A fresh start for the New Year – who doesn’t love a chance for a fresh start?  Well now is your opportunity for you and your dental team. I’m not talking about a New Year’s resolution. Those are promises we make to ourselves and slip away from within two months or so. I read recently that only 8% of people follow through with their New Year’s resolutions. Your practice is a business and a business needs to be more intentional about making and sticking to annual goals. It’s really not that difficult when you follow a few simple steps.

First of all, as an owner of the practice, think about your personal goals for 2014 using these 3 questions:

Who do you want to Be?
What do you want to Do?
What do you want to Have?

Be. Do. Have. Now write down your responses to these questions. Yes, write them down. Unless written, a goal is a wish or a dream. Many studies over the years have shown unequivocally that people who write their goals achieve more results meeting their goals than those who only think about them or talk about them.

Secondly, think about your dental practice. Relate your personal goals to your business and consider how the business can be a catalyst to help you meet your personal goals. Use the same “Be-Do-Have” model:

What do you want your practice to Be?
What do you want to Do?
What do you want to Have?

When it comes to your practice 2014 goals, engage your team in the “Be-Do-Have” discussion and documentation for setting new goals. Your team has a vested interest in the practice succeeding and they have the possibility for increasing the wealth of ideas for actions to set in place to achieve your goals.  Plan to set aside about 3 consecutive hours for your goal setting process. Have a team member prepare to facilitate the discussions − the doctor does not have to run the discussions. Review the results met in 2013. Celebrate the successes. Discuss the hurdles last year and problem solve for ways to avoid those hurdles in the New Year.

As you begin writing the goals for 2014 based on all the rich discussions described above, keep in mind the acronym for goal setting – SMART.

Specific
Motivational
Achievable
Relevant
Trackable

Specific – If your goal statement is too broad, you could spin wheels going in too many directions. For example, “Increase our production,” is a very broad goal versus, “Reduce voids in our hygiene schedules.” If you succeed in reducing holes in hygiene, you will increase production but it will be very targeted and your dental team will take specific, intentional actions to get there.

Motivational – Michael LeBoeuf, PhD says “That which is rewarded is repeated.” So plan to formally acknowledge every successful accomplishment of your goals. This can be verbally and occasionally in some monetary way. Celebrate the small victories along the way.

Attainable – For production goals, use your 2013 monthly average plus a notch higher. Take into account the percent you will raise your fees plus some small attainable increase to keep the team motivated.

Relevant – Align any of your goals with your practice mission statement, your values and with the “Be-Do-Have” list for the practice.

Trackable – Keep records of quantifiable goals. Use your regular team meetings to review your results and remember how to motivate your team – and yourself –to keep focused and moving forward.

Follow this process and you will kick your new year off in your practice with a definite fresh start!

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