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July 10, 2018
October 6, 2018

How to Get Your Employees on the Same Page

Monica Dixon Perry

One of the attendees at a Principles of Veterinary Practice Management seminar had a great question after the seminar. They asked,

“How does a practice’s owner and manager get all of its employees on the same page?”

I like this question because regardless of the medicine and service provided by a team, if there is a lack of team cohesiveness and continuity, then at some point these two areas will be compromised. It’s important to be on the same page during the slow times as well as the busy times. It’s important to be on the same page when you are adequately staffed as well as when the practice is understaffed. A true team can endure the good, the bad, and especially the ugly.  

When I look at practices with whom I have worked and am currently working, I would say the most successful teams are those that understand the owner’s philosophy and vision. Not only do they understand it, but they are fully committed to the point that they are enhancing the practice on a daily basis.

What are the top 4 reasons these practices appear to be on the same page?

1. The practice has a clearly stated mission statement that is adopted by each team member; It not only drives the practices’ operations but the actions of each individual.

The practice owner needs to be able to clearly communicate the mission of the practice so that team members can align themselves with the mission and adopt it as their own. This will serve to direct their actions and decisions and when each team member does this, their actions and decisions will work in concert to promote the practice and its goals.

2. The practice has a strong manager with excellent leadership skills to oversee the practice and the team.

A strong manager is like the needle on a compass, pointing the way to true north and moving the practice and team in the right direction. Team members appreciate fair, consistent leadership that doesn’t falter in the face of stress, problems or unusual situations. These leadership skills provide the team with the guidance they need to continue moving in a forward direction.

3. The practice’s management hires “the cream of the crop” support staff to build a team of “10” employees.

To provide the best service and create the best team, you need the best individuals. Taking the time and making the effort to hire only the best fit for your practice provides long-term payoffs. Highly skilled and motivated team members will embrace your practice’s mission and bring it to life. Mediocre individuals will not help to create the cohesion and unity you want in your team and, in fact, can damage it. High performing team members will appreciate working with other high performing individuals.

4. The practice consistently conducts engaging team meetings.  

Regular team meetings that are engaging and relevant provide the kind of communication that is necessary to keep your team pulling in unison. Review the practice mission statement often. Explain the implementation of new policies or products. Let team members hear about the great work their co-workers are doing and it will encourage and motivate them to perform their best work, also. Keep them informed with progress toward goals and update them on customer feedback. Great team meetings foster great teamwork!

I believe that when these four approaches come together, a successful team is created. When a practice establishes a solid foundation (i.e., creates a mission statement), makes a concerted effort to reiterate this message (via team meetings), hires employees who will enhance the practice’s mission and philosophy and has strong, unwavering leadership that stays committed to the practice’s mission - getting everyone on the same page becomes almost effortless.

Here are some resources to help!

Creating a mission statement

Hiring “10” employees

Conducting awesome and productive team meetings

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