You can have a better year by doing one simple thing: planning. There’s an effective way to do it, and Kirk Behrendt brings back Miranda Beeson, one of ACT’s amazing coaches, with six best practices to set you and your team up for success. Don’t wait until December or January! Now is always the time to plan. To learn the recipe for a better year, listen to Episode 632 of The Best Practices Show!
Links Mentioned in This Episode:
Register for ACT’s To The Top Study Club (October 20, 2023)
Register for ACT’s To The Top Study Club (October 27, 2023)
Get your free copy of ACT’s One-Page Strategic Plan
Read Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Read The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
Don’t wait until December to start planning for next year.
Take time to form your core purpose and core values.
Revisit your core values and core purpose often.
If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.
Celebrate your achievements.
“If you don’t have a plan and you’re not intentional about how you’re approaching this upcoming year or each year that you enter into, it’s going to look just like the last — maybe even a little bit worse. So, this time of year is the perfect time to be looking at it because summer has come to a close and we’re coming to fall. Why wait till December 31st to try to plan out what we’re doing next year? Let’s get a head start on it now so we have the time that we need to strategically and intentionally plan for what we want to do next year.” (2:29—2:59)
“If we don’t reflect backwards into the year that we’re in so far and see what’s going on, we can’t really provide clear direction for what we want to do next year. That’s what our team needs from us as leaders. For the practice owners listening, that’s what the team needs. They need to know what you want from us this year that’s new or different from last year, and how we can help you get there. So, if you want to bring your practice to the next level, if you want to elevate, if you do want to grow — and who doesn’t want to grow — you really can’t wing it. You can’t shoot from the hip if you want to be truly successful.” (3:00—3:31)
“Don’t wait till January. Some people wait until it is the new year to start setting goals. They’re like, ‘Let’s just get through this year, and then we can get there.’ And now, it’s January. Then, it’s February. Then, it’s March. And now, you’ve lost an entire quarter and haven’t even had a good start. So, certainly, the time is now.” (4:39—4:58)
“Step number one is, if you don’t have one, make a core purpose. What is your “why”? Now, if you already have a core purpose, like a lot of the clients within our coaching community might already have that in place because they’ve worked with a coach to develop one, then revisit it and make sure that your why is still true to the core of who you are.” (5:05—5:23)
“Distrust has become society’s default emotion, which means as leaders, as business owners, in our strategic planning, we have to think about how to build trust with our team and with our clients intentionally in order to overcompensate for that default emotion that they’re already feeling. And so, knowing your why, sharing your why, keeping it at the forefront, and making sure that you’re using it to guide decisions so that your team doesn’t flounder, they can help you drive forward to the mission that you’re trying to accomplish.” (9:04—9:36)
“Step number two coincides a little bit with that first one, which is either making or revisiting your why or your core purpose, and that is revisiting your core values. So, again, if you don’t have core values, you certainly need to establish them within your organization for a lot of the same reasons that we were talking about with our purpose. But if you have core values, you want to revisit them every year. Another great quote I picked up at Global Leadership Summit is, ‘They’re not just hanging on the walls. They’re alive in the halls.’ We want to make sure that the core values truly do speak to who we are, what we believe in, and how we behave in this practice. And so, if you already have a core purpose established, our number one, and if you already have core values established, part of your strategic plan, right from the jump, should be reflecting on what you already have and making sure that truly does fit where you are.” (10:44—11:36)
“If you’re forming for the first time your core purpose or your core values, please take your time. Please do it thoughtfully and really think it through. Be reflective. Look in the mirror. We say that’s the final test with all these things. Look in the mirror. Do you also model these behaviors? Do you truly believe in this why? So, if you’re starting from scratch with your number one and your number two, that core purpose and core values, really take the time to thoughtfully think through these. Don’t just go online and Google what someone else’s core values are, or, ‘Hey, I like that practice. Let’s see what their purpose is.’ This should be true to you and who you are as a business owner and what you want to leave as a legacy when you are all done here on this earth. So, looking at it thoughtfully and designing them uniquely to who you are, because then you’re reflecting your true self to the team and you will find those people — or those people will find you — that believe in those same things, and you’ll be off to a great start. So, modify them if you need to. If you’re reflecting and you’re going, ‘I don’t know that this really is who we are anymore,’ okay. Stop and go through that process again, and thoughtfully modify what those core values are, and then share that with the team.” (13:37—14:50)
“Step number three is reflecting on, what do we do here? So, really getting clear around what your core competencies are in the practice. We have a differentiation tool that we work with for our teams, looking at what are our uniques, what are our unique abilities, and what differentiates us from the guy down the street.” (16:43—17:03)
“You have to stand out because there are a lot of dental offices as you drive down the road. Patients are driving down that road, and they’re going to drive past you, or going to drive in your front door, and you have to know what it is that is unique and special about you. What do we do here, and how do we do it that sets us apart? And then, how do we make sure that that message is getting out to those patients so that they’ll choose to come see us?” (17:29—17:53)
“Part of your strategic planning when you’re stopping and you’re sitting down and you’re looking at, ‘What do I want next year to look like?’ you’re looking at, ‘What do we do now really well? What could we maybe not do anymore? What else could we do? What could we introduce that would bring a new passion or innovation into the office?’ And then, again, not only are you setting yourself up to look attractive to potential patients, as long as your marketing coincides, which we just mentioned, but your team too. It’s really great for your team to also be on board with, ‘You know what? This is what we do really, really well here.’” (19:39—20:13)
“If you aren’t the implant king, that’s fine. If you do really solid general dentistry, your one thing may just be the patient experience. It might be how we treat people here is the one thing. That’s what we do. We have a different experience than what you’re going to get down the street. So, it might be, ‘I do great crowns. I do great general dentistry. I refer out all my endo. I refer out all my oral surgery,’ the flashy stuff that gets talked about more often. But your thing that you do well that sets you apart could be how you treat people and how people feel when they leave your practice. It could be as simple as that. So, I wanted to put that out there. There doesn’t have to be some flashy, new thing that’s going on in dentistry. It can genuinely be just doing a really good job with some general dentistry but treating people exceptionally well so that that experience stands out.” (20:56—21:46)
“Step number four is, how do we know if we’re successful? What are we going to measure? How are we going to measure it? You have to start by looking at where the data is coming from now, reflecting backwards. Now, the facts reflect the past, not the future. But if we don’t look at the past, then how do we know? Like you said, you’re just lofty goals, just throw them out there and see what happens, versus using the data that we do have and then seeing where we can grow from there. So, step number one for how we will succeed is, let’s look at how successful we were within this calendar year. Now, if it’s October and you’re planning or starting your strategic planning, you’re going to have three quarters. You’re not going to have a full year. That’s okay. We can make some predictions. But that’s the first step, is really looking at what we’ve accomplished so far — SWOC. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, challenges. What can we look back at that went well or didn’t go well so that we can start setting new goals and targets for the upcoming year?” (22:21—23:24)
“You have to stop and celebrate what you have accomplished. So, you have to measure progress by how far we have come from where we were. It can’t just be, ‘But we’re not here yet.’ Yeah. But we’re here today, and it’s not where we were two quarters ago, one quarter ago, three quarters ago. So, yes, there is something to be said about progress and being able to celebrate that along the way. If you aim for perfection all the time, you’re going to be disappointed. So, you have to aim for small, incremental improvements.” (25:20—25:51)
“Something I heard recently at a presentation that I was at, they talked about the one percent rule. There was a graph, and it said over the course of the year, if every single day you improve by one percent, then you’re going to end up 37.78% improved with that one percent each day, where the opposite was, if you aren’t, then you’re actually going to be like at zero to 0.3. You gain maybe three-tenths of a point of growth by not taking that — reading a book for ten minutes a day, every day. You don’t have to read, say, 37 books. But if you read ten minutes a day, you’re going to be that much further along.” (25:52—26:31)
“When you’re setting goals, it is really, really important to think about progress. Look at where you were. Think of where you want to go, because you need to have that bar out there for where, ideally, you want to be. We call it the dream year. Where would you like to be? But then, you have to also set realistic goals because you want to be able to achieve them. You want to be able to celebrate them with your team throughout the year and see that, ‘Hey, when we put our heads together, when we put a lot of intention behind what we’re doing and we work together as a team, we’re going to be able to hit these targets and hit these goals, and we’re going to be able to keep growing. If they’re unrealistic, you’ll hit a wall and then it’ll feel discouraging.” (26:31—27:07)
“Don’t set your goals based on what your buddy and your study club sets his goals on. They have a completely different practice. Look at your data, look at your team, look at your core competencies, and then you’re going to plan your strategy that fits you, not comparing ourselves to anybody else and what they’re doing out there.” (28:00—28:17)
“Step number five is looking at what is truly most important right now. So, when we go into deep diving into the practice, like we’re talking about looking so deeply and intently at our core values and our core purpose, and what do we do, and how are we going to make it happen, and what are our goals, you’re going to have so many ideas that come up. You’re going to have so many thoughts, new systems that you want to develop, new things that you want to try or implement, and you really have to prioritize through all of that and come up with what is the most important thing or things that we focus on right now. What do we need to start doing? What do we need to stop doing? What do we need to continue doing?” (28:37—29:18)
“We have to decide, number six, who must do what. This is the accountability piece. It’s the key to consistency. A big theme going on with trust right now is all about consistency, and it’s also a key to performance. You were just talking about Notre Dame. You were talking about athletes. They’re going to be the first ones that tell you that consistency and accountability are what get you to the goal line. So, if you want to get to that finish line, you have to make sure that you not only prioritize what’s most important now, but you account someone to be the keeper of or the owner of whatever that particular item is.” (32:51—33:29)
“Share your plans with your team. Once you have this strategic plan, and you may be already developing it with a leadership team, but you do want to, once you get through with everything, bring it into the fold to your whole team and have everyone be responsible. Assign accountability. Make sure there are owners to these different priorities, either amongst your leadership team or the team themselves. It’s going to take everybody to make it happen. You cannot do it alone. Even if you sign up for everything, we’re going to take some of those responsibilities away. You’ve got to spread the love because that’s what’s going to help, is having your whole team, the transparency of where we’re trying to go. I’m inspired to get there because you’ve shared the purpose with me. You’ve shared your values with me. We have a path. You have made it very clear. You’ve charted that course for us, and now we want to help you. So, help us to be accountable. What can we do? [Make] sure that we create clarity in identifying the individual responsibilities for those priorities and tasks.” (33:30—34:27)
“If you are a solid leader who develops a solid strategic plan and shares it with the team, and you have very clear direction and expectation around that, and then you are going to lead the charge, people are going to be inspired. They’re going to do more, and you’re not going to need as many people. I know that sounds a little bit crazy, but I work with some teams that have six, seven administrative team members. I’m like, ‘You don’t need that many administrative team members.’ ‘Yeah, but we’re so busy.’ We’re just not clear enough about what everyone’s expectations are, and we’re not empowering people to really grow and reach their full potential because they’re not inspired. They don’t even know why they’re showing up and doing that every day. But when all of these pieces come into play, team members are inspired. They want the responsibility. The right people enjoy the accountability. You can run a solid team on maybe five of those team members, and we don’t necessarily need to hire that person that we’ve been trying to hire for eight months because the team we have can do it and we’re empowering them.” (36:06—37:08)
“One of the things [Craig Groeschel] talked about was, be clear with what you expect. But then, the key points behind that, consistently reward when you see it, and consistently correct when you don’t. I think those are the big misses from most of our teams. If the expectation is not there — our big thing here is E – R = C, expectations minus reality equals conflict. And conflict always becomes a crisis if it’s unresolved.” (37:24—37:51)
“If the expectations are clear and it’s still not happening, well, I bet we’re not consistently rewarding when people are meeting those expectations, and I bet we’re not consistently correcting when people are not. Now, there’s finesse to how we correct. That’s a whole other podcast. But it’s the consistency piece, being consistent with our expectations, and then rewarding consistently when we see them, and then consistently correcting when we don’t see them. If we let it slide three, four, five, six times, it’s that much harder to correct it later. So, when we have this plan in place and we have a clear focus on what we want to accomplish, the accountability is there, the expectation has been laid out, now, it’s our job as leaders to consistently reward our team when they’re following through and meeting those expectations, and consistently course-correct when they’re off track.” (37:56—38:42)
“How bad do you want to live that better life? All it takes is making a better practice, which just takes some strategy and some intention. It’s hard, but if you follow the recipe, it’s not that hard to get there in the end if it’s what you really, really want. Who wants to be miserable every single day, right? So, you have to take the initiative and say, ‘I really want this for myself. I can do it, and I have a team that’s going to support me in the process.” (39:57—40:22)
“If you fail to plan, you are planning — you’re just planning to fail. You’re planning either way you go, so why not plan for success by following this blueprint for a strategic plan and putting that into action, bringing your team into the fold? Because if you fail to plan, you’re guaranteed to achieve that. So, that’s the first step, is looking at it and knowing that, like you said, it’s hard work, but — I love how you put that — it’s a lot harder when your chair is empty and there are no team members walking through the door to support you. So, when you are successful, it comes from intention and making sure that you are strategically always reflecting, modifying, course-correcting as need be, and putting a plan into place. If you feel like it’s too much, lean into your coach. If you don’t have a coach, you could get one. Coaches are great mentors.” (41:19—42:14)
“You cannot do a comprehensive case, a full-mouth occlusion case, without a plan. And we tell our patients that, right? Like, ‘We’re going into this, and we have to have this digitally planned process,’ in the same way that you would need a blueprint to design a house. Now, you can build a house without a blueprint. But the doors might not shut, and the roof might leak, and we might flood when a storm comes to town. Now, we could do that full-mouth case without a plan. But the patient’s bite might be off, and now they end up with TMJ dysfunction. And so, it’s the same thing, right? You can go through next year without a plan. But if you have one, you are much more likely to reach those ideals that you’re trying to achieve and to reach success, and to not have a leaky roof or an imbalanced bite in the end.” (43:28—44:15)
2:14 Why planning now is important.
5:01 Find your core purpose.
6:34 Use your “why” to build trust.
10:41 Revisit your core purpose.
12:11 Thoughtfully form your set of values.
16:40 Reflect on what you do well.
22:10 Reflect, then set new goals.
24:28 Progress, not perfection.
28:31 Focus on the most important things.
32:19 Decide who does what.
34:28 Inspire your team with a plan.
35:56 Consistently reward, and consistently correct.
39:52 Take initiative.
41:10 If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.
46:21 Last thoughts.
Miranda Beeson, MS, BSDH Bio:
Miranda Beeson, MS, BSDH, has over 25 years of clinical dental hygiene, front office, practice administration, and speaking experience. She is enthusiastic about communication and loves helping others find the power that words can bring to their patient interactions and practice dynamics. As a Lead Practice Coach, she is driven to create opportunities to find value in experiences and cultivate new approaches.
Miranda graduated from Old Dominion University, and enjoys spending time with her husband, Chuck, and her children, Trent, Mallory, and Cassidy. Family time is the best time, and is often spent on a golf course, a volleyball court, or spending the day boating at the beach.