Practice Management News and Views from around the World – January 2016

In the Mood – Glen Miller -updated

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Hire Right: IQ and EQ

From an article by Shawn McVey published in his McVey Management Solutions blog

When you hire a new team member, the right fit is non-negotiable.

Is it a Game of Chance?

We’re all familiar with that candidate who was ideal on paper, aced the interview, and did fine the first three weeks–only to crash and burn. One of the reasons? A lack of emotional intelligence, which can wreak havoc on your practice.

Why do you hire the wrong people? Even the best interview process fails when you or the interview team over-rely on your intuition and “gut feelings.” You may also be tempted to select solely based on general intelligence or technical competencies. But you must take emotional intelligence into consideration, too.

Research shows that no more than 25% of one’s overall success at work is attributable to general intelligence–also known as the intelligence quotient, or IQ. A good portion of that remaining 75% is related to emotional intelligence–also known as the emotional quotient, or EQ. So when you select for technical competence AND emotional intelligence, the odds are in your favor that you will hire a winner.

The Difference between IQ and EQ

IQ predicts analytic reasoning, verbal skills, and spatial ability. Though it gives you some idea of general intelligence, it certainly doesn’t tell you how well a person will do under pressure, nor is it the best predictor of work success.

EQ measures a person’s capacity for recognizing his or her own feelings and the feelings of others, and for managing his or her reactions in response to those feelings. People with high EQ choose their responses carefully, even when they are highly emotionally aroused. They preserve their own dignity and their relationships with others

The Emotional Intelligence Interview

When hiring for emotional intelligence, ask behavior-based questions that prompt the interviewee to talk about real experiences in the past. Don’t ask future-based “what if” questions that have an obvious right answer.

Ask Behavior-Based Questions

Learn about past behavior, because it helps to predict future behavior.

For example, to learn about the person’s self-awareness, you could ask, “Describe a time when you were in a good mood at work. How did that affect your performance?” Then tack on a question that tests other-awareness: “What impact did it have on your boss and colleagues?”

To query all of the EQ skills (self-awareness, other-awareness, self-management, and relationship management), ask something like, “Tell me when you were most frustrated in your efforts to deal with a conflict with a coworker. How did you handle it? What was the other person’s response? What was the outcome?”

Conduct Behavior-Based Exercises

Role-play, presentations, and mock meetings are exercises you can use to see what the candidate will do in a scenario he or she will commonly face at work. Be sure to determine the “best” answer BEFORE the process begins.

For example, you could have each candidate for office manager conduct a mock team meeting where the person presents a policy change. Have two of the team members talk amongst themselves, one disengage completely, and one try to take over the meeting.

Red flags to look for during these tests of people skills are:

  • Criticizing or blaming others
  • Poor impulse control
  • Signs of disrespect and judgment
  • Inability to neutralize toxic people or set boundaries
  • A puny emotional vocabulary (e.g., can’t distinguish “bad” from “anxious” or “angry”)
  • Impatience with feelings

Remember: You want team members who are book smart and have heart. Emotionally intelligent teams work together well to accomplish organizational goals. And an emotionally healthy and happy team equates to a more pleasant work environment for everyone!

You can click here to visit Shawn McVey’s website

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The EMyth Veterinarian

By Michael Gerber and Peter Weinstein

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I’ve probably been a fan of Michael Gerber’s ground – breaking book – ‘The eMyth Revisited’ for getting on for 20 years and I’ve been recommending it to veterinary audiences whenever the topic was appropriate.

The sub title is ‘why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it’ – and the theme is that skilled artisans and professionals like vets – believe that because they excel in their profession, they are equally qualified to own and manage a business which delivers that service.

So I was delighted to hear from Peter Weinstein, a friend of mine and widely experienced vet and business consultant in California that he has co -authored a new book with Michael Gerber –

it’s called the Emyth Veterinarian.

David McCormick says ‘This book is not only a thump between the eyes on why to change, it is also a guide on how to make the change. Dr Weinstein’s insight and experience drive home the EMyth concepts and their application to your veterinary practice. This should be mandatory reading for all current and future practice owners

You can purchase a copy of the EMyth Veterinarian from or

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How To Figure Out What Motivates Others

From an article by Jas Singh and published in the LinkedIn Pulse website

Success is built on the right type of motivation.

In fact, usually the best relationships we have are not with those people who supply the best product, are the most knowledgeable or even who we’ve known the longest. Instead, it’s usually with those people whose motivation and focus is in line with our own.

We’ve all experienced it. Hiring managers hire “perfect” candidates from the competition but soon realise the candidate isn’t driven to work hard. Other times, we spend ages looking for the right service provider, only to then be let down once the deal is closed. And sometimes we even invest hours on end to help loved ones, only to be consistently hurt and let down because they’re too lazy or reluctant to actually take action.

But it’s not like we don’t ask. In fact, in my experience most hiring managers do spend a long time asking candidates what motivates them and laying the down the required expectations.

So why the mismatch?

The problem is us humans love to conform. If someone asks us a question, we’ll try to give them an answer that they’d like to hear. To get a more accurate analysis of what really motivates others it’s important to go deeper. To develop our ability to screen others more accurately.

Here are some ways to figure out more accurately what really motivates others

Get the full picture

When we’re looking to assess others – whether in business, pleasure or our relationships, it’s easy to be blinkered by our own selfish interests.

In our desperation to fulfil our own needs, most of us usually see people the way we want to see them. We tend to focus purely on what we want out of the relationship and so concentrate most of our conversation in this limited area.

But people are complex. There are always multiple factors in play. In the work place for example, it’s all very well focussing on experience, targets and career expectations but for most people this is much less important than pressures in their personal life, health or simply having to succeed to support your family.

Motivation can stem from anywhere. Our families. Our financial situation. Our desire to fulfil a childhood dream. Even the desire to prove another person wrong.

The great thing about life is that all of us are different, but the key to successful leadership is discovering what really motivates others. That’s why it’s essential to keep peeling back the layers of the onion and exploring as much as possible in different areas to get the fullest picture possible.

The fuller the picture, the more accurate the analysis.

What are their fondest memories?

Actions speak louder than words.

Most people when asked what motivates them won’t be able to say for sure. However, ask a person what their fondest memories are – their biggest achievement, happiest moments, most inspirational times – and they’ll be able to answer instinctively.

The more vivid the memory, the greater the impact. Asking others about their most inspirational experiences is a great starting point to explore what really motivates them. Did they enjoy that year travelling because they like to continuously learn and try new things? Was their stellar academic track record because they are motivated by recognition and competition? Did they perform amazingly in that last job because they thrived in a working-from-home environment and the flexibility and autonomy it brings?

Big accomplishments are fuelled by big motivation. Get into other’s shoes and see what has been most important to them.

Get them to relax

Ever met a great sales person that seemed like the answer to your prayers, only left to be hung out to dry? Ever been treated like royalty at your first time in a restaurant only to then see the service level spiral downwards?

In high-stakes situations, we all know how to make a good impression. Fuelled by adrenaline, we’re desperate to please in the hope that the other person could be the long lost saviour we’ve been looking for. So we all say and do things simply to create a good impression – regardless of whether it meets our own essential needs.

Truth is uncovered when the guard is down. In order to get others to open-up and have a more transparent conversation it’s essential to get them to relax. Rather than see them with their “game-face” on, you’ll see what comes naturally.

Motivation is discovered when the guard is down.


Skills, experience, interests and knowledge are easy to assess.

But what’s harder – and often far more important – is to determine motivation.

Great leaders understand that the key to great success is not just being able to motivate others. It’s also to ensure that their followers motivation is aligned in the first place.

What type of motivation are you looking for?

You can click here to visit the IOPA Solutions website

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A spoonful of service makes the veterinary clients come ’round

From an article by Christina Materni and Denise Tumblin and published in the website

In the 1964 Walt Disney classic, Mary Poppins used a spoonful of sugar to persuade a young child to take medicine. Along those lines, we thought sugar could be the perfect symbol of great veterinary service. Here are recommendations for remarkable service—drawn from examples from the country’s Well-Managed Practices—that will make pet care easier for clients to swallow and keep them coming back to your clinic

Keep it simple

Do clients’ thinking for them. Offering too many choices for medical care will overwhelm clients and make it more difficult for them to make a decision. One or two recommendations is usually all a client needs or wants. Clients look to veterinarians for their medical knowledge and expertise, so be decisive about the care pets need.

Another way you can do clients’ thinking for them is by being proactive. Offer automatic refill and heartworm preventive reminders. Schedule the next appointment at the end of the current one;

if that isn’t possible, call the client the next day to schedule. If a client has multiple pets, review medical records of the other pets to talk about any necessary care that might be due.

Also, always ask clients if there are additional pets at home that aren’t being cared for by your practice.

In the exam room, take the time to talk with clients about pet lifestyle. For a new kitten or puppy, discuss wellness or budget plans and stress the importance of socialization. This is also a great time to address any behavioral issues. In addition, you might present your client with spay and neuter considerations. For older pets, start educating your clients on the benefits of semi-annual exams. Go over weight management and nutrition, quality of life, behavior and activity level.

Make it affordable

Keep your payment options open. To help clients budget for pet care, consider offering monthly payment plans for preventive wellness that can be managed in-house or by an outside company. Other options include pet insurance (particularly for clients with multiple pets) or third-party payment services. You can also create multiple plans to find out what the best alternative for your client is. Plan A, since it is presented first, should be your absolute best recommendation for care. Give the client time to consider the option. If they don’t have the money for the necessary care, express your understanding and offer an alternative: Plan B. This is a pared-down version of Plan A. If that still doesn’t work for them, offer a Plan C, which is your “at a minimum” suggestion. Use your best judgment to come up with an affordable option that still has crucial benefits for the pet.

Use a reward system based on tiers. For example, after five visits, a client’s pet receives a complimentary nail trim at the next visit (keep clients coming back with the redemption approach versus an immediate reward). Another example: after purchasing 10 bags of food, a client receives a free bag of pet treats.

Create connections

Be warm, friendly and helpful. When clients enter your doors, know who they are and why they are here. By getting to know your clients, their pets and their needs, you’re building relationships, which leads to better and more personalized service. Take a good, objective look at the intangibles that your practice offers. Are you giving your clients a reason to return? Make sure your receptionists get up and greet clients rather than wait for clients to come to them. Help carry pet food to clients’ cars. Keep an umbrella handy for rainy days. Open your doors to the community by hosting an open house.

Cross-promote with local businesses. Offer loyalty rewards. Consider joining forces with other local businesses for cross-referrals. Not only will it benefit your clinic, but it will also keep more money in your community.

Don’t be afraid to hear “no.” If at the end of the day you have educated your clients and recommended the very best care at a cost that reflects that care, you may still hear that two-letter word. Remember, the answer’s always “no” if you don’t ask.

So put yourself out there. Implement these recommendations and find new ways to get your clients to say “yes” to the care their pets need. By listening and getting creative, your service scheme has the ability to sweeten the deal not only for your clients and patients, but also for your practice—in the most delightful way.

You can click here to visit the Wutchiett, Tumblin ans Associates website website

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Young veterinarians don’t know how to talk to clients

From an article by Dean Severidt and published online in Veterinary Economics

There are some veterinarians who succeed at keeping clients happy and maintain profitable average client transactions. Then there are others who frustrate clients and have horrible average client transactions. Why is this?

During my 30 years of experience in the profession, I’ve seen many young veterinarians come and go, some with a lot of success and some with very little. And it seems to me that professionalism doesn’t have the same meaning to young veterinarians today that it had to veterinarians years ago.

The No. 1 common denominator that most veterinarians lack today is people skills. They lack an ability to relate to and communicate with clients. I’ve overheard veterinarians talk to clients in the exam room and can guarantee that the client left totally confused and had no idea what the veterinarian just told them. Why would the client move ahead with a procedure that they don’t understand?

I’ve learned from firsthand experience, as well as watching other veterinarians, that entering into the exam room and talking on a level that the client understands will almost always result in the client opting to perform the procedure. Although old-school veterinarians may not have had as high-tech of an education as veterinary students today, many of them are extremely down to earth. They’re dedicated to their profession and don’t feel superior to anyone—this allows them to relate to clients at their level.

Veterinary schools today put a lot of emphasis on grade point averages and the young veterinarians who come out of school are very intelligent. They’re way smarter than I ever dreamed of being, but they can’t always relate to people. These whip-smart students can diagnose just about anything and everything, but they can’t explain it or simply won’t explain it in simple terms to a client. This leaves clients frustrated and unhappy with the services they’ve received.

I think that new veterinarians do this because they feel superior to their clients. They think they have to talk over clients’ heads in order to build themselves up. I often hear young veterinarians complain about how dumb clients are. Yet these same veterinarians can be so self-absorbed that when it’s 6 p.m. and time for them to go home, they’ll leave whether a client is in the waiting room or not.

I’ve never put any significance on grade point averages when I’ve hired someone. My philosophy is that anyone who can get into and get through veterinary school is given the opportunity to be a good veterinarian. When I hire, I look for people who can talk simply and don’t present themselves as someone special, but instead they’re just who they are. They should carry themselves with confidence but not be condescending. They’ll stay for clients who are late because they understand that they’re doing this job for the client and the pet, and not just for themselves.

Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of good veterinarians coming out of school today, but some lack professionalism and it shows. Indeed, knowledge is important. But listening to clients, understanding their needs, and truly caring for them and their pets will bring much more success to a veterinarian and a practice than the smartest person in the world who can’t relate to clients.

You can click here to visit the website

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