Strategic Assessment Planning for Success
Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT
This time of year provides us with so many opportunities to rejoice during the holiday season and reflect on the wonderful year we are concluding. It also highlights the critically important need to plan and strategize for what we wish to accomplish in the coming year. It allows laboratories the ability to look back and see where we've grown as businesses and professionals over the past year. Did we achieve all we set out to do by this time? Are those efforts getting us closer to where we want to be and are they impactful and meaningful? What can we change in 2020 to get closer to our goals? What do we need to purchase or acquire and whom do we need to hire or partner with to provide added value to our clientele and dental laboratory? Lastly, what kind of plan can we develop to strategically accomplish those goals expeditiously? These are all questions that every individual dental laboratory and professional should ask themselves, but particularly when we transition from one calendar milestone to another.
"Assessment" and "assessment cycle" are terms often used in strategic planning; dental laboratories can certainly benefit from implementing such an active and organic strategic planning component. Per Merriam-Webster, an assessment is defined as the action or an instance of making a judgment about something. It consists of a complete and repeatable assessment cycle, whereby at the onset of the assessment process a goal is devised and a detailed strategic plan is developed in order to meet that goal. The strategic plan should provide a concise road map of what actionable and measureable efforts should be taken to accomplish the desired goals expeditiously—which should be assessed on a regular basis, be it monthly, quarterly, or annually—to ensure proper focus as well as ensuring justified efforts. At these measured assessment intervals, the goals should be reevaluated, data sets considered, and decisions made about whether or not to alter the plan. Oftentimes, these changes are due to a goal not producing the desired results or perhaps the goal has shifted along the way. Either way, setting up an assessment cycle can provide the laboratory owner and managers with a clear understanding of what their business is working toward and how effective those efforts have been.
Such assessments allow dental laboratories to be nimble and pivot at a moment's notice. Although most businesses develop or adjust their strategic plan annually, management nonetheless should assess its progress regularly to ensure that plans are forging ahead on the correct path or if any slight changes are necessary to attain better or faster results. Without assessing the laboratory's strategic plan, it becomes very difficult to control and dominate your business space. It is well worth the effort to be proactive.
Wishing all a prosperous year ahead. It is my honor and pleasure to elevate and inspire with knowledge.