Read any business book, interview any business leader, ask any successful entrepreneur – what makes your business a success? Chances are, at least one of the following buzz-words are mentioned: Vision, mission, goals, values, culture, purpose.
As business owners, we are all looking for those magic bullets that will instantly turn our businesses around, make them more efficient, help them grow. As a dental management, hygiene and marketing coaching firm, we hear these goals and requests all the time. I want new patients. I want less chaos. I want to make more, work less. I need more balance. I need my practice streamlined. I want my team to engage and execute at a higher level. While these are all healthy intentions to put into place, the root of the intent doesn’t reveal itself in the statements. In other words, the “why”.
Author and business leader, Jeremie Kubicek, states that in different areas of our lives we are either living accidentally or intentionally. The trajectory of how we pursue and attain goals within our professional careers can reveal the nature of your professional life. Are you spending your professional work days intentionally or accidentally? If you sense you may be executing much of your practice’s day to day in an accidental state, it may be time to step way back and revisit the core pillar to your practice success: Your practice purpose.
Practice owners and leaders, if you haven’t done so already, take time away from the practice to sit and truly reflect upon your professional career, why you chose dentistry in the first place, what gets you up in the morning to do what you do every single day. Next, think ahead – where do you envision your career in the next five, 10, 15 years? What is your ideal practice vision? In reflecting upon and identifying the answers to these questions, you are ultimately guiding yourself toward your practice purpose: The “why” behind the who, what, where, when and how of how you and your team perform and care for your patients every day.
In your business, your purpose guides your vision, which in turn guides your mission and goals. Every decision that you make should be bounced off of these core elements to your practice. If we make this decision, if we purchase this equipment, if we hire this person, if we take this course, will it ultimately help us pursue our purpose and progress us toward our practice vision?
What we often find, when doctors share the goals or objectives I mentioned in the examples above, is that impulsive decisions are often made without knowing one’s current location (where are you now) or the direction one wants to go (where do you want to go). It makes the main process of strategic planning (how are you going to get there) quite challenging when we aren’t calibrated and locked into our own compass.
My teammate, Suzann Harms, Chief of Operations Development for Jameson, introduced this very powerful question to me and to our Jameson clients. It is an important, calibrating benchmark question that I encourage each of you to incorporate into all of your future planning sessions and conversations:
What does right look like?
Think about the power of that question. If we are directing our professional steps from an accidental space, this question can very quickly adjust our focus on the truth of where we want to go and help us make healthy adjustments to the current processes we are entrenched in at this moment. If we don’t know where to begin, often this question can open up the doorways of conversation and brainstorming that will lead us to what is the most important next step.
For example, let’s say you want new patients. Here are some of my first questions that I ask a doctor that shares this goal with me:
- How many?
- What led you to determine that number?
- What is your end goal of gaining more new patients?
- How many new patients do you get per month now?
- How many of those new patients would you consider ideal?
- They make and keep appointments.
- They say yes to treatment diagnosed and presented.
- They schedule the treatment and complete the treatment.
- They pay for the treatment willingly.
- They stay active in your practice.
- They refer.
- If the new patients you get now aren’t ideal, how will you change how you attract new patients from this point forward?
- What needs to be done to get to that ideal vision?
- Does this goal ultimately fulfill your purpose and vision for your practice?
- WHAT DOES RIGHT LOOK LIKE?
That’s a lot of questions to dig into what was seemingly a simple statement: I want more new patients. As you see, every statement or goal must be built upon a clear understanding of why you are setting that goal in the first place and what the intent is behind its creation. With this level of clarity, you will be able to set more realistic, attainable and motivational goals for you and your team, you will make healthier decisions for your practice and you will gain more ground more quickly in your quest to see your ideal practice realized.
In summary, as you seek to identify your next goals and objectives for your practice, it’s important to determine or revisit the foundations. Ask yourself these questions:
1) What is your why?
2) What is your practice purpose?
3) What does right look like?
4) Where are you now?
5) Where are you going?
6) How will you get there?
Let these very powerful and valuable questions lead you down the pathway of planning and discovery that will become a strong foundation for you to build and grow your business. While your core service is healthcare, dentistry and advocating for your patients’ health and wellness, you cannot bring your best to your patients if you aren’t planting the seeds of good business processes into your practice. It is after all, a business. The more you grow and develop your skills as business owner, the better your practice can care for your patients and the more you can grow and thrive. So, ask yourself, what does right look like? I look forward to hearing where your answers take you.
About the Author
Carrie Webber is Chief Communications Office and owner of The Jameson Group, a dental management, marketing and hygiene coaching firm. Carrie works with dentists and teams on business building concepts to improve team performance, case acceptance and practice growth. For more information on Carrie and Jameson’s comprehensive management and marketing services, visit www.jamesonmanagement.com.