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Do you have the 'Meetings from Hell' in your veterinary practice?

Posted in Management @ Nov 20th 2016 - By Judy Gillespie, Vetanswers
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Meetings , meetings, meetings - how successful are they in your veterinary practice?

Updated November 2016

On one hand I firmly believe you can’t have a successful veterinary business without regular staff meetings.  On the other, there is nothing worse than lengthy, unnecessary, boring meetings.

I recently read Live from CVC! Q & A: How long should veterinary team meetings last? and was reminded of a job in my previous life as a Human Resources Manager at a resort in Queensland.  For quite some time the General Manager insisted on having an Executive Manager’s meeting every Friday morning.  “Yes well that’s not so unusual” I hear you say, “it’s what every good Manager should be doing, isn’t it?”

Regular meetings are a necessity aren't they?

Well yes, except the meeting went anywhere from five to eight hours.. every ...single.. week, and not surprisingly, every single Friday I ended up with a thumping headache.  Why the headache?

  • There was NO agenda
  • No minutes from previous meeting
  • AND they were usually a complete waste of time

Anywhere from 5 to 8 hours were spent on a talk fest usually about golf.  Honestly – for most of the meeting we would listen to one of the Senior Execs talk about his long and interesting life playing (almost professional) golf and as the General Manager was a golfing fanatic and in awe of the other Manager's golfing prowess he was frequently the one encouraging the conversation.  One more thing... this occurred during the 90’s when smoking was all the go in the workplace so not only was my brain being poisoned by stories of golfing glory days, my body was being poisoned by second hand cigarette smoke. 

So how did I escape this private hell?

One day I sat down and added up the hourly rate of the eight senior executives in the meeting, I then multiplied the figure by five hours as well as eight hours.  Remembering it was nearly 20 years ago (I was very, very, young!) I worked out that each week, the Friday Gab Fests were costing the Resort anywhere between $900.00 and $1,400.00 – and achieving absolutely nothing!  I wish I had a camera to take a photo of the General Manager’s face when I  showed him those figures – ahh priceless! 

Ahhh...sweet success....

From then on, the meetings were reduced to one hour every Friday morning AND we started having an agenda AND minutes taken! But best of all?  There were no more interminable golfing stories!

To help you escape from your own 'Meetings from Hell' click here to visit the Vetanswers website 'Management Resource' section and scroll down to download:

  • Template 1: Team Meeting Agenda & Minutes (Word Document)

  • Template 2: Team Meeting Agenda (Word Document)

Then tell me in the comments section below about your own personal meeting hell.


Brenda Tassava @ Sep 10th 2013 11:31am
I love that you found a solution to your misery!!! Meetings are essential to solid team communication, but agenda, urgency and a goal in mind are essential or they are a giant waste of time and money.
Judy @ Sep 10th 2013 12:02pm
Thanks Brenda - it was a relief I can tell you! Now if there's no agenda to a meeting - I'm just not interested.

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