AHHA SELF-HELP ARTICLES COLLECTION
   


Beth Rosenthal, Ph.D., M.B.A., M.P.H. is Founder and Executive Director of Healing Centers United (HealingCentersUnited.org), a nonprofit organization supporting organizational providers and individual seekers of integrative health care, and Assistant Director of the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Healthcare (ACCAHC). She is also the author of two books – Where to Go When You’re Hurting: A Healing Resource Guide and the High Vibe Guide. Dr. Rosenthal holds MBA and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, and a Masters degree in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. She can be reached at drbeth@lovinglivinglife.com.


The American Holistic Health Association has compiled a collection of self-help articles to support your efforts to enhance your own health and well-being.

This article is part of the
article category
TIPS FOR DEVELOPING INTEGRATED HEALING CENTERS
and the sub-category
CLINIC BUSINESS TIPS

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"How can we turn our ideas of managing a successful holistic health center into actuality?"

Why is it that even the most beautifully laid plans don't always work as they're supposed to? Whether we're talking about plans you make for yourself, or plans made in business environments, making plans real and successfully accomplishing intended goals involves good planning and an understanding of the human dimension. While both are necessary to optimal implementation, the latter is often neglected.

So, how can you make your plans real, accomplishing your highest desires and working effectively to accomplish organizational goals? In this article I outline steps for establishing and accomplishing goals on an individual or business level. Creating and managing a holistic health center is an ideal application of this process because the individuals involved tend to be open to addressing the human elements of implementation.

As a personal coach and business consultant in the health management field, I take individuals and groups from where they are to where they decide they want to go. The process for moving effectively from present state to desired state is in broad terms the same for both individuals and organizations, although the specifics vary in each situation. This article gives you the framework for accomplishing your highest desires. Not dreaming about possibilities, continuously planning for them, or being distracted away from reaching them - with this process you actually will have what you are committed to having.

The Process

1) UNDERSTANDING THE ISSUE OR PROBLEM
Begin by examining your issue or problem. Define your starting point: Where are we now? This is a time to take inventory of what is working and what is not. It's important to spend this time up front so you are committed to the direction you are heading, rather than jumping right in assuming the issues are understood and then being surprised later. If this is being done in a group, it is important that members are comfortable communicating openly and constructively. This will lead to more creative and innovative ideas, and creates buy-in along the way for future implementation.

2) IDENTIFYING THE DESIRED STATE
Sometimes people are clear about where they are heading, sometimes they have a vague sense of where they want to be, and sometimes all they know is they don't want to be where they are now. The desired state is the goal, or condition of satisfaction, defined in objective, specific, measurable terms, with a by when date. This step takes a vague notion of the desired state to a concrete and measurable tangible - you will know when it has been accomplished, and you will be clear if it has not been reached. Frame it in terms of what you do want, not what you don't want.

3) MAKE AN ACTION PLAN - BEGIN WITH MILESTONES
After you have your end condition defined, you are ready to start making up your plan of action. Notice I said making up. You probably won't have all the information you would like to have in forming a plan. When you don't know something, make an educated guess. Nothing is set in stone. Your action plan is meant as a beginning point, to guide you in setting your course. Be as realistic as you can, and also be ambitious, stretching yourself beyond what you know for certain can be done. It can always be revised later, if necessary.

The first part of making your action plan is setting up your milestones, working backwards from your desired state. That is, let's say you have a specific result to be accomplished by 12/15 (your desired state from step 2). What needs to have happened 12/7 for that to be a sure thing? What needs to have happened 12/1? These are your milestones. Don't worry at this point about how it will be done. As you are establishing your milestones, begin making a list of resources (people, places, ideas) that could help you in reaching your milestones.

4) CONTINUE MAKING YOUR ACTION PLAN - WITH ACTION!
Now look at your closest milestone. Make sure it has a future date. If it came out having a date in the past, then you need to readjust: scale down your project, or put the end condition further out to give yourself more time.

Now think about the actions that are critical to reaching your first milestone. Have contingency plans in mind so if one path to your desired goal (or milestone) doesn't work you wonÕt be stuck. Write down all the actions that need to be taken to ensure your first milestone. Write down all the actions you can think of now for reaching later milestones. Continue keeping notes of all the resources you have available.

5) TIMELINE
Take your list of actions for reaching your first milestone and schedule them in your calendar, with the time of day if you can get that detailed. Don't skip this step, even if it seems unnecessary! Have one of your actions be thinking of your next steps for reaching that next milestone, and at that point putting those actions in your calendar.

Congratulate yourself on developing an action plan and a time line!

6) IMPLEMENTATION - DOING THE WORK
This is where many people and projects falter. We all need at least a little support and encouragement along the way to keep us on track. Find someone you trust who is honest, rigorous, and compassionate to hold you to account for what you say you will do. This is one of my most important roles as a coach. I am an objective third party who forms a partnership with clients so they stay in action. When blocks come up, we face them together and resolve them. The coach is the cheerleading section, encouraging and applauding successes, as well as the tough guy, being straight with you when you need it.

7) MONITOR YOUR RESULTS
Is your action plan working? Are you closer to reaching your end condition? You may need to reevaluate your plan, your timeline, or your commitments as you progress. Have you encountered obstacles? How are you managing them? Do you have people to work through problems with you? Are you maintaining contact with them?

Again, a coach or business consultant can be a great boon to dissolving blocks. Having emotional support, encouragement, and straight talk from an uninvolved outsider allows you to work through whatever comes up to stop you. Varying degrees of hand holding from a coach, consultant, or other committed party can be essential to keep you going. Remember though, you are always the driver, the one who is ultimately responsible and accountable for accomplishing the results you desire.

Finding the Business Coach or Consultant Right for You

  • Do their experiences reflect success in manifesting goals?
    Ask potential coaches/consultants about how they have been successful in their own lives, and with their clients, in effecting positive changes.
  • Technical Expertise Isn't Necessary; The Ability to Understand Processes Is
    Coaches and consultants don't have to be technically versed in the matter at hand as long as they can guide the process and work within a team of "experts" who do understand the subject matter. In fact, often times an outsider brings a fresh perspective and is able to see issues in a new way, helping others to see "out of the box."
  • Networking and Teambuilding Are Essential
    You can't accomplish your goals all by yourself. Getting help in exploring resources, connecting with people, and building your team will serve you in reaching your goals faster and with less effort.
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
    The success of almost every change effort depends on the willingness and abilities of the people involved. And this is the point where even the best laid plans are most vulnerable to falling apart. Everything can look great on paper, and then it comes to implementation, and unanticipated communication problems, or strong defensive emotions, or any range of other human dynamics come into play, and the plans are not executed as intended. Clearly, understanding the human element and dealing with interpersonal issues will provide an edge that could very well make the difference between projects that succeed and those that flop. Good people skills make the entire experience more enjoyable, all the way 'round!
Find a coach or consultant who demonstrates a profound respect for the individual and is experienced in personal growth processes. They are more likely to be able to harness the creative energies of the group to produce extraordinary results.

Summary

To accomplish your highest desires, begin with setting clear intentions, move on to making thorough plans, and then put a team in place to hold you to account and help you through the rough times. A coach (or business consultant) can be a key player on your team.

The process presented here provides you with the basic framework to get started. There are many things you can do in addition to this process (for example, I use visualization techniques), and/or you may choose to use only parts of the process. In any case, I encourage you to trust your own wisdom, nurture your strengths, and enjoy your travels!