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?
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.
Dr. Jeff Rothstein
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.