GOALS 2007: Part 1
You set goals for your chiropractic practice, right? Maybe you do it on a monthly basis. Some chiropractors even set weekly and daily goals. Almost everyone decides on a goal or two at the beginning of each New Year.
This is good, usually.
Goals help you to focus your energies towards outcomes that help you survive and succeed. Without goals, it is easier to become distracted. At the end of the day, month, or year, you can look back and realize that, even though you were very busy, you may not have gotten much done. And in business, what counts in the end is what you get done.
But there are dangers in setting goals too. I have seen staff meetings where goals were set and after an initial flurry of activity for a week or so, the office numbers crashed to the basement and stayed there for months afterward.
Setting your goals is a function of managing your business. But just throwing out a number for a goal can be a lazy way to manage. It omits many key elements that have to be in place for goals to work.
Here is a list of seven critical factors that can help you achieve the goals you set for the New Year.
- Set Time Aside to Plan Your Goals. Goal setting is working on your business. As a doctor, you spend most of your time working in your business. The ratio varies, depending on the condition of things, but it should never be less than 5% of your time, and can take as much as 30% of your time when you are just starting out, or rebuilding.
- Outcome Goals First. Usually, goals are set for certain office statistics such as income, office visits, and new patients. These represent the results of excellent service and procedures. There are many other outcomes for which goals can also be set.
These are simply numbers, of course, but they represent the outcomes of hard work excellently applied. We often look at these as “scores” that show how well our health care “team” played, doctor(s) included. This puts it into a less serious but still highly focused frame of reference.
The numbers are very important. They represent real outcomes that are not open to much interpretation. The money comes in and you can pay your staff. If the money doesn’t come in, they are out of a job and you cant pay for your kid’s education. Successful doctors watch the numbers daily. Doctors that are not successful seem to have distaste for monitoring their practice statistics.
There is a downside to this: you can become so caught up in the numbers that what they represent gets forgotten. An office that becomes too focused on just the numbers can get overly stressed and fail. The goals represent, ultimately, “helped people.” To achieve your goals, you have to push sometimes. The key is to push on and care about what those numbers represent, and what makes those numbers go up, such as procedures.
- Procedure Goals Second. Improve your procedures. Set goals for improving certain organizational processes in your office, including chiropractic patient education, first day services, patient financial consultations, referral generation, and chiropractic marketing. (Our next article on goal setting focuses on this type of goal.)
- People Goals. Your doctors and staff are going to be implementing the procedures. If you want better outcomes, and improved procedures, then you better also set a few goals to improve the skills of your staff. Regular monthly in-service trainings can go a long way to train staff. Videos, coaching, and an outside seminar every now and then also help. Keep working to upgrade the skills and motivation of your staff and set goals to do so. You can also set goals for hours of training each month.
- Mission. This is the most important step of your goal setting. Aside from your business mission, which is to generate profit, the mission you and your office are charged with as chiropractic doctors and staff should drive all that you do. This actually is often worked out first before any goals are set. However, working out your mission can sometimes become so visionary that you can lose track of what needs to be done in the next time period. To keep it real, work out your outcome goals first. Once you have worked out your mission, you then can go back to readjust any of your outcome goals.
- Keep it Real. Aim higher, but not too high. Take a look at what you did at the same time last year and at the last time period (week, month, year, day). Take into account any projects that may affect the goals. For example, if you are planning a vacation, lower the goals for that time period. Keep it real. Also, readjust your goal each month, week, or period. Don’t just keep it at the same level.
- Systematized Review. A procedure we use in the Marketing Manager System(sm) (a marketing system for chiropractic offices) is very useful. For each time period, we have worked out specific steps to accomplish three things:
Use these seven factors in setting up your goals and you will have a much better likelihood of achieving them and having more fun in the process.
- Review. Look at the outcomes and sometimes a fast assessment of what was done or not done.
- Plan. Based upon the evaluation, make new goals and set new procedures.
- Implement. Establish follow up and accountability procedures to ensure the plans get done.
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