1.18.13 Issue #567 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Gene St. Louis
VP Practice Solutions
McKenzie Management
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Are Vision & Mission Statements Really Worth It?
By Gene St. Louis

In speaking with thousands of dentists over the years I have often heard: “Why should I create a vision and mission statement?” I also have heard: “I’m not a visionary person, so I don’t see any sense in it.” Well, I am a true testimonial of why you should create a vision and a mission statement. Having consulted in hundreds of practices I can tell you that the offices who actually take the time to write a vision and mission statement and declare it together as a team are more likely to reach MOST of their goals than offices that simply “wing it.”

Don’t get me wrong, creating a vision and mission statement for your personal life or business is WORK! But it is so worth it when you see your vision and experience your mission come true. First you must understand the difference between the two. According to businessdictionary.com they are defined as the following, which I think are great definitions:

Vision Statement: An aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.

Mission Statement: A written declaration of an organization's core purpose and focus that normally remains unchanged over time. Properly crafted mission statements (1) serve as filters to separate what is important from what is not, (2) clearly state which markets will be served and how, and (3) communicate a sense of intended direction to the entire organization.

A mission is different from a vision in that the former is the cause and the latter is the effect; a mission is something to be accomplished whereas a vision is something to be pursued for that accomplishment. Visions are the foundation. It is your definition of ideal, making your internal values external. It is expressing your values through living in integrity. It is what you see when you look into the future. You begin by asking yourself, what will I look like? How will I act?

Start today to create a vision for your profession, practice, and personally. When describing your personal and professional vision, use “I” language to describe how your ideal self, ideal clinical skills, and continuing education would be achieved or accomplished. When describing your practice vision use “We” language to describe your ideal practice, quality, attributes of team, environment and experiences (broken down by you, your team and patients). 

The limits of vision is a “your horizon” view - 5 years out, your world as it will be. Beyond that is the big dream too far off to see until you reach this horizon. What about right now? You can’t focus on today with just a “horizon” view. Even the clearest vision is still a concept and needs a mission to make it concrete.

Your values are what you feel internally, what you think, your sense of what’s right. Vision is how you express it externally. It is what you say; your definition of ideal and mission makes it real. It is what you do, stated tangibly, measurable definition and updated annually.

Anatomy of a Mission
“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” President John F. Kennedy, May 1961

This goal was specific with JFK. It was not “explore space” it was “landing a man on the moon!” Time was specific, not “in the future” but “before this decade is out.” Making a vision tangible means establishing an unconditional commitment, stated publicly, and making sure you are holding yourself and others fully accountability and inspiring others to commit. Making your vision and mission a reality is exhilarating.  Go ahead, see what results you can achieve in 2013. Remember: NASA didn’t launch space “visions.”

Interested in speaking to Gene about your practice concerns? Email gene@mckenziemgmt.com

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