By Dr. Robert Frazer, Jr.
Do you feel fulfilled, appreciated, and rewarded at the end of your workday? Do you feel an increasing sense of satisfaction with more freedom and less burden of responsibility due to your staff’s high level of shared leadership commitment? Do the great majority of your patients choose your finest and most complete care? Have you achieved, or are you well on the way to achieving, financial freedom? If you answered “yes” to the above questions, then you most likely have a vision for yourself, your family, your staff, and your practice. You may even have an Applied Strategic Plan (ASP).
The first step in such a process is the creation of a vision of YOUR future.
What is this process we abbreviate “ASP” and why does it begin with vision? Let’s begin with a history lesson.
In the first century B.C., the Roman philosopher and senator Seneca said, “Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man (and I would add woman) does not know for what port he is making, then no wind is the right wind.” Seneca was right. No ship has ever missed the port because the port moved. The course set by the captain was wrong!
How many colleagues do you know who always seem to follow the latest speaker or fad and perhaps experience short-term improvement, although all too temporary? A year later they are back where they started, or have developed an entirely new set of problems (sometimes worse than the previous ones). Why? When a man does not know for what port he is making, then no wind is the right wind.”
ASP guides you in the process of clarifying your values and create an image of your future… a vision….one that is personally and professionally congruent with your values.
You may be asking, “What do you mean vision? And how does that differ from mission?” Vision is a waking dream —a consciously created fantasy of what we would like to become. Vision expresses our deepest values about work, family, community, achievement, and self. It creates a preferred future with a purpose of greatness. Vision comes from the heart, while mission comes from the head. Mission is our pathway to the vision.
This comprehensive model of applied planning focuses on the process of planning, not the plan that is produced. It is the process of self-examination, the confrontation of difficult choices, and the establishment of priorities that characterize successful ASP.
Outside skilled facilitation with this process is most successful as we are often blind to our own limiting viewpoints. Such facilitators keep us on course, coach us when stuck…keep us moving to the vision we want to create! Our experience has proven when Applied Strategic Planning is undertaken seriously, it is inspiring and the results are exponential, resulting in quantum gains in effectiveness and life/work balance. Such things as team commitment, case acceptance, sense of fulfillment, targeted marketing, continuity of purpose and action, profitability, etc., don’t improve 10 or 15 percent, but rather 50 to 150 percent!
Competing on equal grounds in our dental world today lends itself to having a strategic plan with a strong vision based on your solid values. Imagine you are the head coach of an NFL team playing a worthy opponent. Both teams have tremendous athletes and great teams; however, your opponent has a clear pathway to the vision of victory. Which team would you bet was going to win the game?
An innovative leader in the world of dentistry, Dr. Frazer is a highly skilled speaker, coach/consultant for dentists and practices offering transformational services including strategic planning, performance coaching, Emotional Intelligence education, and exceptional leadership skills. Recognized as the foremost authority in strategic planning and management in dentistry today, he has led dentists, associations, dental schools, manufacturers, and countless private practices across North America to become strategic thinkers achieving the highest levels of success, significance, fulfillment and profitability.