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Making the best of yourself and your practice: Part 2 (Proceedings)

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Oct 01, 2008

Lessons from Good to Great by Jim Collins

Jim Collins' book "Good To Great" serves as a prequel to his other book "Built to Last". I advise using them as a model to look at as we take our practice from good to great.

The most critical factor in becoming a "great" practice is applying 6 concepts based on 3 Disciplined features.

1. Disciplined People

a. Level 5 Leadership

b. First Who... Then What

2. Disciplined Thought

a.Confront the Brutal Facts

b. Hedgehog Concept

3. Disciplined Action

a. Culture of Discipline

b. Technology Accelerators

Disciplined People

Level 5 Leadership

Being an owner means that you are the "executive" of your practice. But before you become an executive you must also where several other hats. First, you should be a " highly capable individual"- what that means is that you should be veterinarian that maintains their education and skill. Next, you should be a "contributing team member"- that means that your actions should contribute to success of the group and you should work effectively with others. Third, you should be a "competent manager"- demonstrating your ability to organize and move people and resources effectively and efficiently towards your objectives. Fourth, you need to be an "effective leader"- set forth a clear vision and commit others toward performing to a higher standard. Finally, you become the "executive"- your ambition is for the company and not yourself- requires both great humility and extreme dedication. ARE YOU READY TO BE THE EXECUTIVE OF YOUR PRACTICE?

First Who... then What

Who do you surround yourself with? Who makes up your team? Do you hire the right people? You may have heard the expression- "Hire for attitude". Not only is this important but so is the fact that you should surround yourself with the right people. Think of your practice right now... do you have the right people there- who is missing? Where can you find them? Do you have the right team? Now that you do, revisit your vision-is it truly all of your vision. Are the right people on the bus and more importantly in the right seats?- Now together drive that vision to success.

Disciplined Thought

Confront the Brutal Facts

Vaccine changes, internet pharmacies, malpractice concerns.... How have you dealt with these in your practice? Great practices deal with the reality of these and simply "refine" their vision. Doing so requires you to always ask the hard questions and constantly look for changes on the horizon. Do you see any medical doctors selling products in their practices? Shouldn't this have been a red flag to veterinary practices? How we respond to potential threats to our "vision" defines our greatness- do we steer clear or do we fight a losing battle?

Hedgehog Concept

Differentiating your practice is your key to greatness. What that means is that you can't be all things to all people. So how do find your differentiating factor- it's the triangle that is formed by three intersecting circles. Each circle is defined by your answers to the following questions:

1. What you can be the BEST in the world at?

2. What you are deeply passionate about?

3. What drives your economic engine?( what are the key factors to your business' financial success?)

The key is that you focus on the common denominators in ALL three circles.

Disciplined Action

Culture of Discipline

Consistency and Reliability are important drives of client satisfaction. They can only be done within a system of standards. Great practices develop a framework with boundaries that are clear and known by all. Individuals then are given freedom to work within that system – holding themselves responsible for their actions. According to Jim Collins the goal is to "manage the system, not the people."

Technology Accelerators

Do you have a practice management software system? Is it being used to its greatest ability or is it a glorified invoice machine? The final concept of great practices is to use technology to increase your momentum. What tools or features does your software offer that you can put to greater use? Whether it's integrating lab reports or emailing clients, how can you use technology to accelerate your climb to greatness?