Goals are Dreams with Deadlines
 In Business Tips

goals are dreams with deadlines“Since you‘ve not been meeting your goal of 25 referral development contacts a month, lets just bump it up to 50 a month.” That is what my corporate boss said to me a few months into my first job as the director of an addiction treatment program.

I knew that these marketing calls were spelled out on my list of things to do to get my yearly bonus. But not being money driven, and not liking marketing calls, I just sort of ignored the seemingly impossible numbers. But, my boss explained to me that his bonus was tied to me meeting my goals, and he cared about getting every bit of his bonus.

Whoa. Once I learned that, I had to really step it up and follow our marketing plan. And, it worked. We did well, became very well respected and I ultimately got a promotion to the corporate office helping other hospitals around the country establish thriving clinical treatment programs.

My favorite activity as the product manager for mental health was to ask the program director of one of our treatment centers to show me where they stored their intake call sheets. I could usually follow up with clinicians from the sheets, that were stuffed in a drawer, and get $10,000 of new business in a week.

Having my boss raise my goal when I was slacking, and not meeting the one I had, was a big lesson for me about the importance of being consistent on the things that matter. I had to establish a system for these meetings and actually plan them in advance. I know it seems logical, but I had been stuck with my belief that it didn’t matter, that it was too much to do when I had more pressing issues, like taking care of our patients.

That same boss had some other words of wisdom that have served me well. He said, that historically the number of patients in addiction treatment programs goes down in the summer. In order for us not to have this summer dip, we had to step up marketing efforts in the spring.

Dream BigIt is easy to get caught up in dreaming about our goals, or doing the parts of our jobs that we like best. Often, we get so caught up in doing the work when we have it that we forget about doing what we need to in order to create a pipeline of new work.

Shonda Rimes, creator of Scandal and Grays Anatomy, gave a commencement speech at her alma mater, Dartmouth, earlier in the year where she gave the advice that dreaming is great but hard work makes it happen. Zen Pencils turned her speech into a great cartoon.

I totally agree with Shonda’s advice. It is important to identify your goals, and plan actions you have to do to get the results you want and to follow through with consistently doing the work.

I know some people are planners. If you are a planner then skip the next part. But if you are more of a free form person, living in the now, which I have to admit I am, then read on to find out how to get the results you want.

Six steps to get the results you want:

  1. Identify your goal. Make it measureable so you will know when you reach it.
  1. Make a plan that includes the tasks you need to take to reach your goal.
  1. Add these tasks to your calendar. If they are recurring, plan them all in.
  1. Add the activities you have identified to your task list to your planning software. I now use Insightly, but there are many of them.
  1. Track your progress on meeting your important goals, on a regular basis. Add these progress checks to your task list.
  1. Based upon the results, adjust your plan to meet your goal.
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  • Therese Sullivan

    Hi Judy,
    I love to read your posts when I need a pep talk. This one hit home. I’m free-form too, and need to add such discipline to my processes. Never thought about the mix of business and patient care demands faced by a mental health professional. From 1st para, I didn’t think you were going to go to ‘The Boss was Right.” But indeed. The list building was vital work too, and not just for business reasons. You were reaching some that needed the help, but were avoiding. As always, Thx!

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