Like most people, you probably realized sometime during the first week of January that you forgot to change your calendar to the new 2010 you bought last month. It goes to reason that you may not have set goals for what you would like to achieve this year for your practice. Here are some basic guidelines on how to develop goals that create a focus and a successful outcome for 2010.


What is a SMART goal?


Goal setting for every practice is a powerful tool that creates a synergy and focus for the team to achieve great results. People respond better to knowing what they are trying to accomplish, making it easier to reward exceptional performance while redirecting less than stellar efforts. Targets that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time based are consider the basis of SMART goal setting.


Specific


Probably the most important step in setting goals is to eliminate any confusion about what the outcome should be. Stating 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 get the team focused on what they should be working toward and avoid distractions.


Measurable


If you do not measure the progress you are making toward the goal, you will miss the opportunity to see if you are on track to achieving your goal. Measuring your results also allows you to celebrate wins or adjust your efforts to make more progress. Keep track of your progress in a visible are as a reminder to the staff on the results you are working toward.


Attainable


It is admirable to dream big, but reality sets in quickly. Goals that are too far of a stretch can actually lower motivation rather than raise it. If you feel you have the resources and the team in place to achieve the goals you want to set, make sure they can be reached with a reasonable amount of extra effort.


Realistic


In the current environment we are working in, the goal must be in line with the realities of the marketplace. If your practice is in an area with many other competing doctors and a major employer has cut back or eliminated certain benefits, you need to consider those factors when setting goals. It would be unrealistic to set a goal of increasing your production by 50% after considering what your patient base is experiencing.


Time based


People often work best when there is a deadline to deal with. Having a specific time that the goal should be accomplished creates accountability as well as the need to evaluate the progress toward the achieving the goal. With a deadline, it becomes easy to put the gal on the back burner and forgotten.


Goal setting is a powerful tool that any practice can use to achieve superior results. It is 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 chance that the next twelve months will be exciting and rewarding for you and your team.



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