"Having intention" is a phrase that I really love for many reasons. It’s a practical and philosophical term that gives us a sense of purpose and guidance in the lives that we lead. But it’s more than just a phrase - living (and working) with intention every day can be transformational in our work, life and relationships.

I’ve seen several different definitions for intention, all geared toward specific business or personal uses. One describes having intention as, “the mental states that we all have that are directed at things or ideas.” My preferred definition for intention is “to act a certain way,” confident in your vision/goal that’s clear and measurable.

Through my coaching work, I’ve incorporated the essence of goal intention by using the G.R.O.W. Model.

G.R.O.W.  is an acronym for:

  • Goal (where you are headed)
  • Reality (what is standing in your way; perceived or real)
  • Options (what steps you will take to get toward your goal).
  • Way Forward (by when will you commit to take the steps).

You can apply the meaning of intention using this G.R.O.W. model. For instance, if you have a big goal to grow your practice by 20 percent in 2019, you can break down the steps necessary to reach that goal.

First, you’ll decide where you are headed. That’s the Goal. Once the goal is established, we then look at what is standing in your way to achieve this goal. That’s your current Reality. Your next phase of the model will look at steps involved to get to where you want to be. Those are the Options. In our fourth step, you need to establish the Way Forward a.k.a timing. Within this model, you’ll commit to making the journey to your goal and be prepared to overcome obstacles that may come into play.

Let’s drill down a little further into each step:

G – Goal

What is it that you’d like to accomplish? Can you validate that goal? Is it a SMART goal (one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound)?

R – Reality 

What’s your current reality? What’s your perceived reality vs. what’s truly standing in your way? This Reality step is where most of us get blocked. We may have perceptions about our limits to meet a goal. Or as some of you might say, this is where the rubber meets the road. It’s the moment to take a deep breath and be bold with your next steps. What help might you need to reach this goal? You’ll need to get honest with yourself and your team on this.

An example to consider is one where you would like to grow your production by 20 percent. If this is your goal, then we need to discuss the elements of practice capacity. Examples of capacity are the number of doctors, team, chairs, etc. Does your practice template support your growth in its design? These and others are factors of your current reality that will need to be understood before you get to the options phase.

O – Options

What are your options/steps/tasks needed to reach this goal? How will you overcome your realities listed in the above step?

W – Way Forward

The way forward is a culmination of all the above. Frankly, it’s your plan with time commitments added. Decide on a plan of small steps to take you forward, little by little, and measure your progress against the bigger picture goal. 

You can use this G.R.O.W. model to tackle any type of issue or challenge in your own practice. With a little application, you’ll find that you’ll start to ask the right questions of yourself and your team to get to where you want to be.

Martin R. Mendelson, DDS, CPS, ELI-MP, Executive VP, Client Services, Spear Faculty


Commenter's Profile Image Marlin F.
April 27th, 2021
Being a yogi, this article hit home.