Set SMART goals for 2010
Like most people, you probably realized sometime during the first week of January that you forgot to change your calendar to the new 2010 calendar you bought last month. It stands to reason that he may not have set goals for what he would like to accomplish this year for his practice. Here are some basic guidelines on how to develop goals that create focus and a successful outcome for 2010.
What is a SMART goal?
Goal setting for each practice is a powerful tool that creates synergy and focus for the team to achieve great results. People respond better to knowing what they’re trying to achieve, which makes it easier to reward exceptional performance and redirect less-than-stellar efforts. Goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based are considered the foundation of SMART goal setting.
Probably the most important step in goal setting is to remove any confusion about what the outcome should be. Saying that the goal is to “get more new patients” is much more vague than “develop a program to increase new patients to 20 per month.” Being specific will help the team focus on what they should be working on and avoid distractions.
If you don’t measure the progress you’re making toward your goal, you’ll miss out on seeing if you’re on track to achieve your goal. Measuring your results also allows you to celebrate victories or adjust your efforts to make further progress. Keep track of your progress in a visible area as a reminder to staff about the results you are working towards.
It’s admirable to dream big, but reality sets in quickly. Goals that are too exaggerated can decrease motivation rather than increase it. If you believe you have the necessary resources and equipment to achieve the goals you want to set, make sure they can be achieved with a reasonable amount of extra effort.
In the current environment in which we are working, the objective must be in line with the realities of the market. If your practice is in an area with many other competing doctors and a major employer has cut or eliminated certain benefits, you should consider those factors when setting goals. It would be unrealistic to set a goal of increasing your output by 50% after considering what your patient base is experiencing.
People often work better when there is a deadline to meet. Having a specific time by which the goal must be achieved creates accountability, as well as the need to evaluate progress toward goal achievement. With a deadline, it’s easy to put the girl on the back burner and forget.
Goal setting is a powerful tool that any practice can use to achieve superior results. It’s still early enough in the year to set the stage for a successful 2010. Taking the time to develop goals that are SMART will increase the likelihood that the next twelve months will be exciting and rewarding for you and your team.