Call it what you want, but all successful practices know what success looks like. In other words, it has been defined, explained and is clear to every member of the team.
It is not uncommon for us to have an idea about the practice we would like. I believe that everyone thinks about what could be before they start or purchase a practice. I also think we do it when we accept a new position within an organization. But for some reason, it usually doesn't make it beyond the idea stage.
I wrote the first "Vision" for my practice before I started it. It was called a Business Plan and it was a requirement from the bank. To me, I thought this was a waste of time because it was common sense. Why was it necessary to spend all this time putting it on paper, organizing my thoughts? That document is still re-visited from time to time.
Seeing into the future is possible, but it takes practice. When you visualize what you want, you can start taking the necessary steps to make it real. It involves using a part of the brain we aren't used to using. Many of us start "what if-ing" when we try to create a vision. We start looking for all the reasons it might not happen. "What if I don't get enough patients?" "What if a competitor moves in next door?" "What if?" is a defensive question that stops us.
But what if it became a hopeful question? What if we opened our minds to what could be? "What if" is now hopeful and empowering. It is an action phrase. "What if I had a well established reputation in my community as the doctor that truly listens?" "What if I became the first in the area to offer sports vision services?" "What if every patient sends me one new patient?"
How to start
You can start developing your Vision simply by completing the Defining the Dream form on LeadershipOD.com. It is designed to draw out of you, just what you want the practice to look like when you are "finished." Whatever finished means to you. This is always the first exercise I go through with any client I have. Why start going, if we don't know where we are going?