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1.4.08 Issue #304 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Dr. Nancy Haller
Dentist Coach
McKenzie Management
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Goals for 2008
Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

The hustle and bustle of December is behind us. Another 365 days lies ahead.  There’s renewed hope and optimism about possibilities in the year before us. Thoughts turn to resolutions and goals.

What do you want to accomplish in 2008?
What is your practice vision over the next 12 months?

As both the dentist and the practice leader, your job comes with many challenges and responsibilities. If you do the job right it can be very rewarding. To prosper, you and your team must accomplish big things this year. Getting those things done takes effective leadership.  

Start with your mission.
Your mission should be summarized in a sentence or two. Using basic language describe the purpose of the work you do and the values you espouse. If you aren’t sure, answer this question: What gets you up each morning and out the door? Set aside some time to think about what’s most important to you. Schedule a staff meeting and ask your team to participate in writing the practice mission statement. 

Once you have established the essence of what you do, break your mission into manageable, ‘bite-size’ sub goals. Your employees need to participate in this process too. After all, your ability to achieve your goals largely depends on having your staff’s ‘buy-in’. Research shows that by involving your team in setting the goals, they will be more motivated to achieve them.

Establish priorities by answering the following questions:

  • What needs to be accomplished?
  • Why does it need to be done?
  • When does it need to be accomplished?
  • Where am I/are we now in relation to this goal?
  • Who will be involved in accomplishing this?
  • How will it be accomplished?

Think through your plan carefully but avoid the ‘paralysis-by-analysis’ that happens for those who are perfectionists. It is far better to get going fast and make mid-course corrections as necessary.

Once the goals are identified, move into the planning phase.
Plans provide the direction, focus and organization you need to stay on task. It is important for you and your team to evaluate yourselves periodically. A good span of time tends to be 30 days, or once a month. By monitoring and measuring your actions along the way, you will know if you are on track. This kind of feedback allows you to adjust and stay aligned with your goals.

Having systems and structure in place is crucial for practice success. If growth is a goal, you need to know the number of new patient visits. Being informed about your financial status will enable you to make decisions about marketing and advertising. Another essential source of practice feedback is your staff. Meet with each employee individually and regularly. Schedule frequent team progress checks as part of the planning process. If you are making a decision that impacts your staff, ask for and listen to their input. Be sure to tell them how their functions, actions and contributions are vital to your practice.

Work your plan
Periodically answer the following questions, individually and as a group:

  • Is each goal still valid and doable?
  • Are we where we should be in terms of attaining each goal?
  • Have any conditions or circumstances changed since we originally set our goal?
  • Do we need to make any changes to our goals, our action plans or our performance levels?

Maximize the resources available to you.
Be mindful of the ways you use your time, money and employees. Make the most of your time by prioritizing your tasks. Start and end meetings promptly. Post agendas in advance so that employees will be prepared to discuss issues. Make the most of your money by buying in discount bulk whenever possible. Comparison shopping will net the best price on materials, supplies, and services. Be proactive on preventative maintenance for your equipment. Make the most of employee talent and expertise. Identify each person’s skills and interests. Determine if they need training to handle their respective responsibilities. Encourage your staff to cross-train one another whenever this is feasible.

As the old saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Get 2008 off to a great start and set the year in motion. Happy New Year to you!

Dr. Haller is available for consultation and coaching. Let her help you with your 2008 goals. She can be reached at

Would you like to elevate your practice? Invest in yourself and become a more effective leader.  Inquire about Dr. Haller’s Leadership Training Course  1.877.777.6151 Ext. 21.

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