I hope you have been thinking and praying about last week’s Wisdom as we get closer to Camp. Keep asking God to show you how you are to be working on your sanctification and transformation with the goal being a more and more Christ-like character. Again, it is important to understand that this is not some kind of end goal that you can check off your to do list, but rather a daily commitment to die to self and surrender to the Holy Spirit.
This is good lead-in to what I want to discuss this morning, which is being process oriented vs. outcome oriented. I want to you to have goals that relate to specific measurable outcomes in your practice. These would include volume, collections, missed appointment percentages, etc. but your definition of success cannot be measured solely on if you hit your numbers. It is more important to identify if you are training properly on the right things, in order to move towards your goals.
Let’s say your goal was to grow by a hundred patient visits in the first 6 months of the year. At the end of June, you checked your statistics, and you missed your goal by 50 patient visits. If you are focused only on outcomes, then the first 6 months of 2014 would be penciled in as a failure and this would typically take you into a little bit of a tail spin, if not an all out free fall. If on the other hand, you focus on process, this allows you to take a much more empowering look at your first two quarters. It allows you to ask several important, and empowering questions about the previous months. Did I do the things I said I was going to do to achieve my goal? Did I follow through on the Gap projects that were going to help me reach my goal? Were there circumstances beyond my control that I could not have predicted that affected my outcomes? Where do I need to improve my training? Was the goal correct but the timeline too short?
Being process oriented allows you to better assess your efforts, and determine if you are moving in the right direction. Perhaps as you look at the 6 months you realize that there was a lot of great seed planted, but the harvest just needs more time. Or maybe you got derailed because of “life”, and it is obvious where you stopped training and stopped sowing. Either way, you will be better able to determine your future efforts, whether it’s stay the course or change strategies.
The most common reasons for missed goals, is succumbing to fear of man. This is a bit of a rabbit trail but, allow me to give a little teaching on a related topic. Fear of man affects different people in different ways. For some docs outreach is easy. They love to screen and do talks and give people the opportunity to get well. For others this is a huge Gap to step into and it takes everything they have to create and execute an outreach strategy. Other docs are great at retention. They have no trouble with spouse at the report, 12 month programs or talking about lifetime care during the report. Others bend the rules or have no rules and try to start everyone because they fear rejection. They think they are doing it to be nice, but ultimately they do it because they are afraid. *Important note here. Sometimes, especially if you are new to Warrior procedures, are not yet profitable, or are coming from a very different paradigm, it is good to create some easier rules so that more people start. However if you want to build a high volume, high retention practice, then you will eventually need to tighten up the rules on plans, spouse at the report, reconversion reports etc, otherwise you will get frustrated because people will not stay. Ultimately you need to get good at both outreach and procedure to grow to your goal.
Once you can identify where you are falling short with the process, you can set up a training schedule to improve in those areas. The next quarter needs to be different from the last quarter. If you are only goal oriented then you will keep doing the same thing and nothing will change. Actually, you will work harder at the same thing and nothing will change, and you will get frustrated.
I will leave you with a triathlon training and racing analogy. (This is not intended to get you doing triathlons. I do want you to train in the pain, so pick your poison. I don’t care what you do. You can do high intensity interval training, cross fit, body building, marathons, ultras, obstacle races…the list goes on. You just need to train enough to create adaptation over the course of a lifetime.) Triathlon is challenging in the sense that there are three different sports in one. But really it is combining all three in sequence that make it one sport. Over the past few years I have trained quite a bit and have had some success in process and outcomes. As I got better outcomes I started to become more outcome oriented. Goals like sub 11 hour ironman, and top 5 finishes in my age group started to creep into my head. That is all well and good, but I also needed to stay focused on process. Here’s why. There are too many things that can go right or wrong in any given race that are completely out of my control. It could be colder or hotter or windier. I could be injured, like I am now with a calf pull, and unable to train the run. If my goal was a time number, then I could easily “fail”. Even if everything went right with training and racing, but a bunch of really fast guys show up at the race I’m doing, it will affect my standings. Some years 11 hours could win my age group and other years, it won’t get me a top ten finish. Again, who shows up is completely out of my control. The obvious solution is focus on having fun and getting better in all three sports. This past winter was extremely busy and it gave me an excuse to get a little undisciplined with my training. Once I got down to some serious training, it was obvious that some of my early races where not going to be as fast as usual. I reset my time goals to be realistic to my training and fitness and then executed accordingly. Was I slower? Yes, but I looked at my results and knew I was in process. This led to better training and preparation for future races. I had a really solid 8 week block of training this summer that was fun and energizing. We will see what the fall brings.
The only thing I can control is how well I train and how well I execute my race plan. It doesn’t matter what anyone else does. If I assess my race outcomes through process, I can accurately assess if the race was a success or failure regardless of outcome. I will also know what to keep training on. Otherwise if I miss my goals I could get discouraged and quit.
Process allows me to write a story and enjoy the journey. Process looks at the long term and creates a compelling future. Process leads to love and joy and helps to keep worry, frustration and anger at bay. Process orientation leads to better training for a lifetime.
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