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Hitting Your Dental Professional Development Goals, The SMART Way

By Rachel Moody, MBA on July 5, 2016 in Dental Business, Dental Marketing

Six months ago in January, you made annual goals to increase your dental professional development. Eager to improve and excel, you had energy and excitement behind your efforts.

Well, the year is half over. Are you still on track to meet your goals?

Of course, maybe you didn’t make goals in January. Maybe you haven’t put into words what you want for your practice and your career this year, except for the general sentiment to enjoy a profitable practice and perform top-notch dentistry on behalf of your patients.

There are still six months left in 2016; it’s not too late to get more precise. Ask yourself…what are your dental professional development goals for 2016?

Making SMART Goals

Having goals is a brilliant start, but not enough. The actions you take to achieve the goals are what matter most. Those that set goals and then craft a plan to hit those goals are the ones that will achieve their goals.

For many years, the concept of SMART goals has permeated the business world. SMART goals are designed to state what you want to accomplish, set expectations for those involved, and include improvements using both performance and development goals. Performance goals are position-specific, linked to job responsibilities, and associated to a higher-level goal. Development goals are based on learning and support career advancement.

SMART is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific: Refers to the action you will take to make your goal.
  • Measurable: Explains how you will measure your progress.
  • Achievable: Examines whether you have the resources and skills needed to accomplish your goal. *
  • Relevant: Explores whether the goal aligns with your broader goals for your life.
  • Timely: Determines the time frame in which you want to accomplish your goal.

*  Remember this one. We will come back to it later.

 An example of a SMART goal for dental professional development might be:

“I want to challenge myself to

 broaden my treatment options for periodontitis (Specific)

by learning a minimally-invasive technique (Action)

 to improve treatment acceptance rates (Measurable)

for my patients who need it (Relevant)

by December 31, 2016 (Timely).”

Creating An Action Plan

Now that you have a SMART goal, you can then create an action plan. Action plans break down your tasks into steps needed to accomplish your SMART goal. They serve two additional purposes as well:

  • They identify whether your time frame is achievable and the resources are available to achieve your SMART goal.
  • They map out the exact route to success and provide a guide for monitoring progress.

Next, you need to define how you will measure your progress to your goal. What type of measurement will you use? Measuring is easier when you can collect data before and after and compare it.  However, you can also measure effectively by defining what success looks like and how your action contributes directly to that goal. For example, we could measure “improve treatment acceptance rates” in our statement by tracking treatment acceptance rates before learning a minimally-invasive technique and comparing to treatment acceptance rates after incorporating the new technique.

To read more about Smart Goals from MIT’s HR Website, please click here.

Learning the LANAP® Protocol is a SMART Goal for Every Clinician

The A in SMART goal stands for achievable. This component is critical to both motivation and success. After all, if you set an impossible goal, you aren’t going to be motivated to work hard for it, which means you won’t be successful.

In our example of a SMART goal (chosen at random, of course!), the specific action is “to broaden my treatment options for periodontitis by learning a minimally-invasive technique.”

The LANAP® Protocol is the only laser treatment to treat gum disease that is FDA cleared for True Regeneration, offering an alternative to conventional surgery. It is performed with the PerioLase MVP-7. It can target the source of inflammation without hurting or removing healthy gum tissue. It also slows attachment loss or stops it altogether and decreases the patient’s pocket depth – not by resection, but through regeneration of  bone.

Often we hear doctors say they adopted the LANAP® Protocol because they like keep challenging themselves clinically, or were looking for a better way to treat their patients. Other clinicians admit they were bored with their present clinical practice. Either way, the dentists tell us they are excited they found the “next big thing” for their practice. And when we say next big thing, we mean more revenue (up to $100,000 per year or more), higher treatment acceptance rates (90% higher) and, most importantly, better patient outcomes.

There is no time like the present to get SMART about your dental professional development goals. And it’s not too late to hit them before the end of the year.

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