Practice Management News and Views from around the World – May 2015

Happy Dogs and Cat in Australia

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The One Thing Successful People Never Do

Adapated (slightly) From an article by Bernard Marr published online in the LinkedIn Pulse website

Success comes in all shapes and colours. You can be successful in your job and career but you can equally be successful in your marriage, at sports or a hobby. Whatever success you are after there is one thing all radically successful people have in common: Their ferocious drive and hunger for success makes them never give up.

Successful people (or the people talking or writing about them) often paint a picture of the perfect ascent to success. In fact, some of the most successful people in business, entertainment and sport have failed. Many have failed numerous times but they have never given up. Successful people are able to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and carry on trying.

I have collected some examples that should be an inspiration to anyone who aspires to be successful. They show that if you want to succeed you should expect failure along the way. I actually believe that failure can spur you on and make you try even harder. You could argue that every experience of failure increases the hunger for success. The truly successful won’t be beaten, they take responsibility for failure, learn from it and start all over from a stronger position.

Let’s look at some examples, including some of my fellow LinkedIn influencers:

Henry Ford

– the pioneer of modern business entrepreneurs and the founder of the Ford Motor Company failed a number of times on his route to success. His first venture to build a motor car got dissolved a year and a half after it was started because the stockholders lost confidence in Henry Ford. Ford was able to gather enough capital to start again but a year later pressure from the financiers forced him out of the company again. Despite the fact that the entire motor industry had lost faith in him he managed to find another investor to start the Ford Motor Company – and the rest is history.

Walt Disney

– one of the greatest business leaders who created the global Disney empire of film studios, theme parks and consumer products didn’t start off successful. Before the great success came a number of failures. Believe it or not, Walt was fired from an early job at the Kansas City Star Newspaper because he was not creative enough! In 1922 he started his first company called Laugh-O-Gram. The Kansas based business would produce cartoons and short advertising films. In 1923, the business went bankrupt. Walt didn’t give up, he packed up, went to Hollywood and started The Walt Disney Company.

Richard Branson

– He is undoubtedly a successful entrepreneur with many successful ventures to his name including Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Music and Virgin Active. However, when he was 16 he dropped out of school to start a student magazine that didn’t do as well as he hoped. He then set up a mail-order record business which did so well that he opened his own record shop called Virgin. Along the way to success came many other failed ventures including Virgin Cola, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Clothes, Virgin Vie, Virgin cards, etc.

Oprah Winfrey

– who ranks No 1 in the Forbes celebrity list and is recognised as the queen of entertainment based on an amazing career as iconic talk show host, media proprietor, actress and producer. In her earlier career she had numerous set-backs, which included getting fired from her job as a reporter because she was ‘unfit for television’, getting fired as co-anchor for the 6 O’clock weekday news on WJZ-TV and being demoted to morning TV.

J.K. Rowling

– who wrote the Harry Potter books selling over 400 million copies and making it one of the most successful and lucrative book and film series ever. However, like so many writers she received endless rejections from publishers. Many rejected her manuscript outright for reasons like ‘it was far too long for a children’s book’ or because ‘children books never make any money’. J.K. Rowling’s story is even more inspiring because when she started she was a divorced single mum on welfare.

Bill Gates

-co-founder and chairman of Microsoft set up a business called Traf-O-Data. The partnership between him, Paul Allen and Paul Gilbert was based on a good idea (to read data from roadway traffic counters and create automated reports on traffic flows) but a flawed business model that left the company with few customers. The company ran up losses between 1974 and 1980 before it was closed. However, Bill Gates and Paul Allen took what they learned and avoided those mistakes when they created the Microsoft empire.

History is littered with many more similar examples:

  • Milton Hershey failed in his first two attempts to set up a confectionary business.
  • H.J. Heinz set up a company that produced horseradish, which went bankrupt shortly after.
  • Steve Jobs got fired from Apple, the company he founded. Only to return a few years later to turn it into one of the most successful companies ever.

So, the one thing successful people never do is: Give up! I hope that this is inspiration and motivation for everyone who aspires to be successful in whatever way they chose. Do you agree or disagree with me? Are there other things you would add to the list of things successful people never do?

You can click here to visit the LinkedIn Pulse website

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7 Essential Ingredients for Resolving Workplace Conflicts

From an article by Ivan Widjava published in the Small Business Trends website

Workplace conflicts can be very disruptive. Dealing with them is not an easy task, either.

That’s probably because we’re all human beings and have an almost in-born, deep-seeded need to be right all the time.

Worse, when we’re wrong, most of us absolutely hate to admit it.

Mix these two very human qualities together with a few other ingredients and you have a full-scale blowout in the workplace that will not only disrupt those involved, but anyone within shouting distance!

Here are a few of the essential ingredients needed for a zippy resolution when resolving workplace conflicts to (almost) any problem that erupts between two or more people in your workplace.

1. “No Time Like the Present”

I tried to pinpoint the great mind responsible for this inspiring quote. There are just too many people who’ve uttered it, across multiple languages and generations.
Don’t let the anger and resentment worsen by letting it ripen any further. Conflicts have the most chance of a successful resolution when they’re confronted head-on. If you let an infection fester, it turns red, then black, then gangrene sets in and there’s nothing left to do but amputate the offending appendage!

2. Try to be Discreet

The worst place for a conflict resolution to take place is in front of an audience. Emotions get in the way, eye contact is harder to maintain, embarrassment sets in, people interrupt and want to offer their limited viewpoint on the argument or worse, to choose sides. Find a neutral area where you can both be calm and focused on each other.

3. Smile

There is no need for me to go into a long, drawn out explanation about why even a half-attempt at a smile is far superior to a scowl. Just like active listening, smiling during a conflict resolution is very difficult to do. It’s something that all politicians need to master in order to be successful.

4. Actually Listen

Perhaps the hardest skill to master in life, listening to your fellow combatant will likely take every ounce of patience you’re currently holding in reserve. That is, of course, presuming you have any patience remaining.

The key when resolving workplace conflicts is to let the person speak. Turn the pathway between your ears and brain on, and do not merely stand there waiting for them to shut up so you can start hammering them with your opinions, suggestions, advice, observations, etc.

We’ve all met people like this. You can sense their impatience while you’re talking. You can see in their eyes and gestures that they’re not listening. And it’s no surprise when they immediately jump into their own tangent after you’re finished speaking, failing to acknowledge what you’ve just said.

5. Be Nice

As professional adults, when resolving workplace conflicts – nobody should have to tell you to be nice. Ignorance, indigence, outright defiance. . .each of these emotions show through, no matter who’s acting that way.

Relegate yourself to the fact that you’re fully committed to resolving the situation before it creeps out of control. Surrender to kindness and empathy, so the conversation doesn’t turn into an pointless battle of wills.

6. Accept Your Responsibility

Leadership expert, Dr. John C. Maxwell said it best with the following quote:
“The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.”

Ask yourself if you really feel like you’re a grown-up. It’s likely that one person’s bad attitude started this disagreement.

Remember, too, that attitude is present in our actions, such as snubbing someone in the lunchroom, or flipping the boss the bird when you think he isn’t looking – when in fact he’s standing in front of a glass window and can see you as clearly as if you were standing in front of a whiteboard with all black clothing on.

Regardless, admit your own blame in the situation, particularly if you know you’re dealing with a stubborn party who won’t relent until you do. Yes, some battles need to be fought until no enemy is left standing. However, this is your (and their) job we’re talking about.

7. All Else Fails – Find a Mediator

There’s one thing about a conflict that just can’t be resolved. It will quickly spiral out of control. Any adult in the workplace should have the expectation of professionalism among co-workers; being able to hash things out yourselves, without having to get “mom” or “dad” involved.

However, there are rare instances when two parties just can’t come to a rational agreement. Typically, emotions get in the way. One or both people feel they’ve been slighted and can’t wrap their heads around offering forgiveness to one another.

Sometimes an argument about who is right and who is wrong just can’t be resolved despite both parties’ willingness to talk.

This is the time to seek help from a mediator. An HR rep, manager, or the big boss are a great place to go if both of you agree. If you’re in a management position, it may be prudent to hire the services of a professional mediator, trained specifically in workplace mediation.

Since you’re at the end of the rope, so to speak, a professional trained in the delicate art of mediation is likely preferable over all other options.

You can click here to visit the Small Business Trends website

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Team Work Is Great When It Works

From an article by Tina Del Buono and published in the Practical Practice Management website

Team work is great when it works, but what do you do when one team member decides that they want to change the plays of the game with no warning?

Imagine watching a pro-football game and the quarterback calls the play, the team gets set and then the quarterback steps back to throw the ball to the receiver (according to the game plan) and the receiver has decided to run a different route.

The quarterback stops, stares in amazement as his receiver is not in sight and then he has to make a quick decision what to do with the ball. If he throws it there may be an interception and if he tries to run with it he could get sacked and lose the ball. What happened to the game plan?

Working on a team each player needs to be able to work independently yet each player is dependent upon the other players to complete their plays so the end result is what was planned.

When a team player decides that they are going to change how they contribute to the play without consulting or informing the rest of the team, confusion and dysfunction occurs within all of the team players.

Independent plays can destroy team morale and function and need to be addressed so that the team can regroup and move forward together.

Left unaddressed independent players will assume that what they are doing is acceptable and will continue to play according to their game rules.

There are two key rules when playing on a team;

  • Adaptability –Being flexible in what you need to do and help your teammates to reach the common goal together. A cohesive team will know what each team member needs to do and come along side them to support that it is accomplished.
  • Effective Communication – All team members need to know the game plan and why it needs to be executed in the manner laid out. If one team member feels that the plan needs to be changed, they need to address it with the team as a whole and not act independently, just hoping the rest of the team will follow their lead.

Independent team player moves that go against the game plan are destructive to the goals of the team. As a team member if you feel you have a better way to complete the play make sure you discuss it with the team captain and make sure that all team players are onboard before you make a move that could cause your team to lose the game.

“One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.” ~ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

You can click here to visit the Practical Practice Management website website

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New look and support materials for Cat Friendly Clinic

Int Cat Care logo

The International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), the veterinary division of leading cat charity International Cat Care, unveiled a new look and a raft of new support materials for its Cat Friendly Clinic programme at the British Small Animal Veterinary Congress in April. The new materials, developed in response to feedback from veterinary practices across the UK, will help interested clinics to gain accreditation, or already-accredited clinics to raise their profile to the cat-owning public. The cat friendly programme, which is supported across Europe by Purina, now has over 1000 accredited clinics worldwide. Cat Friendly Clinics commit to driving wellbeing in cats visiting or undergoing hospitalisation in their practices.

Initiatives include an extensive library of photographs from already-accredited clinics to give inspiration and ideas to practices applying to the programme. A video walk-through of one Cat Friendly Clinic highlights how with imagination and a willingness to adopt a feline-friendly attitude, accreditation is straight-forward for the majority of veterinary practices. A new Bronze award will be announced together with slightly revised criteria for the Silver and Gold accreditation levels.

Already-accredited clinics can make use of a pack of promotional materials which includes pre-prepared press releases for use with their local media, new window stickers, award certificates and client information leaflets, copy for their practice newsletters and a regular supply of cat friendly Facebook posts.

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You can click here to visit the CatCare website

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Create a blueprint for your veterinarian-pet-client relationship

From an article by Marty Becker published inline in the dvm360.com website

Sketching out a plan for your relationship with the pet and the owner helps create a lasting bond.

When I see a puppy or kitten in the exam room, I think of one of the most impactful books in my life, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. One of the seven habits is to begin with the end in mind, and Covey poses the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The question may appear a little trite, but think about it for a moment. Are you doing what you always wanted to do, what you went to school to learn, where you can contribute the most to pets, people, your practice and the profession?

With puppy and kitten patients, I channel Covey, planning with the end in mind for both pet and pet owners at the embryonic stage of this unique bond between families and pets and their veterinarian. What education and steps will help this pet to live a happy, healthy, full life? How do I want my relationship to develop with pet owners and what do I want them thinking—and more important, feeling—as the pet draws its last breath?

My goals for the pet

Starting with the end for the pet involves educating the pet owner about optimal nutrition, weight control, lifetime parasite control, daily oral care and semi-annual wellness visits, at which time we give any vaccinations that are needed. With these ideas cemented into the pet owner’s mind and actions that start with the first visit to the veterinarian, we can ensure fewer problems and more benefits and longevity.

My goals for the pet owner

For pet owners, I want them all to be our favorite clients. That means we gain their respect and trust so that they take our recommendations. They bring their pet in regularly for wellness visits. They are on time for appointments, pay their bills with a smile, are serial referrers and know us personally. To end up with another favorite client requires actions on our part, starting day one to include really listening and displaying empathy and complete honesty. It also includes personal touches, such as giving them your cell phone number to call when their pets are sick and treating them like they’re No. 1 at every visit.

This habit is based on imagination, the ability to visualize what you currently can’t see. Covey says it’s based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental (first), and a physical (second) creation. The physical follows the mental just as a building follows a blueprint. If you don’t make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want—from a career or a family/pet/veterinary bond—then you empower other people or circumstances to shape your career or an exam by default.

Connect with your own uniqueness and define the personal, professional, moral and ethical guidelines within which you can most happily and productively express and fulfill yourself. To begin with the end in mind means to begin each day, task or project—like a new puppy or kitten exam—with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue to flex your proactive and passionate muscles to make the blueprints turn into something incredible.

You can click here to visit the dvm360.com website website

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