The power of goal setting has changed my life. I believe every business, (yes, your practice is a business) should set goals, as “you don’t know where you are going unless you set a destination”.
Goals give you permission to say “no” more easily because if something doesn’t get you closer to your goal why are you doing it. In this world of constant distraction, it cleanses the mind and makes decision making efficient and transparent.
The model I am sharing is what I use. It is a sequential, systematic approach to help get you to where you want to go. While it may seem linear there is an art to goal setting. Deep thought should be put into where you want to go because dentists generally are very determined and you will achieve your goals – just make sure they are the right ones.
Step 1. – Set the goal
It is very important to set goals but take it a step further. Smart people set SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound. As they say, a goal without a deadline is a dream. Be specific as you can, create a measurement for the desired outcome, determine if it is achievable, be realistic and set your time frame within the realm of reason.
The secondary benefit of SMART goals is that you have to write steps on paper. It makes you think and incongruences become obvious. Subliminally, it also allows you to commit or to set aside an undesirable goal.
Step 2 Where are you now?
As Dr. Phil’s says “you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge”. 100 times of 100 times, you will find you have a gap between where you are now and where you want to go – your goal. The important point here is to be honest with yourself. Don’t “sugar coat” your position and by the same token don’t underestimate your potential, “remember a job begun is a job half done”.
Step 3 Collaboration
Once you identify the gaps between your desired state and where you are, the gap, it is time for collaboration. Collaboration is a process of seeking out advice from others who want to see you succeed and can be honest with you. The best collaboration occurs when you develop multiple solutions from multiple people without judging the ideas put forth.
You will be amazed how people want to help if you just ask them – everyone has an opinion. The “social contract” is to be prepared to help them towards their goals at a later time – in other words to have their back when the time comes. Further, you have to say thank you and honour them by taking action or be able to explain why you did not.
Step 4 Decide and Adjust
Collaboration creates options. It is so important to decide on what you are going to do, take action and adjust. The key point here is taking action or if the options aren’t in alignment with your SMART goal to not take action hastily. Staying still is easy; moving forward with the right intention is creates results.
I believe in taking imperfect action. Never, and I mean never, will the pursuit of a goal take you on a straight-line journey. The well-known analogy is that an airplane files a route but is off course 98% of the time, but micro adjustments keep it heading to the destination. Well, the same is true for you in the pursuit of your goals. A big part of adjusting is just to recognize when you have to adjust and take corrective action. There will always be obstacles but if the goal is worthy of pursuing you will get there.
Step 1. Set the Smart goal
Step 2. Acknowledge where true starting point is
Step 3. Collaborate and get the best ideas on the table
Step 4. Decide and take action knowing you will have to adjust
I hope this works as well for you as well as it has for me.