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

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2008 Veterinary Business Conference

The Australian Veterinary Business Association (AVBA) Conference will be held from 11th – 14th September at the Shoal Bay Resort & Spa, Port Stephens, NSW

The focus of the conference is Practice Management – Exceeding Expectations. It features an exciting lineup of international and local speakers including:

  • Karyn Gavzer (USA)
  • John Tait (Canada) and
  • Terry Hawkins (Australia)

These dynamic speakers and their presentations will focus, motivate and direct your efforts to develop an outstandingly successful veterinary business.

Mark the 11th -14th September, 2008 in your diary now, as this conference is one not to miss. Take yourself and as many team members as possible because the knowledge and motivation gained from attending this conference will be invaluable. Come along and see what the AVBA is all about, meet the staff and directors of the AVBA and have fun with likeminded people from the veterinary industry.

The beautiful Shoal Bay Resort & Spa boasts 4 restaurants and bars, 3 swimming pools, Occies Kids Camp and the stunning Aqua Spa and will provide a fantastic backdrop for these exciting sessions.

The resort is the perfect host for the Beachside Gourmet Feast on Friday night and the Wine Makers Dinner on Saturday night, featuring wines from the nearby Hunter Valley region. Bring the whole family as Port Stephens offers a huge range of activities to make Shoal Bay the perfect family getaway.

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What’s happening in small animal practice in the UK

Selected data from the Fort Dodge Index (FDI) Report June 2008


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True or false? Take this compensation quiz

by Bob Levoy – originally published in the DVM360 online magazine

1. To maintain staff morale, make salary increases across the board.

FALSE. One common misuse of compensation is known as the peanut butter approach–spreading increases evenly among employees rather than differentiating among and rewarding top performers. High-performing employees feel slighted while others receive an unintended message that salary is dependent on merely showing up. A better approach: Provide an incentive based on differentiated performance, not politics, self-promotion, or perceived across-the-board fairness.

2. You should combine salary and performance reviews.

FALSE. Combining salary reviews and performance reviews compels an owner or manager to justify a salary increase–or lack there of–in terms of the performance evaluation, which can be difficult when other factors enter the decision-making process. To prevent this problem, conduct the reviews independently. The advantage: During the performance review, you’ll discuss performance only. When you conduct the salary review, you can more openly discuss other factors–skills, scope of responsibility, overall evaluation of the employee, and profitability of the practice–that determine increases.

3. There’s a limit to what a top-performing employee at your practice can and should be paid.

FALSE. “Many doctors are overly concerned that one or more of their top employees has reached or surpassed some arbitrary ceiling for their position,” says Dr. Charles Blair, DDS, a management consultant based in Charlotte, N.C. “We’re more concerned with the effectiveness of individual employees in helping the practice grow profitably, so we focus on the ratio of staff payroll costs to practice gross income. As a result, we often find that paying top dollar for truly stellar employees can result in a more profitable practice.”

Bob Levoy is a seminar speaker based in Roslyn, N.Y., who focuses on profitability and practice growth. His newest book is 222 Secrets of Hiring, Managing and Retaining Great Employees in Healthcare Practice (Jones and Bart Publishers, 2006

You can click here to read Bob Levoys article in the DVM360 Newsmagazine

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Veterinary Practice Management Association (VPMA) Congress 2009

The VPMA has announced details of the 2009 Congress which will be held at the The Nottingham Belfry from 22nd – 24th January 2009

Features include:

  • New Congress format to include 3 forums – the main lectures, the workshops and brand new surgery/ask
    the expert sessions
  • On-line registration for VPMA Congress 2009 opening soon
  • Opening keynote address on the Economy by Chief Economist of HSBC
  • Motivational address by Dr Richard Dixon, entrepreneur and Director of Vets Now
  • Great networking occasion at our Congress Cocktail Party with mingling magician!
  • Glitz and Glamour Dinner Dance with Jaybees live band, disco and Les Barker, hilarious poet and
    author, as after dinner speaker
  • Professional surgeries on specialist subjects
  • Fantastic opportunity to enhance your professional knowledge, skills and expertise
  • Whole Congress in one bright and fresh venue
  • Annual General Meeting 22nd January

You can click here for further details on the VPMA website

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Mastering Management: Tackle leadership with a team effort

by Eddie Garcia DVM

The following tip is brought to you by a member of the Veterinary Leadership Group (VLG), a group of 20 management-savvy practitioners and hospital managers from across the country who meet twice a year
to discuss business improvement, personal growth and social development issues for their practices.

Do you have a leadership team in your practice? If not, maybe you should designate one and then meet regularly to discuss practice issues.

At the Veterinary Medical Clinic in Tampa, the practice leadership team consists of:

  • Clinic director/doctor
  • Practice manager
  • Administrative assistant to practice manager
  • Patient care coordinator
  • Receptionist coordinator
  • Technician coordinator
  • Treatment area coordinator

Within this group, each area of the practice is represented. The team meets outside the clinic once a month for one to two hours with an agenda. Additionally, a two-day retreat is held once a year at a resort. The practice manager facilitates these meetings and gets vendors to cover the cost.

The purpose of the leadership team is to share ideas, discuss issues being observed, communicate concerns, ask for feedback and disseminate information about possible new protocols, procedures and changes.

The goal is to help get vital information back to the entire staff and to get feedback. If the team buys in, then it is easier for the rest of the staff to understand why management makes certain decisions.

Having a defined leadership team and meeting with it regularly increases your ability to get feedback and communicate better with your staff. It helps everyone understand and appreciate the issues that management faces.

You can click here see this article by Eddie Garcia in DVM360 news magazine online

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Motivation = Empowerment

By Chris Musselwhite

Excerpts published by Jeff Thoren, DVM, ACC in his website

Highlights from the original article:

Motivation in the workplace isn’t about what you do for your employees. Here’s how to begin to make changes that will create a more stable and motivating work environment:

  • Understand the difference between motivation and reward. Real motivation comes from the work itself, not the rewards given for doing the work. Providing more money, less time at work and better fring benefits in the name of motivation only motivates people to expect them and ask for more. When you want to motivate, ask yourself: How will this contribute to the person’s sense of achievement or recognition? Will it enable him or her to grow and be prepared to take on more responsibility? Does it make the work more meaningful to the person?

  • Recognize that people are natural problem-solvers. When people have an opportunity to provide input about the work process, they are more likely to own the problems that occur and take on the daily task of finding solutions much more enthusiastically. People need to understand the desired outcomes and the parameters within which they must work to achieve them. Then, they must be given latitude to determine how they are going to accomplish these outcomes.

  • Build Trust: Take time to get to know your people. When an employee feels that his or her manager is as concerned about their well-being on the job as they are about the job itself, they are more likely to feel the sense of trust that is critical among high performing teams and organizations. Taking time to get to know your people also provides invaluable insight into what motivates them.

  • Make the transition from problem-solver to coach. As a manager, your job is to mentor, coach and develop people so they are adequately prepared and supported to do the work on their own. Instead of always providing answers, ask questions. Asking questions is a great way to help people learn to problem solve.

  • Focus on what’s working. It’s natural to focus on what’s not working. Managers who intervene only when there’s a problem are often viewed negatively by their people who begin to fear every conversation with them. Brain chemistry research shows that this fear of criticism actually triggers the fight or flight response, bathing the brain in fear hormones that increase defensive behavior and
    inhibit learning. To avoid this all-too-common scenario, you must instead intentionally make time to focus on what is working.

  • Recognize people through responsibility and advancement. When people are publicly recognized for a job well done, they experience that sense of achievement all over again, which makes them eager to get back to work and tackle the next challenge even more skillfully. Using increased responsibility and advancement as recognition is good for the employee, the manager and the whole organization.

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