The learning curve: a new managers survival guide (Proceedings) - Veterinary Healthcare


The learning curve: a new managers survival guide (Proceedings)


It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success,nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things."
Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

New Managers
     • How are they picked?
     • What skill sets are necessary?
     • Are there specific criteria for the job and is there an exhaustive and complete job description?

     • What happens when new managers come in and try to change things?
     • What happens when new initiatives are suggested?
     • What happens when the team is frustrated and we come up with solutions in staff meetings?

Diagnosing Resistance
     • Organizational change WILL run into resistance.
     • Your job is to diagnose it, not resent it or wish it would go away.
     • Experienced managers know this but still tend to apply a simple set of beliefs about change and generalize:
           o "Technicians will never do it that way!"
           o "Our receptionists job is to handle change- they won't mind!"
           o "Forget trying to ask the doctors to change anything, they won't- especially the owner!"

Diagnosing Resistance
     • ALL people who are affected by change experience some degree of emotional turmoil associated with the change.
     • Even positive changes (eustress) involve loss and uncertainty.
     • New managers have to be aware of what forms the resistance might take.

Feelings First!
     • "I will lose something of value."
     • "I don't understand what is changing and how it will affect me."
     • "I don't think this change makes sense for our practice."
     • "I have a low tolerance for change and this makes me nervous."

     • Losing something of value.
           o People will focus on their own best interests.
           o Resistance is often of a "political" nature.
           o How are "politics" expressed in a veterinary practice?
           o "It will change my job description."
           o Development of me vs. you or us vs. them culture.
           o "That won't work..."

Lack of Trust (Misunderstanding)
     • Failure to understand the implications of the change.
     • Perception that the change will cost more than it actually will.
     • Trust issues are almost always between the person implementing the change and their employees.
     • How is lack of trust exhibited in a veterinary practice?
           o Rumor mill increases.
     • Managers have to be quick to remedy rumors by clarifying them and holding employees accountable for the truth.


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