Practice Management News and Views from around the World – April 2008

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This months important statistic from OnSwitch


The data this month is derived from is derived from the Onswitch customer experience data base of over 2,500 UK practices

Onswitch image - March 2008

6% of practices smell to such an extent that owners find it off-putting …..that is too high!
29% of Onswitch mystery shoppers are advised pet insurance is a good idea ….. what about the others?
23% of Onswitch mystery shoppers would not recommend the vets they have just been into …are you one of them? Do you know why?

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Creating Employee Passion

by Jeff Thoren, DVM, ACC

Five questions designed to measure the affect or positive emotional state of mind of respondents correlate to Employee Passion. The higher the ratings, the more likely that Employee Passion is
being manifested.

Ask yourself or others to rate to what extent each statement is true (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree):

  • I am committed, enthusiastic, and passionate about my job.
  • I am committed, enthusiastic, and passionate about my organization.
  • I put in overtime without being asked or paid to do so.
  • I intend to stay with this organization as long as I can.
  • I would recommend this organization to others as a great place to work.

If you are looking to create an environment that energizes and develops the people you work with, consider these questions as a starting point:

  • To what extent have you successfully energized each member of your team?
  • What specific things could you do to engage individuals more effectively in the work of the team and the organization?
  • Are you connecting with the people on your team? Do you care about them at both a personal and professional level?
  • How are you encouraging the development of the people around you?

You can click here to visit Jeff Thorens website

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UK Small Animal Practice for the period to December 2007

data extracted from MAI consolidated data report

MAI image 1 for April 2008

MAI image 2  for April 2008

You can click here to visit the MAI at Vetsystems website

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Attitudes to franchised veterinary clinics in France

The March 2008 issue of Veterinary Review included an article by Karin de Lange who reported on the attitude of veterinarians in France to the question ‘should we be worried about UK-type franchised clinics in France.

The article reports that In France practice ownership is restricted to veterinarians and practices should employ no more than two assistants per partner. In addition a practice
cannot have more locations than partners and in any event no more than three. A survey amongst 220 veterinarians revealed the following responses to the following question: In certain countries,
it is possible to create franchised clinics and to introduce non veterinary capital (e.g pharmaceutical companies) Your opinion?

The report indicated that there are no veterinary franchise networks so far in France, Italy or Austria but that Spain has one, the Nexo Veterinarios company, which numbers 28 clinics of which
10 are franchised and 18 newly established.

franchise image - April 2008

You can click here to visit the NEXOVET website

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Tips on Business Meetings: Example Groundrules


by Lyndsay Swinton

A top tip on holding business meetings is to use groundrules. You can develop a set of ground rules for a meeting, to ensure that people understand the “terms of engagement” during a meeting.
Here are a few example groundrules to get you started.

  • Only one person at time talking
  • Meetings will start and finish on time
  • Confidential information will “stay in the room”
  • No jargon or in-talk
  • No discussion of ideas until all ideas heard
  • Encourage full participation from all attendees
  • Keep discussion on topic, and focused
  • If you agree to do something, do it.
  • If you can’t attend, send a suitable, informed, delegate instead.

You get the idea — you can use some, none or all of these ideas for ground-rules, just make sure they work for the people in the room.

You can click here to visit Lyndsay Swintons website

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What Makes a Good Boss?


by Sean McPheat
According to Rob Sheehan, director of executive education at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland, “Being a good boss is important in any organization, but it’s particularly important for small business. With smaller businesses, you really have the opportunity to set the tone for the entire company.” There are several characteristics, traits, and attitudes that seem to be prevalent among executives that are viewed as “good bosses” by their employees. These include:

  • Including all levels of employees in decision making
  • Concentrating on the company’s mission, not just its ability to make money
  • Demonstrating the value of learning new skills
  • Encouraging employees to advance their careers
  • Setting an example of a positive attitude and work ethic

Assigning Responsibilities

The organization of your small business will be determined by your determination of who should be doing what and when — in other words, assigning tasks and duties to your employees. At the center of any organization are its people and those people have to know what is expected of them in order to perform satisfactorily. Usually a small business will start with a few (maybe even one) person(s) performing all of the day-to-day functions. However, as the business grows it will be necessary to hire others to perform specific roles within the firm. As a manager, you will be required to recognize when new needs emerge and to hire the appropriate personnel to address those needs.

Business Teams

You should not be the only one responsible for the success of your small business. The ultimate in organization is the formation of a business team that allows you to delegate authority and, as a result, increase productivity. Your business team should consist of those employees who are in charge of the major functions of your organization.

To be effective, a business team must have a leader that is respected by all of the team members. In return, the leader must respect all of the member’s individual abilities. A team spirit should be evident as each member uses his or her strengths to compensate for the weaknesses of others.

Mistakes in the workplace should result in correction not retribution. Each member of a team should realize their own importance to the organization and feel free to explore other areas of activity.

Communication Tips for Employers

A 2001 study analyzing 20,000 exit interviews revealed that the most common reason that people leave a job situation is poor supervision — basically, they had a bad boss. Probably the biggest factor contributing to the perception of poor leadership seemed to be poor communication skills. How can you as an employer improve your communication with your employees? Try out a few of the following suggestions:

  • Listen. Actually pay attention to what your employees are saying. As simple as this sounds, try this exercise; Tape a conversation then after you have finished communicating, try typing as much as you can of what the other person said. When you are finished, play the tape while reading your notes. See how accurate you’re listening and memory is.
  • Designate specific times to meet with your employees one-on-one at least twice a month. Not allowing interruptions during these meetings will convey to them that they have your undivided attention and that you value their input.
  • When changes are going to have to be made in the workplace, let those affected know as soon as possible. Tell them personally and don’t let them find out through the grapevine.
  • Let your employees know what you stand for. When they are aware of your value system, they will be able to make better decisions, or at least decisions that will be more pleasing to you.
  • Let your employees know how they are doing on a regular basis. Don’t let an employee find out that they are not performing up to your standards at their yearly performance review.
  • Improve your public speaking skills. Your credibility with your employees is directly tied to your ability to convey information to them successfully.
  • Don’t use e-mail to do your dirty work. Whenever a situation involves strong emotions, it should be dealt with in person.

You can click here to visit Sean McPhea’s website

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