By Ed Petty
Jan 1, 2006, 16:29
It is not enough just to have goals.
It is a good start, but there is more. In fact, just setting goals does not work. You have a staff meeting and decide that in the New Year you are going to see 400 Visits per week average and 30 new patients average. Then you go back to work. Thatís great, but itís just not enough. Plus, you have probably done this before so it becomes boring at best, or at worst, brings to mind past failures.
Just setting goals is lazy management. Like General Motors.
You have heard of them. They make cars, like Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, and the Hummer, to name a few. Each year they set production quotas and they once dominated the world. Over the years their market share has been shrinking, their stock has been shriveling, and they continue to close plants and lay off workers.
Toyota, on the other hand has been growing for decades and is now predicted to overtake General Motors as the number one car manufacturer in the world.
Toyota sets goals and quotaís, sure. But they do something more. They set improvement goals and implement a process to reach these goals. They call this process KAIZEN. It translates roughly as continuous improvement.
As a business, you either continue to improve, or you eventually die. It is not enough to improve once every five years. It has to be continuous. You are either improving your clinic this year, or your patients may be drawn to an office that is. That is the way the market works. You should review the level of your efficiency, patient care and service, promotion and public relations, patient education, and staff training and see if there is room for improvement.
You donít have to make big improvements, but you have to constantly work on it. It has to be a process or system of improvement, with incremental tweaks here and there, working out the bugs as you continue to grow.
Real business improvement also requires that each team member work on improving themselves personally. Better health, greater fitness, more education, new hobbies, better relationships, etc., all add up to an improved team and an improved office.
Chiropractic is the improvement profession. This is an added benefit for anyone working in chiropractic because it supports constant professional and personal improvement.
There are many benefits that come from a process of constant improvement. And the consequences of not setting and working improvement goals? Ask a recently unemployed GM worker or stock holder.
Make the 2006 your Year of Improvement.
ACTION STEP. Have a staff meeting and make a list of at least 5 areas in your clinic that you want to improve on over the next three months. You can download a worksheet to help you do this (click here) . Discuss each area with your staff, and assign each one a grade on a scale of 1-10. Set a goal to improve this part of your clinic in the next three months. Next, have each staff member and doctor do the same for 5 areas of their lives. Have them grade each area, and set an improvement goal for the next three months. The last step of the meeting would be to set a date for the next meeting, three months later.
Repeat this drill every three months for a twelve month period.
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