Article Date: 12/1/2012

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Did You Achieve All Your 2012 Goals?

If not, you may have fallen prey to some common goal-setting pitfalls.

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GARY GERBER, O.D.

As we approach 2013, I could write about the obvious default topic of “Plan for your success” or tackle “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” Instead, I’m writing about why goals you might have set for 2012 may not have been achieved. If you address these reasons, then when you do plan for 2013, you should have a better shot at attaining your new goals.

The top four reasons goals aren’t attained:

1. The goals are unrealistic and not specific enough.

I frequently encounter practices that grow at a rate of about 8% per year. These practices then set a goal for 20% growth the following year. That alone isn’t the problem. However, when it’s not coupled with a specific plan to achieve that growth, it’s likely to fail. It’s been said, “Hope is not a strategy,” and short of a firm plan with an associated calendar, just hoping to grow by an unusually large amount is a goal destined to fail. The same goes for goals such as “I want to improve my staff” or “I want patients to have a better experience.”

2. Doctors are generally risk averse when it comes to practice building.

For this reason, those who do actually set concrete, realistic, specific goals won’t act to achieve them.

For example, if a doctor has a goal of increasing his/her electronic communications with patients, he/she might first decide to get patients’ e-mail addresses. When the time comes to act, however, the doctor doesn’t reinforce that action with his/her staff for fear of rejection from or a confrontation with the patient.

Or, if the doctor sets the goal of increasing optical margins, he/she fears that increasing fees will cause patients to complain and walk with their prescriptions. (This isn’t to say the patient might walk. It’s meant to imply that due to the fear of that possibility, doctors won’t move forward with their planned activities to reach their goals.)

3. Neglecting the fact that life will continue to get in the way.

“I really wanted to improve my recall system. But, I’m just too busy with other stuff in the office to do it. And, things at home are absolutely crazy.”

Does this sound familiar? Don’t take on too many goals at once, and set realistic timetables to ensure things get done. Changing up your optical mix and pricing, as examples, won’t happen in a day.

4. Choosing goals that really aren’t applicable to your practice’s big picture.

We continually read about the importance of social media and having a strong online presence. Yet, if you’re part of a market where Yelp has yet to matter, why set working with it as a goal?

Similarly, if you’re practice values focus on patients having a great customer service experience, why stress about a 5 cent price increase on a box of contact lenses when your patient surveys tell you they are spending too much time in the office?

As you get deeper into trying to work on these irrelevant goals, you’ll soon realize your efforts are misplaced, and you’ll stop. Score another failed goal.

Where will you be in 2013?

Avoid these four goal-setting pitfalls and who knows what might happen with your practice in 2013. Perhaps this will be the year you finally achieve all of your practice goals. OM

DR. GERBER IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE POWER PRACTICE, A COMPANY SPECIALIZING IN MAKING OPTOMETRISTS MORE PROFITABLE. LEARN MORE AT WWW.POWERPRACTICE.COM, OR CALL DR. GERBER AT (888) 356-4447.



Optometric Management, Volume: 47 , Issue: December 2012, page(s): 14