The End in Mind

By Stacy M. Menz, PT, DPT

“Begin with the end in mind.” This concept was introduced by Stephen R. Covey in his book 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. The book highlights the importance of imagination and the ability to envision a picture of the future.

Covey outlines a principle that things are created twice, first in the mind and then in the physical. How many of you have visualized where you see your business in 5, 10, or even 20 years down the road? It can be daunting given the dynamic nature of health care, but the exercise is important to assist in not only planning and anticipating but also realizing your goals.

I have experienced firsthand the challenges of building a business without a clear picture of where I am driving my practice to be in the future. On the flip side, I have also realized the benefits of establishing goals and having targets to achieve. It comes as no surprise that the second option has been much more preferable. As business owners, every day we make decisions, some are big and some are small. What guides your decision making? If you don’t have the “end in mind” you may make decisions based on short-term vision or outcomes that while easier in the moment, will not bring you closer to your long-term vision. If you are able to keep the “end in mind” as you make your decisions, you can weigh how they support that end result, or how they may steer you away from that result.

I was recently part of a conversation with other practice owners and one woman was talking about her goals for her practice. She wants to eventually sell her practice. This clear picture of her end result allows her to make decisions and plan to achieve this end goal. That path, and the decisions an owner makes along the way, will look very different if you are an owner who does not have a goal to sell their business or bring in additional shareholders. After you determine your goal, start planning how you will get there… we have all talked with many practice owners who have the goal to sell their practice to the physical therapists that practice with them but have never put a plan in place to achieve this… so just because you decide on the goal, also spend some time planning how you will get there.

Now, this is the part that always catches me. What if I change my mind about my end result? That’s okay. That’s why regular strategic planning is so important. This is your time to reevaluate where your business is currently, where it is going, and if your end goals have changed. If the goals have changed, shift the strategy to achieve it. For anyone who has been on a road trip, you know that detours can emerge and sometimes those detours lead you to new and exciting places.

I challenge each of you to sit down and visualize your ideal end result. If you have already done this, make sure that end result still resonates with you and your practice. Then take a look at your current strategy and path to achieve that end result.


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