By Cait Mellor
In a recent survey of some of the most admirable veterinary practice owners in the game, there was an undeniable theme of “teamwork makes the dream work”.
Makes TOTAL sense!
The first step- acting on your goals to become a practice owner.
The next- finding the right people that believe in your goal, have your back, and are like-minded in veterinary practice and ethics.
Don’t get us wrong; that’s a tall order to fill. While daunting, it’s completely necessary to a practice owner’s success and peace of mind.
“One myth that I would like to debunk about ownership is that you don’t have to do it all by yourself. If you build a good team, you can spend your time doing what is most important to you.”
-Dr. Katherine Anderson of Companion Animal Hospital of Norridge
Dr. Anderson sheds some light on an incredibly valid point. As practice owners, you simply cannot do everything yourself, even though at times it may feel like you have to. If it feels like you have to, it’s possible you haven’t found your tribe. You need a team who you feel comfortable delegating to, or the weight of every responsibility is going to fall on you, and that’s more than anyone can carry. Your tribe prevents you from burn out. They are there to lighten the load, and you shouldn’t have any guilt about that!
“Make sure the people around you (whether that is staff or other owners) understand what kind of leader you are and your specific boundaries.”
-Dr. Ashley Bourgeois of Animal Dermatology Clinic Portland
Although you’re a team, you are still the leader of the team. The Beyonce of Destiny’s Child, if you will. You run the show, and that comes with a certain set of boundaries. You need your team to support your mission, but also know that you are ultimately in control of that mission, and your wishes should be respected. Of course, as a leader, there’s a balance that needs to be found between being inclusive of your team’s ideas, but also being in control of the bottom line.
Being upfront with your boundaries from the very beginning is KEY. If your team knows what to expect, there won’t be friction, and you can all work towards your mission successfully.
“We have to pay our teams well and improve their standard of living. Traditional definitions of wealth where the practice owner is rolling in the dough and everyone else is in service to that is not sustainable nor ethical.”
-Dr. April Linson of Woodland Hills Pet Clinic
Gaining the respect of your tribe involves taking care of them as individual people. Their well being is not only important because we’re all human and should want that for each other, it’s important to the mission of your practice. As a practice owner, understanding what your team needs from YOU in order to succeed is just as important as what they’re bringing to the table. Not only that, but the feeling of mutual respect is priceless and will help you crush your goals.
“Make sure you have a solid group of people you can lean back on and remind you of your purpose.”
-Dr Melanie Bowden of Vacation Vet, LLC
No one knows ups and downs like a practice owner does. It’s like an unpredictable roller coaster ride of emotions, triumphs, defeats, successes, frustrations, surprises…
You get the idea. No two days are the same!
When the going gets tough, your tribe is there. Even as the leader, you are human, and you will have moments when you struggle. That’s why it’s SO important to create a culture where you can have each other’s backs. When your focus becomes foggy, your tribe restores clarity, and vice versa.
“Veterinary medicine is a calling, and if it’s your calling, be open and honest with your clients & team, commit to continually learning, and find your tribe for celebrating the wins and for support when you lose. Build & hold on tight to those relationships that nurture you—both personally and professionally.”
– Dr. April Linson
Finding the tribe is the first difficult step. The next is nurturing those relationships enough that they’re long-lasting. Continual growth is a never-ending job. Growing with your team will keep your relationship from going stale, so don’t be afraid to step outside of the box and challenge yourself and your team. The more you learn, the more you grow, the more invested you become, and the more you can learn to rely on one another in such a good way.
Find your tribe. Hold them tight. Together, change the world one animal at a time!