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If it's a struggle to get your ideas accepted by your veterinary team...Try Nemawashi

Posted in Management @ May 26th 2022 - By Dr Diederik Gelderman, Practice Owner, Mentor & Coach
If Its A Struggle To Get Your Ideas Accepted By Your Veterinary Team

As veterinary practice owners, managers and leaders, we're always looking to influence our teams to implement new ideas, strategies, and processes.

Sometimes this is a lot HARDER to do than it needs to be. 

Today we'll share how to make this much EASIER...

Meetings are idea-killers

Group meetings are idea-killers, as you know from experience. People are resistant to change and experts at finding flaws. And criticism is contagious, so even your brilliant ideas get shot down and when that happens, those ideas don't get a second chance. 

However, there’s a process that can multiply your chance of success. It’s rooted in the Japanese concept of nemawashi: cultivating the roots.

The secret to success? Nemawashi...cultivating or working around the roots.

"Nemawashi is a Japanese term which literally translated means ‘work around the roots’. It is a consensus building technique that aims at removing obstacles to proposal approval by seeking an informal audience with the decision makers before a formal meeting is held.

The concept is not about lobbying as many people think of it because with lobbying there is a hint of unprofessional conduct involved. Lobbying would mean doing all that you can to get you project approved even if it means politics and bribing people. In Nemawashi, people use informal meetings to seek approval so that the process can take less time and to get everyone on the same page." (Source: Nemawashi Model for Decision Making)

The key to nemawashi is the meetings before the meeting.

If nemawashi is new to you, it might sound like a lot of time and effort however, the goal is to make nemawashi a smart investment: only practice it for ideas you really care about, and only pre-meet with key members of the group: the powerful (high-status roles or decision-makers), the potential skeptics, and the potential allies. 

Cultivating the roots to grow your idea successfully

At the pre-meetings..... 

1. Share the essence but not the details

During the pre-meetings with the key poeple, share the essence, but not all the details of your idea. You’re not trying to persuade them, rather you’re seeking their advice, so allow them to influence you.

You don’t need to agree with everything they say, but understanding their concerns will help you to improve your pitch to the group. As they advise you, they will also be influencing themselves as giving you advice makes them feel like part of your team. 

2. Ask the powerful for advice on your pitch

When you meet with the powerful, ask their advice about the pitch. They have insights on politics and will be more supportive of a pitch they advised you on. 

3. Ask the skeptics for advice of how to address concerns

When you meet with the skeptics, ask advice about how to address their concerns. They know things you don’t, they’ll be more open-minded after offering advice, and if they can’t think of a solution, at least they won’t criticize you for not finding one.

4. Ask your allies for support during the meeting

When you meet with your allies, ask them to speak up in support of your great idea, and to do so early on in the meeting. They may be glad to do so but you still need to ask.

Pitching your idea at the meeting

When you pitch your great idea to the group...

1. Include suggesations from pre-meetings

Include some suggestions from the pre-meetings even if you had some of these ideas already as letting others feel responsible will help them to feel more invested. (This is why you didn’t tell them all the details of your plan.)

2. Share key concerns surfaced by your nemawashi

These concerns will have less power when you bring them up, rather than when someone else does. By demonstrating that you’re well-prepared and reasonable, you'll be more likely to disarm opponents by speaking the concerns in their minds, and you'll also get to frame the concern. If you don’t have a solution, maybe there’s a reason you don’t think the issue a big deal. Or maybe you can invite the group to help you figure it out later. 

An unconscious piece of social proof that comes from nemawashi

People tend to nod in agreement, but they also nod in recognition.

When you pitch your idea to the group, those hearing it for the first time will be looking around to see how others react. Those you already met with will be unconsciously nodding because they recognize your idea. But their head nods will look like agreement, giving the impression that the group is already on board. This is only a small thing, but kind of cool, isn’t it? 

Put this strategy to work in your next team meeting.

May the power of nemawashi help you bring your great ideas to life.

Think you might need more help?

If you would like to hear more ideas like this, or would like to develop your practice and yourself personally, then you might be interested in signing up to join the online Veterinary Business Academy.

Or you might prefer to talk to me about one on one mentoring - email me here Diederik Gelderman

About Diederik

On graduation I purchased a Veterinary clinic in Maitland, NSW and sold it in July 2009. At the time of purchase, it was a run down one person clinic with about a 90% mixed and 10% small animal component. The business grew well, so that at one stage there were 4 branches and 8 Veterinarians.  At the time of sale there were 5 Veterinarians, 16 support staff functioning out of a purpose built ‘A’ class Hospital with one branch.  In 2004 the practice won the Pfizer/AVA Practice of Excellence Award as well as coming 3rd in the Fujitsu Customer Service Awards. 

At this stage (and even slightly before), I started co-presenting at trainings and workshops and in 2007 I started developing and hosting my own workshops. In July 2009 I sold my practice so as to be able to concentrate fully on my coaching, training, speaking and workshop business – and to be able to move to Exeter (NSW) to be with my partner. I missed clinical practice, so in May 2018 I purchased a veterinary practice with the aim of building it up by providing a highly customer service friendly veterinary practice alternative to the local community. In 12months we grew the practice gross fee turnover by 53.1% and trebled it's net take home profit. 


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