Does anything else produce optimism like the sense of having a clean slate that accompanies a new year? Sure, it’s just a flip of the calendar, and you could choose to set annual goals every May 19th if you’d like, but most of us think of the beginning of the new year as a time to reflect and consider what’s important to accomplish over the next 12 months. If you’re in the process of mapping out your practice goals for 2010, here is a process to consider.
1. Debrief 2009.
What worked? What didn’t? What did you hope to accomplish that’s still on the “to do” list? What (or who) changed in your practice last year that might influence new goals for 2010? Don’t forget to include a thorough financial review. Did you meet your revenue targets? Did you stay within budget? Having a clear picture of the recent past will help you effectively manage the coming year.
2. Poll office staff and providers.
What does each person and the group as a whole consider to be top priorities for this year? You may be thinking that investing in a new phone system is number one on the list but find out that the staff is more than willing to limp along with the current system for another year if only they could please, please, please have a copier that doesn’t jam up every day.
3. Set a limited number of clear, achievable goals.
Resist the temptation to make a long list of goals. Instead, pick just a few very important ones and focus your attention there. What one, two, or three goals – if achieved – would have the most positive long-term impact on the health of your practice? Make sure your goals can be measured. Instead of “Do better with collections” say “Increase collections by 8% over 2009.” That you can measure.
4. Create an action plan.
Once you have your handful of goals written down (yes, put them in writing!) put together a step-by-step action plan that will help you stay accountable to continually working toward the goals. For example, you might review your current collections policies and hold a special staff meeting to discuss upgrading those policies in January as your first step toward that 8% increase.
Work toward getting everyone in the office on board to ensure that you achieve your goals this year. One way to do this is by holding a retreat for your practice. Watch for another post here soon on that topic. Good luck with your 2010 goals