Like most industries, today veterinary medicine is all about change…
Changes in treatment protocol, technologies, staff, and day-to-day bumps that require pivoting, are all part of the job in day-to-day Veterinary practice. While veterinary practice managers and administrators are usually the initiators of these changes, it’s easy to forget that at our core humans are creatures of habit. Uncovering ways to help your team adjust to change and become more flexible will not only make your job easier, but it can also improve your entire work culture.
The biggest tool you have in your arsenal for helping your team is communication. As your veterinary clinic’s Practice Manager or Leader you are aware of all of the struggles and opportunities that your clinic faces. Using that knowledge to inform, educate, and prepare your team can take a tumultuous policy change and turn it into a low grumble that fades quickly as your team does their best to put the policy to work.
Schedule frequent team meetings
Either weekly or monthly, schedule team meetings to discuss the wins and losses that your hospital or clinic has seen. Making your team aware of the issues opens the door for them to feel like a part of the solution. Encourage them to share ideas they have to resolve the problem. Implementing a policy change that was started by a fellow team member can empower your team. Don’t be surprised if these healthily informed team players become advocates for further change and improvement.
Listen to your team
Your Vets, Nurses, Technicians and Assistants are in the thick of the battle to deliver excellence every day. As they uncover issues or develop solutions to problems, be open to listening and acting on their needs. Having a staff that trusts your judgement after having hear them out will not only make implementing changes easier, but you’ll gain allies who will help the rest of the team.
Before issuing a policy change, work with the teams that will be most impacted by the change. While it may be clear to you that something is amiss, your team may disagree. Communicating and working with the team prepares them for the change and also lets them take ownership for how that change will play out.
Create Team Leaders
Inspire and empower team members who get along with their teammates to accept a greater responsibility for harmonious change. These leaders don’t have to be the best skilled or have the most experience. But they do need to have leadership skills. Working with these leads before, during, and after a change can help everyone transition. People may not be comfortable coming to you, so give them a resource they can trust in your team leaders.
Change is hard. For you as well as your team.
Priming your team by communicating and involving them in the process can make transitioning much easier. Sure, there will always be people who can’t adapt, but if you provide them opportunities to express concerns, you’ll find that they too will adjust. With just a few simple processes you can turn your team into a flexible machine ready to be the best veterinary staff out there.
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