The people who are most successful are the ones investing the most in their success. They are going beyond their comfort zones and stretching to learn and achieve new things in new ways every 90 days. Successful people have developed success habits that lead them to achie results on a regular basis.
Results matter. Visible results show us and everyone working with us, what we are accomplishing. Focus on the results you want to achieve while challenging yourself in new ways, to gain new knowledge or skills, that allow you to grow your practice.
Challenging ourselves to grow while managing our daily operations can feel overwhelming. A powerful way to keep focused, to create actionable daily steps, and to build momentum for goal accomplishment is to use what I call the 90 Day Sprint. Ninety days is a measurable and manageable timeframe. Ninety days is the number of days in a business quarter. And research shows that 90 days is a realistic timeframe for creating change within ourselves and our business practices.
The 90 Day Sprint is about staying focused, step by step. It’s about breaking down the most complicated visions and goals into simple next steps. It’s about identifying milestones that we want to achieve as we complete our daily and weekly steps toward accomplishing our vision. A 90 day sprint is about moving forward one step at a time with focus, speed, surety, and inspiration for all involved.
Here’s how to build your 90 Day Sprint plan.
Every plan starts with a vision of what we want to accomplish. What is your one year vision? What do you want to see happing in your practice one year from now? Two years from now? A vision for a practice might include “doubling our income in one year.” Or a vision might be to “add one new location in order to grow our business.” Yet another vision could be “in two years we will be at 90% utilization in two locations with a team that loves coming to work every day and that provides excellent client services.”
That last example might sound too big. However, being a bit uncomfortable with your vision is a good thing; it means you are stretching your beliefs about what is possible. Being very comfortable with your vision may mean that you are becoming complacent about the evolution and success of your practice. Think BIG about your vision.
With your one (or two) year vision in hand, and in writing, you can work with your team to build a 90 Day Sprint plan of action for accomplishing the vision.
Work backward from the accomplishment of the vision to identify the first, and every succeeding, goal, and step needed to fulfill the vision. If you and your team are unable to identify goals, metrics, and milestones, you will be unable to build the momentum necessary for accomplishing your vision.
Many of us want to think through all of the details involved in vision accomplishment first, thereby paralyzing ourselves because of the size and number of tasks to be completed. Rather than allow yourself to be overwhelmed, stop. Break your vision down into manageable goals and steps that can be accomplished in a series of 90 day sprints.
First 90 Day Sprint
- Identify subset goals. Every vision is accomplished by the daily actions we take. With your vision in hand, break down the steps needed to accomplish your vision. Remember that goals are specific and timed. Goals identify not only what will be done but also whom will complete each action item and when. Here are some examples of goals that could help a practice achieve the above vision statements.
- During week one of our 90 day sprint, we will identify how much money we make each day, week, and month. Our accountant will provide this information to us.
- During week two, we will study our numbers to identify our past, current, and expected future utilization rates. Our office manager will compile this information and provide it to us at our weekly staff meeting.
- During week two, we will identify whether our current utilization rates support the opening of a second location. As a staff team, we will discuss this at a staff meeting.
- During week three, we will determine what actions are needed to increase (or hold steady) our utilization rates. As a team, we will discuss this during a staff meeting.
- And so on. Week by week, identify what needs to be done, to be discussed, to be explored or decided. Identify who will do it and by when.
- Here are some subset goals from several of my clients.
- As the practice owner, I need to understand my financials. I am going to spend the next two weeks learning about my financial dashboard, what to track, and what our numbers are telling me. If I don’t understand financials I will read the book Simple Numbers to help me understand how my financials work so I can better understand the power of what is being measured in the dashboard.
- The 90 Day Sprint helped me realize that I am not focused enough to describe to my staff what actions need to be taken on a weekly basis to help us accomplish our one year vision. I commit to spending one week documenting subset goals for our vision accomplishment. During week two I will meet with my staff to get their input on goals and how we can work together to achieve them.
- I realize that I need to clearly communicate what my vision is and what the supporting steps for accomplishment really are. As a result, one of my goals is to clearly articulate what needs to be done, by whom and by what deadline. In the past, I’ve been too general, not held people to any deadlines, and found the practice floundering.
- Metrics and Milestones. When we measure our actions and our achievements, we know where we are, what we are doing to achieve our visions, and where we are falling short. In an automated practice, the financial dashboard provides metrics that tell us how we are performing.
A milestone is a recognizable action, accomplishment, or event that supports our progress toward fulfilling our vision. Think about the organizations that celebrates decades of being in business – this is a milestone celebration. Recall the companies that have recognized their one millionth customer – this too is a milestone celebration. In our practices, a milestone might be reaching 85%, then 90%, and even 95% utilization. Another practice milestone might be the hiring of an A Player who joins the team to provide more clinician hours.
- Network and Collaborate. Our ability to accomplish our visions depends on the people we have around us – those in our practice, supporting our practice, buying from our practice, and those referring others to our practice. Who are the people on your team with whom you can network and collaborate to achieve your vision? Strengthen your network. Explore who in your practice and business communities that you need to meet and network with for mutual success. Consider which of your team members can work with you, collaborating for the success of your practice. And, strengthen your collaboration skills so that you can work as effectively as possible with your internal and external teams.
- Share internally. Regular internal communication is critical to the planning and achievement of each 90 day sprint. One-on-one interactions, emails, staff meetings (watch my video on running effective staff meetings), and telephone calls are all ways in which you and your team communicate. Use each communication tool as effectively as possible to keep your momentum for and your focus on accomplishing your vision. And remember to share your wins on a regular basis. (See Gratitude Blog)
Following 90 Day Sprints
Every 90 days, repeat the process. Identify new goals, metrics and milestones that move you forward to accomplish your vision. If you did the work of creating your vision and then breaking down the steps, you should know what the next 90 day sprint is generally. You make need to adjust it slightly based on what you accomplished or learned in the previous 90 days but you’ll be close. Remember to keep things simple and to establish clear action items. Continue networking, collaborating, and sharing internally what the immediate steps and actions are, who will accomplish them, and who will recognize the accomplishments for celebration and ongoing forward planning.
The magic and power of the 90 day sprint is that it rolls forward into each following quarter, keeping us focused on what we want to accomplish and on the fulfillment of our visions.
Keep moving. Keep your energy growing and your momentum going by moving through your action items each day and week. Lead yourself and your team to accomplish weekly goals. Measure your successes to keep the sprint alive. Share successes to keep the team inspired. Before long, you’ll be looking back on each completed 90 day sprint and actually see the results of putting one foot in front of the other. Be sure to celebrate big when your four 90 day sprints have been completed and your one year vision is achieved!
Together, we continue learning, adapting, and growing our business practices. Have you taken the Practice Owner Quiz to see what kind of a practice owner you are? If not, visit thepracticefreedommethod.com and click the button that says take the quiz. Are you ready to really grow your practice systematically? I’d love to talk to you about next steps, let’s have a discussion. I’d like to hear what you have to say. If you’d like to have a conversation, please fill out the Owner’s Profile and it will give me some background so we can maximize the value of the conversation for you..