When I think of direction, I am reminded of the story of Alice in Wonderland. If you recall, during her travels she arrived at a fork in the road. She stopped and looked around but didn’t know which way to continue.
“What road do I take?” she asked Cheshire Cat, who happened to be sitting in a nearby tree.
“Well,” said the Cat, “That all depends. Where is it that you want to end up?”
“I don’t know,” replied Alice, to which the Cat responded, “Then it really doesn’t matter what road you choose.”
As we approach a brand new year, have you stopped to think about what direction your practice is headed in or more importantly, where you want to end up? Are you willing to let fate decide for you?
If your answer is the former, then you must commit to a bit of planning. Write down the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) goals that outline where you hope to be in a year, five years and 10 years. Is your goal to see more patients (regardless of the stress it places on your personal time or what it does to your patient schedule)? Do you want to build your practice around a particular niche (e.g. sports medicine)? Want to make piles of money? Have a more efficient practice? Spend more time with your family? Have more downtime to enjoy your hobbies? Retire at an early age?
When setting goals, a good place to start is by identifying a mission statement. I am always surprised to learn how many offices do not have one and if they do, most of the staff cannot recite it. Of course, a mission statement is not a static announcement that one simply recites or uses to spruce up a Web site. Its purpose is to identify why the practice exists and its reason for being. You should not only share the mission statement with your staff but align their goals to it to ensure you are all on the same page, working toward the same outcome.
Unless you want to wind up like Alice, it would be wise to start thinking about what direction you want to go in the new year and how you plan to get there. Start now by writing your goals down. Then share them with your staff, put an action plan in place with them, add the necessary action steps and hit the ground running.
If you have a destination in mind, it really does matter what road you take to get there.