I’ve always believed the key to success in life (and in business) is to try to be a little bit better today than I was yesterday. Success is a constantly evolving target as we continue to grow and change and our hopes and goals continue to grow and change.
But the trick to it is to make these small daily improvements thoughtfully. Without a clear, purposeful trajectory, we don’t know what we are building toward. We don’t usually realize it, but personal development and business transformation often go hand in hand.
To create stronger, more profitable businesses, we must become better leaders that lead stronger teams. To do this, our personal growth should be built on three bedrocks of transformation:
• Transformation leadership
• Transformational teams
• Building a transformational plan for the future
By following these three principles to growth, we can live in a way that allows us to sustain excellence over a long period of time.
Let’s talk about being transformational.
Transformation is where you make a difference and leave things better than how you found them. It’s a simple concept, but can be hard to put into practice. Let’s talk a retail experience as an example.
A customer walks into a shoe store. She notices there are three sales assistants chatting together while one is on their phone. The customer browses around and leaves without any response or acknowledgement from the sales team. The customer decides to leave and go next door.
At the next store, she is warmly greeted by an employee who says, “Welcome to our store. We’re so delighted to have you here. What can I help you with?” The customer walks out with two pairs of shoes and a strong loyalty to this brand.
Transformation is the only true way to make positive change for your employees, your patients, and your business. As we take a look at our three concepts, we will come back to this idea of transformation again and again.
Become a transformational leader.
When I am thinking about how I can be a better business leader and inspiration for my teams, I often go back to the difference between a leader and a manager. A leader is someone that is transformational – they push back against the status quo, even when it’s uncomfortable. They fight for ideas they believe in that will make huge differences in the long term. They are constantly questioning, “Is there a better way to do this?”
Managers, on the other hand, are more transactional. They are creating a list and checking off items as they go. They have a necessary function within each business, as we need managers to ensure necessary business functions continue. However, they are not agents for change.
What is the key difference here?
Create a transformational team with the right vision.
On some level, everyone is a leader. We are the captains of our own ships. We lead our own lives and make choices that align with our personal vision of who we are and where we want to be. But on a team level, whether that’s within a family unit or a business unit, we can apply the same principle.
As a dentist that owns a practice, your business vision should carry passion, a cause, and a rallying cry for your team. The objective, “To be a good dentist” isn’t enough. It’s not just about the service you provide, but the value you provide. How are you changing people’s lives? Are you setting up children for good oral health throughout their lives? Are you offering people an opportunity to smile without reservations?
The moment you can help define this vision for your team, you will find they begin to enthusiastically support the vision. All of a sudden, you might see one of your dental techs saying, “Man, I get it. I’m pumped to be able to help people become happy and confident in their smiles.”
The key to creating a transformational team starts with defining your transformational vision. This should be a conscious choice you make. Once you have a vision, you can begin to improve yourself and your team in a thoughtful way that begins to serve this vision.
Build a plan for the future.
The vision is the direction. A plan is the roadmap. What are we going to do this year? This quarter?
You can use cascading goals to create a strong plan for your practice. Look at your business and say, “Okay, 2019 is coming up. What areas can I improve in my business next year? What does it look like?” We can use our imagination to drive change and create a difference.
One of my favourite questions to ask myself is, “In 2019, what can I do to be really extraordinary?”
Once I have the answers I can begin to breakdown down these goals into smaller, achievable goals.
Every time you sit down to create goals for yourself or your business, your mind begins to think about excellence. No one innately wants to see mediocre goals for ourselves. It is quite easy to imagine a rosy future. This is great news! When we can picture it, we can achieve it, but it’s about the rubber meeting the road. It is important to consistently do what matters to achieve these goals on a daily basis.
This circles us back to the idea of constant, small improvements each day. If we can consistently trying to beat yesterday’s self, those small improvements add up to big change over the course of a year.
Transformational change within any organisation is possible if you’re willing to do the work. As 2018 draws to a close, how do you picture yourself or your business creating excellence next year?
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