Write It Down

Patrick Bauer

Patrick C. Bauer
President and Chief Executive Officer of Heartland Dental

The importance of goal setting is a widely discussed topic (In the past, we’ve covered this topic several times in this publication). Yet many people don’t have a clear idea of what their goals are, and even fewer write them down.

In 1979, a study was conducted at Harvard University in the MBA program. Graduate students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future? If so, how do you plan to accomplish them?” It was found that only three percent had written goals and action plans, 13 percent had goals in mind but did not write them down and the other 84 percent had no specific goals at all. Fast forward 10 years, the same group of individuals was interviewed again and the results were astounding. The 13 percent who had goals but did not write them down was earning twice the amount of the 84 percent who had no goals at all. But the real eye-opener, the three percent who had written goals was earning an average of 10 times more than the other 97 percent combined! Certainly, there is more to measuring overall success than just looking at earnings. But this study is still a great example of how writing specific goals and action plans will help you achieve more.

Goals need to be more than sentences on a piece of paper though. How will you achieve this goal? Why does this goal need to be achieved? What is your timeframe for this goal? How will you measure your progress? All of these questions need to be considered if you truly want to succeed. Written goals should be in S.M.A.R.T. format. They need to be: specific — what, when, why and who, measurable — establish what criteria to measure in determining progress, attainable — how will you reach this goal, realistic — a goal that you’re able and willing to work for, and timely — establish a set time frame.

At the beginning of 2015, one of Heartland Dental’s goals was to encourage all supported dentist to create top 10 business goals for themselves and write them down. We are excited to see how this process will help supported dentists advance their leadership skills and level of care even further.

As we approach the end of 2015, I encourage you to start thinking about what your goals are for 2016. And of course, be sure to write them down!