amazing quote on habits and it goes like this, “Good habits are hard to form but easy to live with, bad habits are easy to form but tough to live with.” And if you think about that quote, it is so very true.

It is said that habits oftentimes take a minimum of 21 days to begin to form. Habits take hard work, daily repetition, eagle sharp focus and the drive to create and achieve the habit daily. Also discover your triggers and obstacles, get help from a mentor if you need to, and as per the above, devise the plan to achieve the habit. Once the habit is there, and it's a good habit, it will be repeated automatically and take you to new levels. 

Step 9: Celebrate When the Goal is Achieved!  This for sure is the most fun step in goal achievement. When your team is involved and they helped to achieve the goal, I think it's important to celebrate. The celebration is up to you — but it can involve taking your team out for dinner, catering in a lunch from their favorite restaurant, a bonus. When you do celebrate, it excites the team, and motivates them work hard toward the next goal.

In conclusion, if you set your goals, create the method to achieve the goals, and follow steps 1 through 9. As a reinforcement of your goals, at every morning huddle, the 5 to 6 most important goals should be read aloud so everybody knows them and it is subliminally engrained into everyone’s brain. 

References:
  1. Pick, R.M. “Do You DISC? Strategies for Different Personalities in Your Practice.” Dentist’s Money Digest. September 26, 2017.
  2. Pick, R.M. “Dental Practice Success Starts with the Morning Huddle.” Dentist’s Money Digest. March 13, 2017
Dr. Pick is the CEO of his own consulting and coaching firm, The Pick Group, LLC., He can be reached at 773-402-8933 or by e-mail at drpick@thepickgroup.com.  He is also in private practice in Aurora, Illinois.  

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