Practice Management News and Views from around the World – May 2014

Paper is not dead


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Sanctioned Incompetence- Is It Affecting Your Hospital?

A blog from Rebecca Tudor and published on her CatalystVets website

I first heard the term “sanctioned incompetence” back in 2008 when I attended Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Master Series. It is a phrase that has stuck with me since then, and unfortunately I’ve seen it rear its ugly head in all kinds of businesses including animal hospitals.

Sanctioned incompetence is when the leader either fails to recognize or ignores incompetence in one or more of his/her team members and fails to deal with it resulting in a divided demoralized team.

The problem in so many businesses is there seem to be different rules for different people. Let me start by saying I don’t necessarily think that all team members should be treated the same-fairness is not a virtue (that is a big problem in our country right now but I digress…). BUT, there are certain expectations that must be met by all members of a team or you will end up demotivating your best people.

When you have one team member who constantly shows up late without any consequences, what that tells everyone else is being on time to work is not important to the leaders of the business.

When you have a team member who magically seems to “duck” all the grunt work without there being any consequences, what you are telling everyone else is the details are not really that important.

In my experience, most animal hospitals are run by people who do not enjoy confrontation and honestly I get that-confrontation is never fun. But maybe changing the context of the confrontation and realizing that it MUST be done so as not to destroy the morale of everyone else will make it easier for you to do.

Confrontation is never easy, and there is definitely an art to it, but please don’t let sanctioned incompetence ruin what you are working so hard to build!

Sometimes the best team building exercise can be done by letting go of the people in your hospital who are not living up to the standards of excellence your entire team needs to have. Giving someone warning is definitely the right approach, but if they have been confronted and the same demoralizing behavior is still present-you must for the sake of your TEAM MORALE free their future and get them out of your hospital!

Do you have any experiences with sanctioned incompetence you would like to share?

You can click here to visit the CatalystVets website

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What makes a great decision maker?

From a blog by Ian Dickson

We all have to make decisions.. Often all day long. Sometimes we make good ones, sometimes not so good!. Making decisions can be extremely difficult, tiring and stressful.

However, for some it seems to be a breeze and they make great decisions quickly, clearly and successfully. So here are a few tips that great decision makers do to ensure their choices are the right ones more often than not.

1. Capture Information.

They are good at understanding the appropriate level of information they need. Not too much (or they never decide) and not too little (or the risk of making the wrong choice is too great).

2. Have a focus

Their decision making is based on some clear criteria for their whole business or organisational map. One good one is ‘Is this a value-creating outcome?’

3. Take their time.

Good decision makers decide when the time is just right. Sometimes in the moment, other times after consideration. And even sleep on it, maybe, when pushed by others and then, sometimes, owners of the issue make their own decision in the meantime.

4. Keep others informed.

When a decision is pending, good decision makers keep those involved in the input and outcomes of their pending choice in the loop. They value those people by following through and communicating well.

5. Aren’t afraid.

And decisions are there to be made and not ‘toyed’ with. Prevarication here is often the worst option. Worse even than making the wrong choice…and is one of the biggest frustrations to those involved.

6. Involve others.

By working with others in a constructive way, the together decisiveness builds confidence in the leader. Often, as part of the information gathering cycle, opinions are sought as information and valued. Ideas off the wall from others can regularly provide the best choice – so they do not miss the opportunity.

7. Are accountable.

Through making the best choice at the time, great decision makers know they, and they alone are accountable. That is the role they have chosen and the burden they carry – no one else gets the blame.

8. Know their limits.

Sometimes decisions are outside the scope of an individual. The best one’s know where the boundary of their choice making lies and pitch their level of accountability accordingly.

9. Show commitment.

Once the decision is made, the best decision makers stick with it with their full energy and focus. Making a decision and not following through is the worst possible sort of decision.

10. Learn from their mistakes

Reviewing the performance of a decision is a vital part of developing and honing those skills. Great decision makers develop a formal or informal process with which to measure the calibre of their Decision Making outcomes.

You can click here to visit Ian Dicksons website

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Should Veterinary Professionals Have Tattoos?

From an artice by Jennifer Inbody and published in the veterinaryteambrief.com website

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The patients we see do not have an opinion of our hairstyle, hair color, clothing, or ink that may permanently decorate our body. As long as we speak to them kindly, offer them a treat or a belly rub, and act as their advocate, most patients are just fine with who we are and what we look like.

However, those patients that come to our practices are attached to clients, many of whom, unfortunately, judge us and form an opinion from what they see. Those same clients expect a level of professionalism in the way we look and act in the veterinary practice environment.

The true concern is whether the tattoo deters our clients from believing we provided exceptional care and service.

Do Looks Count?

Why is our professional image important? As veterinary professionals, we cater to clients of different social and economic backgrounds with different opinions, yet like other professionals, our appearance and actions must appeal to the masses.

We need to consider our clientele so we know what they may be looking for in every professional business they patronize—what is their average age, income, and social background? Our clients expect the same level of professionalism from team members in their physician, dentist, lawyer, or accountant’s office, and the fact is, the team’s appearance will often play a role when clients select service providers.

What Really Matters?

A veterinary practice is a professional business. The bottom line is not whether a team member should have a tattoo; the true concern is whether the tattoo deters our clients from believing we provided them and their pets with exceptional care and service. Anything that has the potential to cause clients to question our team’s credibility and dedication is a problem. When educating a client about his or her pet, the focus must be on the client and the patient; team members should not allow any distractions.

The Point

Team members who have tattoos likely believe the tattoos are an important method of individual expression. However, our professional appearance is equally important in a veterinary practice. I believe that with forethought and a little imagination, it is possible to find the right balance between expressing ourselves, maintaining our professional image, and serving our patients (and their owners) in the manner they expect.

You can click here to visit the Veterinary Team Brief website

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Vetiary – Find a Vet online – Now Available for the UK Market

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Vetiary aims to improve both the organization of the duties and responsibilities of veterinarians. This also involves the enhancement of the pet owners’ experience with the veterinary world.

Vetiary was created and developed by a group of 4 pet lovers, who decided to come as one group in order to bring tech within the world of veterinary clinics.

The Vetiary booking system comes with features such as the veterinarians can obtain bookings from the vetiary’s website. This way, they will be able to manage around the clock every appointment they acquire. It will also be easy for them to arrange their everyday activities better and develop their relationship with their clients.

The veterinarians will also have a custom dashboard that shows all bookings they have, all reviews posted on their profiles and the way the clinic’s profile is performing in the search queries.

Vetiary will also be active with advertising activities that will benefit all registered members, offering them a cheap channel of marketing.

Pet owners may also use the platform to look for a veterinarian and book his or her appointment with just few clicks.

Veterinarians can also organize follow up consultations, routine inspections to keep track of the pet’s health and have a public profile on the Vetiary’s site, featuring a practice description, the clinic’s opening hours and the reviews from satisfied clients.

Vetiary is within an open beta phase, which means it will be offered for free for a limited period of time

You can click here to visit the Vetiary website for further information

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4 red flags to look out for in potential veterinary team members

From an article by Bob Levoy and published in the dvm360.com website

By noticing what candidates are (or aren’t) doing in the interview, you’re more likely to choose just the right person for the job.

An important difference between your practice and others in your community is the people you hire. You can have exceptional expertise, an award-winning hospital, a good location and competitive fees, but if your team members aren’t right for the culture of your practice, it can lead to a loss of clients and a damaged reputation.

In many cases, during the initial interview, you can identify job applicants who won’t be a good fit for your practice by looking for the following red flags:

Doesn’t smile: “We don’t train people to smile. We hire people who smile,” said Vincent Stabile, former vice president at JetBlue Airways. “I look at people and try to ascertain their default position. If their natural default is friendly and smiling, that’s likely to be a person who will provide the customer service we want. If someone is unhappy or frowning, or has to put on a front to engage with people, that’s not going to be the right kind of person.”

Shows a lack of courtesy: How does a job applicant interact with your receptionist, for example, when first calling or arriving at your hospital? Is he or she polite? Respectful? Appreciative of any assistance offered? Ask your receptionist about his or her reaction to the job applicant; those insights can be valuable. (You may be surprised how rude some job applicants can be when they’re not being interviewed.)

Reveals confidential information: Beware of job applicants who reveal confidential information about former employers or practices. You’ll be next.

Discusses compensation prematurely:

Every job applicant wants the most he or she can get in terms of salary and benefits. This is understandable. Nevertheless, there’s a right time to discuss such matters—and it’s after you or your hospital manager have shown serious interest in hiring the person. Many interviewers with whom I’ve spoken consider a premature interest in compensation or benefits, especially at the beginning of the interview, a major red flag.

Veterinarians often find themselves with a desperate and immediate need to fill a vacancy. This can lead to one of the most common hiring mistakes: settling—which can adversely affect client satisfaction and practice growth. Don’t compromise your standards for the sake of expediency.

You can click here to visit DVM360 website

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Denplan and Practice Plan for Vets join forces to strengthen support for veterinary professionals.

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Further strengthening its position in the pet health plans marketplace, Denplan has announced the acquisition of Practice Plan for Vets.

Pet Health Plans from Denplan, initially launched under the trading name of The Practice Business in 2007, has grown rapidly to cover over 30,000 pets across the UK. Practice Plan for Vets is the current market leader with around 68,000 pets covered via vet practices. Over the coming six months there will be a strategic review of both business operations, however it is currently planned that both of these distinct brands will be operated out of Denplan’s offices in Winchester when the time is right.

Steve Gates, Managing Director of Denplan, commented: “We’re delighted to acquire Practice Plan for Vets, as this greatly strengthens the support we offer to healthcare professionals in the veterinary marketplace. Our absolute focus going forward will be to continue to support all our vets, their clients and pets and this acquisition will give us both huge opportunity, in time, to explore some exciting new offerings and enhancements to meet growing demand.”

The current Practice Plan for Vets members can be reassured that business will continue as usual and vet practices can expect to see their usual Business Development Manager in the future.

Mike Hadfield, Practice Plan for Vet’s Managing Director, added: “Pet Health Plans has a superb pedigree with their Denplan heritage and has built a very good reputation since they entered the vet market six years ago. I’m very proud of Practice Plan for Vets and I’m pleased that the business will be in such good hands and will continue to thrive.”

You can click here for more information about Pet Health Plans from Denplan

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