The key part of the successful long-term management of a relationship-based, health-centered practice is strategic development:
In what direction should we attempt to grow? What technologies and trends should we commit to following? Which ones should we abandon? And what emerging market trends are worth pursuing?
So, strategic planning must begin with awareness – awareness of where we are, where we want to go, what is important to us, and what is happening around us.
From there, an unrestricted envisioning of an optimal future is created while taking into consideration your values, mission, and intuition. This is a fully right brain activity.
It is expansive.
It is highly qualitative.
But what comes next, is rarely discussed. It’s a step that the Stoic philosophers like Marcus Aurelius and Seneca called “premeditatio malorum”, which translates into “premeditation of evils”.
This next step envisions the negative things which can happen and barriers present while attempting to execute our strategic plan. And it might include, compromises to our health, weather damage to our facility, loss of a strategic ally, inadequate funding, or the retirement of a key team member
The Stoics believed that by first imagining the worst case scenario ahead of time, they could more easily overcome their fears of potential negative experiences, and consequently make better strategic plans, as well as calm their limbic brains and better keep themselves in creative thinking mode when obstacles occurred on their pathway toward the Vision.
This way of thinking, where we consider the opposite of what we actually want to happen is also called “inversion”. And it is both important and powerful, because if we focus on the opposite of what we are trying to achieve, the solutions to our real goals often come more easily to us.
Inversion is a mental trick used by many great thinkers. Great thinkers and innovators think forwards and backwards, because the process tends to yield unconventional solutions to complex problems.
Consequently, strategic planning isn’t just daydreaming about an optimal future -it is that PLUS a hard dose of reality. And when envisioning and reality are combined in the right order (right brain thinking first then followed by left brain thinking) more adaptive and adaptable plans are created.
Just remember, strategic planning is a process not an event, where a plan is a set and fixed thing. Planning is ongoing and ongoing plans require analysis and adjustments all along the way.
To this thought Eisenhower wisely said , “Plans are worthless, but planning is essential.”
Paul A Henny DDS
Thought Experiments LLC, @2018
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