By Jeff Russell, Author of Secrets to a Successful Practice & Executive Director of the IAPAM
Creating a Practice Priority Plan
One of the keys to keeping your team engaged and motivated is to clearly show that what they do every day at the practice matters, and the one-page Practice Priority Plan also accomplishes that goal.
On the bottom section is a place for each team member to write down their quarterly goals as to how and when they are going to accomplish them.
KPI’s (Key Performance Indicator)
This one-page document is designed to be a visual snapshot of your practice, and it will be used to focus your team on what matters most and how they can help to accomplish the goals of the practice. It should be completed by each team member, and summarize your: Why, How, Who and When. Use this document as the basis of every team meeting and team one-to-one meeting.
KPIs are a way of evaluating your performance based on factual, measurable numbers. If you assign a number to your top priority, you know if you achieved it or not—there is no maybe. After you’ve developed your Purpose, Mission, Vision Goals, and KPI, you now need to add the quarterly goals for you and your team.
Deciding on Your Quarterly Goals
When deciding on your quarterly goals, it is important to ensure that your quarterly goals are going to get you to your big goal and allow you to accomplish your mission. If the quarterly goal doesn’t help you achieve your KPI, then it’s not the right priority for your team.
For example, let’s say our goal is to achieve Allergan’s Black Diamond status, and we know that we need to purchase 40,000 vials of Botox to achieve that goal. Each patient takes an average of 50 units, meaning we need to see 200 patients, about one patient per day. We now need to develop some quarterly priorities that will help us reach our mission and KPI: obtaining Black Diamond status. First, we need more injectable patients. Therefore, the team’s quarterly priorities should be based on getting more injectable patients. You already have patients that are in for other procedures; they may also be candidates for an injectable procedure. In addition, you need to bring new patients into the practice.
You may decide the best course of action is a combination of cross-marketing to existing patients and marketing to new patients. From these two higher priorities, you will break them down into smaller priorities and assign them to your team members.
One of your team members may be responsible for creating a letter to send to your existing patients introducing them to your injectable services, while another team member will find three external marketing options to find new patients. Once you have determined who is going to do what, it’s time to assign a KPI to each task. How will you know if they were successful? In the previous example, we could assign a KPI for the internal market goal as mailing (and/or emailing) injectable introductory letters to all 5,000 existing patients by October 31st. For the second goal, it could be finding three options with budgets by November 30th.
Team members need to have their own one to three priorities (or goals) that tie into the practice’s quarterly goals. Each team member’s quarterly goals need to be able to directly impact the KPI of the practice; if it doesn’t, then it’s the wrong quarterly goal.
Now, that you have your quarterly goals, it’s time to put them into a format that your team will be able to understand and track.
If we take the above quarterly example of sending out 5,000 introductory letters to existing patients, then you need to break that down into a weekly goal that is easy for your team members to measure. In this case, it would be sending out 417 letters every week (5,000/12 weeks = 416.66). At your weekly team meeting, you would check to see how the team member assigned this goal has progressed. See if they had any issues and how likely they will be able to meet next week’s goal. You need to keep a weekly meeting rhythm; if you go every two weeks, you will find things start to not get done.
As covered in Sean’s Covey’s book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, a great way to keep the team focused on the goals is with the use of scoreboards. You need to have your own practice’s scoreboard, which will keep all the numbers you need to know (i.e. revenue, expenses, profit, consultation closing ratio, volume of each procedure). You will also need a simplified one for just your team members. Here you only want to track the annual goal and where you are at now, as well as the weekly actions of your team. One of your team members should be able to glance at it and know exactly where they and the practice are.
Example of a Practice Scoreboard:
If you have someone with artistic abilities, have them create one that you can display in the break room. Another option is to display it on a monitor in the break room. You may also want to email it to everyone every week.
It is important that the Practice Scoreboard is always visible and updated weekly. You should assign this task to one key person in your practice, a practice manager or even your receptionist. You will also use this report to start your weekly team meetings and one-to-one meetings with individual team members. It needs to be top of mind or it will not become a reality.
Daily FOCUS = Goals Accomplished
Three Daily Goals
Each day, you should break down the quarterly goals to three things you want to accomplish for the day. These three daily activities should help you reach your quarterly goals, which will get you to your monthly, annual, and mission goals. It is so easy to get distracted in this world of constant texts, emails, social media notifications, and calendar reminders. You need to have a plan for what you what to accomplish before your day starts.
For most people, it’s easy to keep three things at the top of their minds. But for many, more than that and it gets hard to make decisions on which is the most important. In Gary Keller’s book, The ONE Thing, he goes one step further and says to focus on only one thing every day. His justification for focusing on only one thing is that you only focus on the most important activity that will allow you to get to your ultimate goal. The analogy he uses is that of knocking down the first domino; by doing so, it will knock down all those that are behind it. So, by choosing the right goal each day, you should be able to accomplish more, since it will help you get to your big goal faster.
Whether you get one thing or three things done in a day, the most important step is to plan each day and make sure you do not end the day wondering what you actually did.
A visualization that has helped me stay focused is the concept of “Am I working on an important rock or an unimportant pebble?” In Stephen R. Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he discusses the importance of filling your bucket (hours in the day) with rocks (big, important tasks) first, followed by pebbles and sand (daily duties, emails, texts). By planning your day this way, you get the most important things done first; otherwise, if you start doing only the small stuff (pebbles and sand), you won’t have any room for the important tasks (rocks). There is a great YouTube video of his presentation, which you can share with your team as part of a team meeting.
You may think I may have overdone it with the numerous examples of how to stay focused, but the reality for most people is this will be their biggest challenge, and I’m hoping one of these examples will connect with you.
Want to learn more about growing a successful practice? Check out the IAPAM’s annual Practice Growth Symposium, where leaders come to learn the keys to a profitable practice. Or, if you’re just getting started with your practice, there’s IAPAM’s Practice Startup Workshop.