How to set MEANINGFUL Quarterly Objectives AND Follow Through

By Dr. Russ Rosen | Patient issues

I just had a great a great conversation with a client of mine who said,

“Russ, I see the value of quarterly objectives, really I do! I don’t want a rudderless ship! I have tried setting objectives in the past but felt pretty clueless and the truth is after we set them up we never looked at them again. I am really confused as to how to go about setting up reasonable objectives and then following through with them, can you help me?”

Below is the long and short of our discussion that I hope you will find valuable.

Get the Team to Grow the Practice

When setting quarterly objectives first you must make sure your team is on board. If you are in our program please take your entire team through “Get the Team to Grow the Practice”.

The first part of that module is all about getting the team on the same page philosophically and making sure they are all EXCITED to grow the practice.

Remember: seeing more people means more work so we MUST make sure they really get the big picture about what our Mission, Vision and Purpose is and they WANT to grow.

Since seeing more people means MORE WORK, you really want to have a great bonus system in place.

Now… how to set up meaningful, realistic and doable objectives:

Step 1: Get clear about what you want the BUSINESS to accomplish over the next 90 days.

There are two categories:

  • I.e. get new software, change the carpet, record the visit two presentation etc.
  • Make a list of all of the projects you want to get done over the next 90 days.
  • Prioritize that list by what is most important to get done first.
  • Put down how much time the project will take, who will be responsible to get it done and when it will be done by.


  • Number of new patients
  • Number of patient visits
  • PVA or retention
  • Missed appointments %
  • Etc.

In general, we recommend coming up with up to five quarterly objectives for the business. If this is your first time setting quarterly objectives, error on the side of too little versus too much. I want your team to feel successful with this system. The last thing we want to happen is that they feel dejected that they couldn’t get everything done. You have plenty of time to add more if you like and course correct in your next set of objectives.

It is said that most people OVERESTIMATE what they can do in a day or a week but UNDERESTIMATE what they can do in a month or a year. Imagine how much you could get done if each person on your team got done one thing every week for 52 weeks. It is astounding! In fact I dare you to have each person make a list of 52 different things they could do!

Step 2: We now need to ask ourselves the question, “What will EACH person do on our team to make this business objective happen?”

This is how we come up with personal quarterly objectives.

Here is an example:

One quarterly objective for the business is to bring in an extra two new patients per week. So the question is: what will each person commit to in order to make this happen?


  • Ask for referrals.
    • Review “No stress secrets to easy and instant referrals”.
    • Commit to asking for 2 referrals per shift.
    • Set a safety net (I realize I may not remember so my tech CA has a window pop up to remind her to remind me before and after each shift).
  • Commit to the Fast Track to Health Talk each week.
  • Do an internal event with special offer for family and friends.
  • Monthly theme.
  • Go out and do one screening per month or two outside talks etc.
  • Etc.

Front Desk CA

  • Ask for referrals
    • Review “No stress secrets to easy and instant referrals”
    • Commit to asking for 2 referrals per shift.
    • Set a safety net (I realize I may not remember so my tech CA has a window pop up to remind her to remind me before and after each shift).
  • Get great at setting up talks and commit to X number of active patients, X number of friends and family of patients to each talk.
    • Read and implement, “How to get people to your health talks” article.
  • Review how to give out the internal event flyer and inspire people to refer.
  • Review how to talk up the monthly up theme and commit to X people per day.
  • Learn how to open up conversations with people outside of the office and bring in referrals.
    • Review “No stress secrets to easy and instant referral”.
  • Etc.

You would then do this for each team member.
AND you would do it for each of the objectives.

How do we recommend each person figure out what they need to do to determine what their objectives should be? Get clear about the BUSINESS objective (i.e. increase new patients) and then:

  1. Ask each person what they think they:
    1. Need help with?
    2. Need to improve upon?
    3. Could possibly add to what they do? (I.e. learn to open conversations outside of the office.)
  2. Look at their Bonus Appraisal form which is really just a task list. Look at every BEHAVIOR and TASK that you have listed for them, have them grade themselves, you grade them and in essence use it as a springboard to help figure out BANG for the BUCK where they should focus and the things that need to become quarterly objectives.
  3. Ask each team member what THEY think the other team members should work on, improve or add. (Wait to do this in group until you know everyone trusts each other etc. We don’t want fights!)

Yes, in our module on this we have the entire goals program, how to set up SMART goals, how to DIVE deeper into goals etc. But this article is only meant as an overview.

Step 3: It is critical that we have regular weekly meetings to review our objectives.

THIS IS WHERE MOST DOCTORS BLOW IT! They set the objectives and don’t look at them again for 90 days if they ever look at them again at all!

In our meetings, the second step is to do a “Brag Session” where each person brags about the one thing they promised they would do last week and how well they got it done and then they get clear about what they promise they will get done next week.

Obviously if they were not able to get it done as a team you would need to figure out why and make sure it got done the following week. Two weeks in a row of not getting something done would require using the “Action plan for improvement form” as we will not go week after week not getting things done.

Again, imagine what would happen if every single week each person on your team not only knew the highest priority items to get done but they actually did them.

Classically, people never get ahead of the game and because they don’t they are always putting out yesterday’s fires.

The 10,000 foot view of growing any type of practice is simply this. Reorganize and make space then fill it. Reorganize and make space then fill it. Repeat!

So here are some ideas in setting your quarterly objectives.

  1. Make a list of all of the things you need to do to get caught up. Prioritize that list by what is most important to get done first. Put down how much time the project will take, who will be responsible to get it done and when it will be done by. Make sure that you also have a “Parking Lot”. This is a To Do List that you MAY get to at some time. Get it all on paper (or word document) out of your mind so you can focus on THIS prioritized to do list from your quarterly objectives.
  2. Implement your Quarterly Objective System.
    • Get clear if you are in a “Reorganizational Phase”.
    • Ask each team member if they are bored, in the zone or stressed. You cannot SUSTAIN growth if ANYONE on your team is chronically stressed!
    • If no one is stressed look at the 90 day objectives. Ask each team member when you get to the next level will anyone be stressed? If so you MUST reorganize and make space, become more efficient etc. so they will not be stressed when you get there. If they are stressed you are sure to crash and stay on the roller coaster of growing, crashing, growing and crashing!
  3. Stay ahead of the game by having REGULAR meetings!

Too many doctors never gain ground because they are always chasing their tails! Don’t be one of them. Implement the above procedures and you will create the practice and life of your dreams!

If you got some good energy from reading through this, you really should go grab a free program that I put together for some of my coaching clients. It’s literally called “Creating Time” and it helps a lot with setting goals!

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