Sharpen up through team training

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Mar 01, 2006

Our hospitals' annual pilgrimage to the Michigan Veterinary Conference has traditionally been our major event for staff development. We leave motivated and fired up, ready to implement our new ideas. But this year I realized there was a problem with our approach to team training.

Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Free Press, 2004), says people are like saws—without renewal they become dull and rusty. and our once-a-year approach isn't fully sharpening our saws. Not everyone is able to attend the meeting, and the doctors are pulled to the medical presentations instead of management and team programs. This really pinpoints the true problem—our staff gets the client service, marketing, and business smarts while the doctors stick to the medical continuing education. Ever notice it's hard for the staff to implement changes if the doctors aren't on the same page?


Dr. Jeff Rothstein
Here's the solution: Call your training "Team Development" and embrace the concept of the Veterinary Healthcare Team. Make sure everyone in the practice understands that every single employee plays an important part in your team's success. Then provide or sponsor team development programs at least quarterly. By doing so, you bring the whole team together frequently enough to keep those saws nice and sharp. And with the whole team on the same page, it's much easier to implement significant new ideas and changes.

Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Jeff Rothstein, DVM, MBA, is the president of The Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals and Management Group, which owns and operates hospitals in Michigan and Ohio.