Five Must-haves to Reach Your Practice Goals
I spend a lot of time thinking about success. Supporting others’ success is such a big part of my job and volunteer work that I want to study it and understand it. I feel an obligation to understand what the key factors are that drive success in certain people. Is it circumstance? Is it personality? Is it planning? Is it “the secret”?
There are a few key elements that I’ve seen over and over in successful individuals that I believe drive productivity, focus and achievement in any area of life. Here they are:
- Accountability and commitment to “the daily grind”
- Your team
- Your self-value
Let’s break these down to discuss how each element can drive your success.
It’s likely pretty obvious to you that in order to get where you want to go, you have to first know where you want to go. Defining your vision is not just naming what success looks like to you. It’s not just being able to describe what it looks like. It’s about describing how it looks and how it feels and how it impacts your life and the lives of those around you. Essentially, it’s your mission. The “what”, but also your “why”. When you are successful, what will that feel like? How will your life look the same as it does today and in what ways will it look different?
Once you can nail down your vision, it’s essential that you can describe it effectively to everyone who is involved in your business. Motivation and success of employees can be closely tied to whether they understand how they fit into the overall vision of the business and how they can make a positive impact in achieving the mission.
Accountability and Commitment to “the Daily Grind”
Creating a vision can be the easy part. Once your vision is clear, you have to create a plan to achieve it. And then, the difficult part: Be accountable to that plan.
Even when you have a plan, it can be so easy to get off track! If you’re a few weeks late on this or you don’t make time for that, days can quickly slip to weeks, weeks to months and before you know it, you’re approaching year’s end no further ahead from where you began.
I find it most effective to think first on the scale of big milestones (no more than 5-10 for the year), those ones you need to achieve to help you reach your vision. Once you’ve defined these milestones, it can be easier to break down and define the steps you need to perform in order to achieve them. Milestones also help you to remain tied to smaller goals and achievements and allow you to measure whether you’re hitting your anticipated timelines. This requires accountability and adherence to “the daily grind”. Doing the little things each day that add up to the big things: Blogging twice per week; posting on social media daily; sending out that monthly newsletter to your patients. Whatever those little steps are that move you closer to your vision. I use the term “the daily grind” to refer to these steps, but hopefully, if you create a vision that is really aligned with your purpose, these steps don’t feel like a grind, but rather a labor of love.
In addition to organizing your milestones (on a calendar, on a list—whatever works for you), I also recommend an accountability group, whether formal or informal. For some people, this can be a business partner or a spouse. But I find it more helpful to develop these relationships independently, that way I can get a perspective that’s not so close to my own experience. For me, this is in the form of a text circle with my closest doctor girlfriends. We meet in person a few times per year, but text nearly every day, asking each other what’s upcoming for the next week or month. We share our upcoming milestones and check in with one another to see if those tasks are getting completed. We read and comment on each other’s work, cheer each other on and provide honest feedback on our creations. Sometimes, that honest feedback saves one of us from making a big mistake.In all cases, we act as mirrors for one another because when we are clear on one another’s visions, we can provide honest feedback on whether that step will take us closer or further away from our vision.
Find a colleague or mentor who can sit with you, understand your vision and keep you accountable to “the grind” that will bring you to the next level.
I’ve recently been enjoying reading an older book on leadership and business, Good to Great by Jim Collins. One of the tenants he teaches is that “WHO comes before WHAT”. His leading point in his book is that you need the right people on the bus before you can decide where to take the bus. He also says things like, “People are not your greatest asset. The RIGHT people are your greatest asset!”. This is truly sage advice.
I think most of us can relate to being on a team where someone is not pulling their weight. If you’re leading your organization and you have someone like this as an employee, you likely have a good understanding of how this takes you away from your good work. You stress about them. You spend additional time coaching them one-on-one on tasks they should be able to handle. Perhaps you chat about it at night with your spouse or even lose sleep thinking about what to do.
On the other end of the spectrum, maybe you’ve had the pleasure of working with someone who was always one step ahead. They think of what you need before you even ask. They do their job competently and are so professional with your patients.
Who would you rather have on your team?
You’re only as strong as your team. If you’re good, you’ll build a team of people who push your business to flourish. Real success takes more than just you. Don’t be afraid to surround yourself with people who can teach you and don’t delay letting go of those who are not actively driving your vision forward!
We are in a rapidly changing economy. You’ve likely seen the way that Amazon crushed Barnes and Noble and small booksellers when they took to selling books online. Netflix vs. Blockbuster. I could continue.
There is information all around us regarding what our patients want. They tell us, they tell your staff. You can see the changes in other consumer-facing industries around you and there are lots of experts to be consulted with if you have more you need to discover! But don’t be afraid to ask questions. Get curious about what is happening in your community, in your market and in your business.
Asking questions based on curiosity is also different than asking questions based on fear. Ask questions without an answer already in your mind. Rather than testing hypotheses like a scientist, explore like a child. That curiosity can lead to uncovering new opportunities and sourcing information that can truly transform your practice into your true vision! Use your curiosity to find the facts, and use the facts (sometimes cold, hard facts) to base your decisions.
Okay, we’ll wrap with the heavy stuff… I talk with a lot of people who, quite frankly, feel like they’re a sham. I see this come forward in different ways. Some people feel like they don’t know enough to adequately serve their patients. Others create a strong brand for their business, but are afraid to share it for fear of being “salesy”. Others have so much skill and talent in certain areas that we all see it screaming off them, but they’re afraid to share it for fear that they might fail and others will see.
All of these are expressions of the natural doubts we occasionally have in ourselves. But in nearly all instances, these hold us back.
Successful people are often most successful because they coach themselves out of the fear of failure. In fact, the most successful individuals don’t even have “failure” in their vocabulary. They have “learnings”, “experiences” and “do-overs”. Success requires risk. And risk requires confidence, which requires a belief that you have a pretty good shot at making it—not in an arrogant, boastful way, but with a quiet confidence. If you don’t hit your milestone or your vision is not achieved the way you imagined it would, learn to think about this as a detour, not a roadblock.
Hopefully, some of these elements resonate with you as things that you’ve really done well so far. Maybe you’ve got a really clear vision, or you’re talented at assembling the right team of people with the skills to take your business to the next level. And possibly, some of these hit a nerve, where you read it and cringed because you know you have some work to do in this area. Working to expand each of these success elements in your own life can help you to manifest your vision. I hope you’ll share with me how it’s going!
Jaclyn Chasse, ND