Setting goals is easy. So, why is it so hard to achieve them? It’s because you’re not setting SMART goals! To decode what they are, Kirk Behrendt brings back Heather Crockett, one of ACT’s amazing coaches, to help you master the goal-setting process. Don’t just set goals — make them happen! To learn everything you need to know about setting and achieving your goals, listen to Episode 633 of The Best Practices Show!
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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)
Read Atomic Habits by James Clear
Read Scaling Up by Verne Harnish
Understand the difference between a goal and a target.
Reflect on why you have the goals that you have.
Know how to create SMART goals and targets.
You can measure, track, or rate anything.
What gets measured gets improved.
“Goals help us because goals are statements that are more tangible that are going to help us to achieve that outcome.” (5:20—5:27)
“It’s better if [your goals are] meaningful. So, if it’s something that means something to you, or if you think it’s something that you should do, there’s a difference there. I ask a lot of my clients, my new clients, especially, when they come on with me, ‘Is this something that you think you should do just because it’s the status quo, or is this something that is meaningful to you and is going to ultimately bring you that better practice and that better life?’” (6:01—6:27)
“If you don’t have that direction, and you don’t have that vision, and you don’t put words to it and write it down somewhere, you’re going to end up somewhere else. And that somewhere else may be completely off track of where it is that you truly want to be.” (7:34—7:48)
“A goal is a statement, a specific statement, that moves you closer to a larger future outcome. Like I said before, an outcome is more intangible. An outcome is more of an emotional, ‘This is where I want to be.’ A goal is a statement that helps you to get there. And it could be multiple goals that help you to attain one specific outcome.” (9:00—9:25)
“Tangible results are something that’s easier to achieve in a timely fashion, where an outcome, we’re not sure exactly how long it’s going to take us to get to that outcome. But by giving the goal that statement, that specific statement . . . that will give us a better time frame. And goals could take a quarter. They could take a year. They could take a little longer than a year. But I would say no more than two or three years, at most, for a specific goal.” (11:04—11:37)
“In the brainstorming exercise that I work my clients through, it asks them, ‘Are you doing this goal because you think you should do something like this, or are you doing this because this is what you really, truly want?’ Because you’re going to have more motivation and inspiration from yourself and where you want to go, versus where you think you should go based off of the status quo.” (12:17—12:38)
“When you start with the why, you’re going to get your team on board a lot quicker.” (14:04—14:08)
“A target, it’s that hard data. It’s going to take it and make it black and white. It takes the subjectivity out and makes everything objective. It gives us evidence and proves to us whether we are on track or off track with achieving that statement goal that we set.” (14:21—14:38)
“Whatever you’re measuring gets monitored. What gets monitored gets attention. What gets attention gets action. And what gets action is going to get you the result that you need, which is achieving the goal that you set, that statement goal. Those targets help to take that emotion piece out of it to say, ‘Okay, if our goal is to have 100 patients, then we’re going to report on that every single week.’ If we need to get 100 patients in three months, great. Then, we’re going to break that down into a monthly number. And then, we’re going to be able to have great discussions and conversations as a team. When that number is off track, we’re going to put some countermeasures in place. What action could we take today, rather than waiting three months, then looking at the number to go, ‘Oh, okay. This hasn’t changed at all.’ So, we need to have a system, a process in place, to report on where we are with our targets, and then give space for those countermeasure conversations to occur.” (15:45—16:43)
“We have a scorecard in Google Sheets. If our goal is 100 patients and we’re not there when we need to be, then it’s going to show up red. Red does something to me. That drives me crazy. I’m a competitive person. I want my number to be in the green. Green is comfortable. Green means that we’re doing great. So, having those colors associated with it helps to give us that motivation as well.” (17:52—18:17)
“A SMART goal means that we’re going to make it Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound. That’s what a SMART goal means. Now, we’re talking about goals and targets. So, the smart piece of things does affect both your goals and your targets. As we dive into specific, what is it exactly that we want to do? We need to better define — for example, you said, ‘What I mean by a healthy culture, a healthy company,’ and then you started listing off core values, core purpose. You have to define what “better” looks like. So, that’s the specific thing. For example, if you say, ‘I want to be a better runner,’ well, what does “better” mean to you? And that’s where it’s smart. If you take all of your goals and targets through this SMART process, you’ll be able to get more specific. You’ll be able to get to that measurable piece, and you’ll be able to get to where it’s attainable.” (20:29—21:29)
“Let’s talk about the “M” now in [SMART goals]. “M” stands for measurable. This is where your target associated with your goal comes into play. So, this is how you’re going to ask yourself, ‘How am I going to track my progress to achieving my statement goal?’ That’s your measurable piece. This is your KPI. This is your number. For example, if you wanted to run a marathon three months from now, how fast do you want to be able to run that marathon? How much training are you going to do now? How many miles do you need to run every single day? That’s your measurable piece.” (24:18—24:56)
“I have clients tell me all the time, ‘Well, that’s not really something that we can measure or track.’ Yes, it is. You can measure, track, or rate anything.” (25:53—26:01)
“Don’t give me any excuses or reasons why you can’t track something — everything can be tracked.” (26:26—26:33)
“The next one, “A” [in SMART goals] is for attainable. So, is this really, truly realistic for me and my practice now? Do I have exactly what I need? Does my team have what they need in order to achieve it?’” (27:10—27:23)
“Now, this is where you could get into a little bit of a trap. If you did $1 million last year, you say, ‘Okay. Well, I’m just going to set my goal for $1 million this year because we’ve done it before.’ I would say, no, you’ve still got to push yourself. So, with this, attainable, you can end up in that trap. This is where a coach could really come in and help you to set that attainable goal, push yourself, and challenge yourself the right amount and not go too far that you fail so hard that then your team also loses trust in you because you set this wild, crazy goal as well. So, there is a happy medium in there, and a coach can really help you with that.” (28:25—29:01)
“[The “R” in SMART goals is] Relevance. Does this really, truly matter to me? Is this where I want to go? This goes back to setting those meaningful goals. Am I doing this for me and the practice, or am I doing this because I believe that society thinks that I should? So, this comes back to the “why” in your goal statements. Is it truly relevant to me, and who I am, and where the practice is going because this is who we are?” (30:50—31:17)
“If you want to achieve something within a certain time frame, you have to ask yourself the question, ‘What is it about my life that I need to change in order to get there?’ Because oftentimes, these goals and targets, they’re going to require your time and your attention. So, what in your life do you need to remove, change, or modify in order to focus on these goals? Be smart and keep in mind just how realistic and attainable is it within that time frame.” (33:28—34:00)
“I have a client who, they have a target to do $1.5 million production for the entire year. Great. So, then we have to know that first quarter in, we need to be X amount. Second quarter, we need to be X amount. And I would bring out the math . . . We had a conversation just this past week to say, ‘Okay, we are not on track to reach this by the time frame that we have set. So, what countermeasures do we need to put in place to make that happen within this same time-bound time frame that we have put on us?’ And it is achievable. It is totally achievable. Because we are tracking that target in order to get to that goal, we will get there because we’re having the right conversations, because we set SMART goals, SMART targets, in order to get there, and we’re having the conversations around those countermeasures when we need to.” (34:32—35:31)
“Understanding the difference between the goal and the target will help you to achieve more because you’ll be able to separate the two things, have your statements, and then have your KPIs and your metrics that you will report on weekly, monthly, and then be able to set great countermeasures in place for that. Make sure that you are making both your goals and your targets SMART goals and targets so that they are time-bound, they are realistic, and they are specific. This will help to give you and your team direction and purpose. If you have the right team members on your team, they’re not going to want to just come in and punch a clock, punch in, and punch out. They’re going to want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Setting those meaningful goals and targets will help you to get there. And by doing that, you will have mastered that process of achieving those goals and targets.” (35:54—36:43)
2:30 Why having goals and targets is important.
5:29 What to understand about achieving goals.
8:47 Goals, explained.
10:58 A good time frame for goals.
12:07 Reflect on why you have the goal.
14:11 Targets, defined.
14:40 What gets measured gets improved.
17:49 Use colors to simplify countermeasures.
20:09 SMART goals, explained.
35:50 Last thoughts.
37:53 More about ACT’s To The Top Study Club.
Heather Crockett Bio:
Heather Crockett is a Lead Practice Coach who finds joy in not only improving practices but improving the lives of those she coaches as well. With over 20 years of combined experience in assisting, office management, and clinical dental hygiene, her awareness supports many aspects of the practice setting.
Heather received her dental hygiene degree from the Utah College of Dental Hygiene in 2008. Networking in the dental community comes easy to her, and she loves to connect with like-minded colleagues on social media. Heather enjoys both attending and presenting continuing education to expand her knowledge and learn from her friends and colleagues.
She enjoys hanging out with her husband, three sons, and their dog, Moki, scrolling through social media, watching football, and traveling.
Kirk Behrendt is the Founder of ACT Dental, a customized coaching company for dentists. He has invested his entire professional life studying the top dental practices in the world and the leadership that guides them. As the founder of ACT, his vision is driven by the commitment to provide highly personalized care to the dental profession. By creating a talented team of experts, Kirk and his team continue to positively impact the practice of dentistry one practice at a time. His personal mission is to use up every ounce of his potential. He lectures all over the world to help individuals take control of their own lives. Kirk has been recognized as one of Dentistry Today as one of Top Leaders in Dental. Dr. Peter Dawson called him “THE best motivator I have ever heard.” He loves cycling, basketball, stand-up comedy, and most of all, spending time with his wife, Sarah, and children Kinzie, Lily, Zoe & Bo.
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