Two can communicate, but three's a crowd in veterinary practices

Two can communicate, but three's a crowd in veterinary practices

Intuitive cooperation doesn't work beyond pairs. It's time to be direct with team members and other coworkers.
Nov 09, 2010
By staff

Work long enough with a cherished veterinarian, practice manager, or team member, and you may work together flawlessly without uttering a word to each other. But throw a third person into the mix—and a fourth and a fifth and on and on—and your intuitive cooperation turns into trouble.

That's the news out of the University of Leicester, where four researchers conducted an experiment to test the success of two-person groups against larger groups. Participants received gains and losses in a financial game for pressing one of two buttons on a computer and didn't know, in the beginning, that their results were based on their neighbor's choice, not their own. Two-person groups yielded more gains than losses, whereas groups of three or more people never did.

“Married couples or pairs of business partners may be able to rely on intuitive cooperation, to an extent, but larger groups need explicit communication and planning," says leader researcher Andrew Colman. "Mechanisms need to be put in place to facilitate it. Intuitive cooperation is really a case of two’s company, but three’s a crowd.”

In a veterinary practice of two, intuitive cooperation works well. Build a bigger practice, however, and bring in that third wheel, and assumed understanding and communication break down.

Hot topics on dvm360

Follow dvm360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

For quick updates and to touch base with the editors of dvm360, Veterinary Economics, Veterinary Medicine, and Firstline, and check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Sell veterinary clients on your service

But you don't have to have butler-style service to win new clients and keep existing clients happy.

Why veterinarians should be more like a Louisiana shoeshiner

If my veterinary clients feel half as good as I did after visiting the 'Michael Jordan of shoeshines,' I'll be thrilled.

Texts from your veterinary clinic cat

If your clinic cat had a cell phone and opposable thumbs, what would he or she text you?

Learning goodbye: Veterinarians fill a void by focusing on end of life care

Veterinarians dedicating their careers to hospice and euthansia medicine may be pioneering the profession's next specialty—at clients' request.