How SMART resolutions lead to brighter futures
Feb 03, 2023
As the new year starts to unfold, many of us take this opportunity to start fresh and look towards our goals and objectives for the year ahead. If your goal is to promote growth in your dental practice, you must integrate clear aligners (if it's not already done).
Then, it’s important to set SMART objectives—specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound—at the beginning of the year. Here’s why.
When setting goals for your practice, you need to be specific about what you want to achieve. That way, it will be easier for you to measure progress. For example, if your goal is to increase revenue by 20%, you should set a specific target (i.e., 20%) so that you can track progress toward that specific goal throughout the year.
If we think more about clear aligners, setting a goal like: "I want to start more clear aligner cases this year" is not at all specific. You could start two more case than last year and your team members could tell you: "Great year! We achieved our goal... We did more cases than last year! Where's my bonus??!!!"
If you want to be specific, you need a number. For example, this year I want to start 24 more cases than last year. This represents 6 cases every quarter and 2 cases every month.
Most importantly, you need to communicate that to your team. They have to be part of the success!
Measure Your Success
In order for your objectives to be meaningful and effective, they must be measurable. This means tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as number of patients seen each month or percentage of patient satisfaction surveys completed each quarter. Measuring these KPIs will help you identify trends over time and determine whether or not your objectives are being met.
In our example, our goal is to start 24 clear aligner cases a year, so 2 cases a month. It's then easy, once a month in a team meeting to measure where we are compared to our objective. Once again, everyone has to know and be involved.
Reach Attainable Goals
Your objectives should also be attainable—that is, they should be within reach with some effort on your part. While it’s perfectly fine (and even encouraged) to aim high and push yourself out of your comfort zone in pursuit of success, it's important not to set unrealistic goals that may ultimately lead to disappointment or burnout. Setting attainable objectives will give you something tangible and achievable that you can work towards throughout the year without getting you and your team overwhelmed or discouraged.
Michelangelo said: "The problem is not to aim too high and not reach it, it's to aim too low and reach it!". Wise.
If you started incorporating clear aligners in your practice last year and you started 6 cases in the whole year, it would be unrealistic to think you can start 10 cases a month. But setting your objective to 8 cases would not be enough.
A perfect goal, in my opinion, should not be reached! I know, it almost makes no sense, but when I reach 85-90% of my goal, I know my objective was good and made sense.
Reevaluate and adjust
The importance of measuring the success periodically is also to give you the chance to readjust your objectives. Always keeping in mind that you need to keep your objectives high enough that everybody needs to work hard to get there. If you can reach them by continuing to do the same thing you are doing right now, then why would you set up objectives?
In conclusion, setting SMART objectives at the beginning of every new year is essential if you want to ensure success in your dental practice throughout the coming months and beyond. By taking a few moments now—before things start getting busy—to set specific, measurable goals that are both realistic and time-bound, you can make sure that 2023 is a bright one for your business!
Don't forget: involve your team in the process! You will not achieve success alone.
And as always, have fun making the move!
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