7 tips to make your job easier
1) Delegate. Delegating doesn’t mean you’re asking someone else to do your job for you. True delegation makes the responsibility for a task someone else’s job. To delegate effectively, outline what you want done, explain the desired result, and then step back and let the team members take over. If you don’t feel confident giving team members new responsibilities, you may need to invest a little time in training them, says Denise Tumblin, CPA, president of Wutchiett Tumblin and Associates in Columbus, Ohio.
2) Make time for managing. When you’re involved in the day-to-day fracas of sick pets and worried clients, it’s easy to forget the management side of veterinary practice. “It can’t be relegated to when you’re driving, watching TV, or just whenever you have a spare moment,” Tumblin says. “Block off time on your schedule each week, and honor that time.” Your practice’s policies, client compliance efforts, and bottom line will benefit.
3) Use outside resources. If you don’t know where to turn next to solve a problem, why not turn to a business consultant, accountant, financial planner, mentor, or friendly colleague? Tapping others’ expertise offers opportunities to improve efficiency. You also could ask a knowledgeable friend or colleague to observe your practice and evaluate your policies and procedures. “It means you’ll get to spend some time working on your practice instead of just in it,” says Mark Opperman, CVPM, owner of veterinary consulting firm VMC Inc. in Evergreen, Colo.
4) Get a little learning. Schedule some time for CE: a class, a journal, or a good job-related book. Commit yourself to lifelong learning. “After all, it’s what you learn after you know it all that counts,” says author and Good Morning America veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker. “When you hit a roadblock, ask, ‘What is this trying to teach me?’”
5) De-stress now. Be sure to get a full night’s sleep, monitor your breathing—change short and fast to long and slow—and do at least one thing you enjoy every day. “Even a walk for 15 minutes can make a difference in your stress level,” says Dr. Becker.
6) Laugh. Make fun at work as high a priority as more traditional areas of concern. Training on proper phone etiquette is all wasted if team members answering the phone are stressed and tired. “When you call a business or walk into a lobby, how long does it take you to determine whether the people are there because they want to be or have to be?” asks Dr. Becker. A little good-natured levity, smiles, and laughs can make team members enjoy coming to work, and that excitement is contagious to clients.
7) Ask team members for feedback. You’re not all on your own at your practice. You have talented, dedicated team members with ideas. Ask each of them what you can do to make their jobs less frustrating and more satisfying. Then make yourself available for one-on-one meetings to hear their comments. “Talking things over can clarify problems, enable you to better understand your employees’ needs, and demonstrate your sincere concern for their job satisfaction,” says Roslyn, N.Y.-based speaker and writer Bob Levoy. “It may not solve all of the job-related problems that have built up over time, but it’ll improve morale, motivation, and productivity.” And all it takes is a little communication.