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

A video for the vets you employ in your practice

This is the first in a series of 5 videos designed specifically for recent graduates and for vet students planning a career in practice. I tell them how to take control of their practice career, with clients queuing up to seek and follow their advice, supportive colleagues, a smiling boss and a salary which reflects their value to the practice – all without compromising their professional standards and values. In a nutshell, I tell them all the things that you would like to tell them if you had the time.

You and all the vets you employ in your practice can view the second video in the series immediately – and the remaining three videos over the next couple of weeks – with one single online payment

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Leadership for Dummies, it is not that complicated

From an article by John Roland

What amazes me when I study leadership is how there are so many common themes I hear over and over again. Leaders need to be honest, approachable, accountable, and consistent. What frustrates me is when I look back at myself, I knew what to do but too often failed at the most common things. Here are 10 reminders of the basics of leadership, “Leadership for Dummies, it is not that hard!”

  • Genuinely care about people. People from all backgrounds and socioeconomic status, want to be cared for authentically and respected for who they really are behind the mask. Want your employees to be loyal? Genuinely care for them as people first.
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  • Honesty is always a good policy. People follow those they can trust and know they will be upfront with them through the good and bad. If people don’t trust you, pack your bags because your days are numbered as their position leader.
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  • You will fail if you are not approachable, humble, and available as a leader. You will fail because you have not developed the trust needed to succeed. You remain a leader in title only. Don’t become the leader up on high or the unaccessible “man behind the curtain” like the Wizard of Oz. At some point, people will come to their own conclusion (true or not) you are not leading effectively because they have no personal connection or experiential evidence to prove otherwise.
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  • Become an expert at generational differences. Show younger generations you have not checked out as a learner and settling as a digital immigrant. Younger generations must show the maturity in respecting the collective wisdom of older generations while leading as a digital native. Never be satisfied as a learner and constantly be seeking more wisdom and knowledge, regardless of age.
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  • Organization rises and falls ultimately on the ingenuity, forward-thinking, and energy of the CEO. Regardless of how visionary, talented, or up and coming the VPs, COO or other lower level talent are, the CEO is at the face of the organization to the world.
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  • Leaders are not to be in positions forever. There is a true life span to one’s effectiveness within an organization. Boards and executives need to plan accordingly. Once the leader loses his/her vision and drive, the organization will soon follow. Ask where are the fresh ideas? What does the future look like or is the longtime leader only focused on remembering the glory days? Due to the digital age, change is taking place more rapidly than ever. “Glory days” no longer fit.
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  • Leaders do not lead by fear. Managers who lead by fear will ultimately have staff who will leave at the first chance they can with no regrets. Leading by fear such as firing on a whim, micromanagement, and gatekeeping of employees will exhaust your staff, and cause them to be brittle out of anxiety. They will have no reason to be loyal.
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  • Release and multiply your leaders. Provide them the training they need, create a healthy culture of productivity, and give them the best opportunities to succeed. If you don’t, you will lose them anyway if you micromanage them.
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  • Leaders stick with your decisions and see them through. Leaders who change their minds often after decisions have been announced, cause their followers to be like seasick sailors who question your effectiveness of handling the “ship” and the confidence of your leadership. Be thorough in your planning and preparation and then see your decision, plan, program through to it’s conclusion.

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Survey for UK Vets

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ONswitch is conducting a short online survey to review the attitude of practice owners to the their plans for retirement and their exit strategy from practice ownership.

Alison Lambert would very much appreciate your help – please spend a few minutes to complete the survey now

Thank you

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4 ways to send veterinary clients running from your clinic

From an article by Marty Becker DVM published in Veterinary Economics

I get lots of requests for advice from pet owners on how to pick a veterinarian. Here’s what I tell them are red flags:

    Lack of compassion.

    Pet owners need to experience how much you care before they witness how much you know. If you’re hurried or ignoring signs of a pet’s anxiety, fear or pain, pet owners should leave immediately.

    Friction among team members.

    Friction among team members. Pet owners have a hard time judging quality of medicine, but it’s easy to judge quality of service. If they see signs of friction in the practice, they should start looking for another.

    Facility shows a lack of pride or investment.

    If you have a dated or damaged sign, peeling paint and flooring is dirty, you’re betting pet owners won’t care about those things. Top practices have pride in their facility, equipment, uniforms—everything. This doesn’t mean you have to immediately rebuild or remodel, but you do need to keep things painted, cleaned and repaired.

    Practice doesn’t invest in the newest equipment, technology and training.

    Quality practices have invested in digital radiography, dental suites and laser therapy, and the teams from these practices attend CE meetings where they learn the current thinking on medicine and surgery. If you’re living a practice life of self-improvement, publicise it.

I tell pet owners that once they’ve done their homework by talking with family members, friends, neighbors and coworkers, to then do an onsite visit and ask to see beyond the exam rooms in the back.

You can click here to visit the dvm360 website

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Confidential Helpline for VPMA Members

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Veterinary practice managers are now able to access help for themselves and their families through a new Veterinary Practice Management Association (VPMA) member benefit. The new VPMA Member Assistance Programme was created to fill a needs gap for managers with somewhere to go for help on a range of issues from personal to professional. The programme, provided via Health Assured, provides a 24 hour confidential helpline for VPMA members, backed up by a Wellness portal where they can access a range of support tools.

VPMA Honorary Secretary Julie Beacham stressed the need for such a scheme, “It’s very difficult for some practice managers, who find themselves in a limbo-situation between providing direction and support for employees, while trying to comply with their responsibilities towards their practice principal or employer. We’d had many reports of managers really struggling with no-where to go to find help for themselves. So, working with a provider, we came up with a package that gives each of our members, and their immediate families, support for both work-related issues such as financial and legal support, as well as personal issues such as stress and family matters.”

Providing support for practice managers on well-being and workplace issues was one of the goals of now senior vice-president Helen Sanderson, “Our members are our central focus – and along with the CPD and networking opportunities that VPMA provides, we wanted to support well-being. We hope that through the programme, practice managers will feel that they are not alone.”

The Member Assistance Programme is available free of charge to all VPMA members.

You can click here to visit the VPMA website

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Make People Feel Important

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

“Everyone has an invisible sign hanging on their neck saying, “Make me feel important.” Never forget this message when working with people.” ~ Mary Kay Ash

The topics on Leadership and Management often discuss how important it is to praise and compliment your employees as it increases their self-worth and inspires them to do a great job.

What is not often seen is the topic of leaders and managers showing their employees the importance of passing praise and compliments along to those they come in contact with that are not coworkers, but are people who come in contact with their company in some outside way.

Let me give you a great example; Yesterday was my first day back to work from a two-week trip out of the country. One of my staff persons came to me and said that a patient had told her to pass this message on to the office manager when she returned.

The patient was having her last visit at our medical office because she was moving out-of-state, she told the assistant “you have the best medical office that I have every been in. You run on time, everyone has always been very pleasant and helpful, and I can tell you all enjoy your jobs.” She also told her “I will miss coming to your office.”

The impact of this patient’s compliment was tremendous on all of us at the office, and how nice was it for this patient to stop and take the time to tell us how she felt about the care and service she received from us. It made us all feel so good about what we do and that we want to strive to do better each day.

Leaders and Managers not only need to praise and compliment their employees but they need to show appreciation and praise to those that they encounter each day on the job and train their staff to do the same. Here are a few examples of “making people feel important.”

  • A company you purchase supplies from does a great job with your order, getting it to you on time. Now I know that this is expected, but what if you gave the manager of the company a quick call and told them what a good job that “Bob” did with your order and you just wanted him to know how much you appreciated it. How do you think Bob will feel when he hears that you called?
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  • There was a mistake on a bill and you called the vendor and the staff person was able to figure it out and fix the problem. Not only tell the person thank you for helping you, but what about sending a thank you card or e-mail to them also.
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  • The toilet broke in the office and the landlord sent someone over right away to fix it. Yes, it was their job to do, but letting them know how much you appreciate that they cared and took care of the problem right away will make them feel great about what they do.
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  • Say thank you and have a great day to the mail person, UPS or FedEx person, the person who delivers the drinking water, etc.
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  • Tell customers, clients, or patients thank you for coming in to your place of business, let them know you appreciate what they buy, or service that get. Tell them it is people like them that make your business successful.

It takes so little, yet it means so much when you let others know that you appreciate them, what they do for you and the company you work for. It is amazing how a few words of praise can make such a difference in one’s day knowing what they do is important to you.

Take the appreciation challenge today and see how many people you can thank while at work today.

You can click here to visit Practical Practice Management website

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3 Strategies to Maximize Your Time

From an article published in the Entrepreneur.com website

Time management is something many people struggle with. The secret to managing your time effectively is knowing what you want to do and when you will do it. This way, you stay proactive and in “execute” mode rather than reactive in “catch up” mode.

But managing your time is easier said than done. When the alarm clock starts beeping for you to wake up and exercise because it seemed like such a great idea the night before, it’s easy to turn that early morning siren into a digital projectile. You hurl it as far across the room as possible because the thought of sweating at that particular moment in time makes you want to cry.

However, if you don’t get up, you’ll be reiterating the same habit loop of unfulfillment later in the day. It’s when you don’t realize your purpose that you start feeling emotional tension, and subsequently become a “grumpy pants.”

In fact, what you focus on is a direct reflection of you. Values drive behavior and behavior determines results. Here are three strategies to maximize your time:

1. Have a purpose.

Purpose offers clarity and direction. It generates the energy you need to be productive because it’s something you believe in. It’s much easier to work towards something when we know what that “something” is. Additionally, a purpose offers feedback as it summons you back towards true north when your behavior begins to fall off course.

To identify what drives you, ask yourself where you enjoy spending time compared to where you must spend your time. Are they the same? If not, it may be time to realign.

2. Make two lists.

I know, not exactly intuitive to the whole time management concept but hear me out. Take a sheet of paper and draw a vertical line down the center. On one side, write the day’s tasks that are important for you to accomplish, such as exercising, spending time with the kids, or reading for just 20 minutes on your own.

Realizing important items reduces the pressure of having to tend to the second column, which are the urgent items. There are urgencies that are habitual, such as hallway conversations, and urgencies that arise out of nowhere, such as that annoying inbox chime that seems to demand immediate attention. Push the urgent items until the next day until your important items are fulfilled.

3. Be predictable.

When urgencies arise, they throw your daily routine out of whack because the tasks you planned on finishing get pushed to the back burner. Remedy this by creating a set schedule for when you will check email, workout or socialize. The more predictability you can introduce into your schedule, the more opportunities you’ll be aware of where you can interject urgencies when they arise.

You can click here to visit the Entrepreneur.com website

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