Are You Wearing Too Many Hats at Your Practice?
By Robin Brogdon, MA
It’s probably a given that we each wear many hats during the course of a typical day at work. The question is: are you wearing the right hat at the right time? Chances are, you aren’t always. If you don’t know yourself what hat you should be wearing (or what job you should be doing) at any given time, will your team know how to approach you, what to expect from you, or even if you’ll be able to help?
As a Practicing Owner, you have at least two hats. You’re an owner and a veterinarian. If you own the practice jointly, you also have the hat of partner. And if you are a very small practice, you may also wear the hat for equipment procurement and maintenance, or medical director, or even recruiter. Starting to seem overwhelming?
Practice Managers can’t help but wear many hats; it’s the nature of the job. However, success depends on your ability to focus on one thing at a time and sequentially accomplish the necessary steps that lead to the achievement of larger goals. With all the demands on you and the reactive situations that require your attention, how do you juggle those hats?
If you are an Associate Veterinarian, Technician, Client Service Supervisor, or any number of other roles in our profession, you will also have many hats that you are expected to wear and wear well.
What’s the Solution?
Begin by creating an organizational chart. The purpose of an organizational chart is to help everyone know who does what. First, note the positions and specific roles required to operate the practice without assigning any names. Employees do best when they know whom to report to and who is responsible for what. You want to eliminate people running up against one another. Creating a structure with clearly defined roles, functions, scopes of authority and an ideal communication flow helps make sure your people are working together to accomplish everything the business must do.
Put the Organizational Chart to Work
After you create the organizational chart, it is important to develop job descriptions for ALL roles – including Practice Owner, Practice Partner, Veterinarian, Veterinary Specialists, and so on. My guess is that 99% of the practice owners reading this do not even have one job description, let alone multiple ones. To build a culture that thrives on a collaborative, team effort, everyone must be held accountable for satisfactory job performance. This means each role must be clearly defined with agreed-upon responsibilities and expectations. Then the organizational chart and the job descriptions need to be published and available for all team members.
Practice Managers, get busy writing those job descriptions for your Practice Owners, Partners, and Veterinarians. Once you do, help coach them as to which hat they should be wearing, and when. Everyone will benefit, and so will the practice.