Make your resolution a reality

March 21, 2012

The new year brings many of us face to face with a daunting set of wish lists. We call them “resolutions” or even “goals.” We look at what we want to accomplish personally and professionally and-having written them down-proceed to ignore them and work in ways that manage to bring about somewhat opposite results. How does that happen?

The new year brings many of us face to face with a daunting set of wish lists. We call them “resolutions” or even “goals.” We look at what we want to accomplish personally and professionally and-having written them down-proceed to ignore them and work in ways that manage to bring about somewhat opposite results.

How does that happen?

Powerful failures come from not truly having a plan. The resolutions made at the beginning of the year are mostly empty wishes with no clear vision of a desired outcome nor any sense of strategy for how to accomplish anything past the very first steps.

So, dear leader-and if you’re not the dentist, then dear reader-to be successful, you need only to follow a few relatively simple steps and then, the difficult part: Follow through.

Step one

Create a wish list. Call it that. It’s not a resolution, it’s a wish. What do you want this year? Do you want to lose 20 pounds? Do you want to take more time off? Do you want to buy a new digital radiography set-up? Do you want to outfit another operatory? Do you want to contribute more to your retirement fund?

Don’t go overboard here. Jot down five or six possible things you believe you can focus on this year. Even though “winning the lottery” may be a wish, don’t write it on this list because there’s no real way to strategically achieve it with any certainty or reasonable Return On Investment (ROI). To reframe and recap, the first step toward powerful leadership is to create your list of desired outcomes that tie to your vision.

Step two

For each of the items listed, determine the resources needed. Will the item cost you money? Will it require your time or someone else’s? Will you need help to get it done?

Don’t just look at the list item and mumble something like “Oh, yeah, that’ll cost something.” By now you need to have started a five-column grid. Column one is the “to do” item. Column two is the notation of anticipated resources required-time/money/people. Don’t be vague here; be as specific as possible.

Step three

Determine when you want the project completed. Remember, whether it’s losing 10 pounds or implementing a new digital radiography system, you need to have an end date in mind. Again, be specific.

Also, in the five-column grid you’ve started, put the due date in the third column.

Step four

More resource assessment: To whom can you delegate? You need to be able to be the CEO of your company and have various self-directed executives making decisions on your behalf. Who can oversee the project and report back to you?

Letting go of every detail takes some getting used to, but remember, this is about new leadership in the new year. Practice delegating and fill in column four on your chart with the project manager’s name.

The fifth column on the grid is for notes. Is there anything special you or the project manager needs to know along the way (e.g., report back dates or other requirements like cutting electricity or painting during non-patient hours).

Step five

Build a communication plan. What needs to be said to whom, in what format, and by when? Your team members need to know what to expect so they can be in alignment with you moving forward. Remember you’re leading, not pushing. Tell the team where you’re heading!

Do patients need to know anything? What about vendors? Also, consider the format for communication; will you discuss at a team meeting, post fliers, send letters, do an e-mail blast or engage in sky writing? Decide what you are going to say, to whom, and how it will be communicated.

Step six

A leader needs to know that what has been hoped for and planned on is actually getting done.

Assessing milestones along the way to final outcomes is essential to being able to course correct if you’re off track. A plane flies for thousands of miles and lands on a tiny strip of asphalt because it has corrected for deviations along the way. Make sure you land where you wanted to land by assessing your progress and keeping the outcome in mind. The question to keep in front of you:

“Is what I’m doing right now getting me closer to or further from my goal?”
Follow these six steps using the five-column grid, and you’ll be ready to turn your wishes into attainable goals as a new leader in this new year! 

About the AuthorWayne Pernell, Ph.D., brings more than two decades of management, consultation and executive coaching experience to the Pride consulting and coaching team. Drawing on his background in clinical psychology, Dr. Pernell’s private practice evolved to focus on leading change in organizations.