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Making Your Veterinary Team Great Again Part 3: Trust is an essential ingredient

Posted in Management @ Aug 22nd 2019 - By Dr Diederik Gelderman, Turbo Charge Your Practice
Make Your Veterinary Team Great Part 3 Trust Is An Essential Ingredient 2

Having the right TEAM and culture is essential to the success of your veterinary practice. 

This is an edited transcript of the video you'll find at the bottom of this post

We’re now right in the middle of talking about how to build great teams and how to make your existing team great. 

So far we've learned that: 

  • Great teams beat great players, 
  • Great teams beat great leaders, and 
  • Great teams beat great competitors every single time. 

We also discussed that the most sabotaging influence to team cohesion and performance is ego, and lime-light hogging, that ‘superstar’ mentality.

Now we need to identify the two most important ingredients for building high-performance teams. We'll cover the first one in this post and the second one in the next blog post.

The first of the essential ingredients for building high performance teams is TRUST.

There’s a brilliant book by a gentleman called Patrick Lencioni, and the book is ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.’ 

The number one dysfunction of the team in Patrick’s book is the absence of trust.

Interestingly, in a great team, you don’t need to like each other, which may seem counter intuitive. You do however need to be able to work cooperatively, you need to be able to work well together, and most importantly, you have to be able to trust each other. 

If you don’t have trust, then you will not have the cohesion and solidarity that’s necessary to create a great team. Trust is essential to create the cohesion that's essential for high performance.

What do you do to create trust? 

I’m a believer that you always need to give before you receive. And, you need to give what you want before you receive what you want. 

If and when you trust your individual team members, then in turn you will receive trust from them. 

I receive so many emails and I see so many Facebook posts all with similar questions to the one I recently received from a practice owner: “My practice manager works from home. I don’t know what’s she’s doing. She’s a good friend of mine, but I need to have her here, working here so I can see what’s she’s doing. I don’t know how many hours she’s doing at home, and if she's billing me for the right hours…” 

And my response is always the same: "If you don’t trust her, you shouldn’t have hired her." 

Realistically that’s what it’s all about. If you’ve trusted someone enough to hire them, then trust them while they’re working with you and don’t micro-manage them. 

And if you don’t trust them, get rid of them, very simple. 

You need to trust them first. Once you trust them, then the way to show that you trust them is to offer transparency, to be honest, to be vulnerable, and to be integral. 

An interesting thing that I have discovered as a leader is that when you trust people, their IQ suddenly seems to double.

As soon as you give them responsibility and show them that you trust them, they seem to be much, much more intelligent. They take it and run with it. 

How can you demonstrate to your team that you trust them?

I'd like you to have a think and brainstorm ways that you can demonstrate to your team that you trust them. If you’re not sure where  to start, here are a few ideas... 

1. Open the kimono 

In other words, open your books up for them to see. Share the good information about your books, share the bad information about your books, and share the ugly side of your financial statement. Become far more transparent with how information is shared and communicate it. 

This is counter intuitive for many veterinary practice owners. They don't want to share financial infoirmation because they don’t want their employees knowing how much money they take home, etc. 

If this is you, then let me share some interesting information. The bulk of your team will believe that you take home a wage of $250,000 from your practice. And I know most of you don’t do that, and they also believe that your practice profit is half a million dollars or more. That’s their belief. 

When you open the kimono and show them that you’re not hiding a gold Ferrari in your garage, that you don’t have a million-dollar yacht on the water side; that's a really big thing to share. 

Their belief at the moment is that you earn much more than most of you actually do. So sharing the practice figures is very valuable and quite confronting to them because it’ll reset their beliefs in what you actually earn.

2. Marionette No More. Drop the puppet strings

Give other people more responsibility and decision-making power without micro-managing and expecting them to constantly ask for your approval. It’ll really lighten your work load and make your life much easier as well. 

Remember that the only way that people learn is by failing, so the idea is to help them fail fast and the idea is to help them fail often. The more quickly they fail, the more often they fail, the more quickly they’re going to get on track and on speed to help your practice. 

Let them learn to lead.

3. Expose your chest. 

There’s a guy called Waldo Waldman who has some teachings about leadership, and one of these is ‘Expose your chest to daggers’. This means you should your vulnerability first before they do. 

In your veterinary team, be more open and honest and disclose your own fears, feelings, failures, shortcomings. Remember this; people relate more to your struggles than they relate to your success. 

I was recently listening to an interview that had been put together by Elon Musk and it involved a roundtable discussion with the CEO of Apple and another half-dozen leaders discussing who they hire, what type of person they hire and why. 

They all said that if they get a perfect resume, outlining how a person has always done everything brilliantly well, then they won't hire that person. Instead, they're looking for a flawed resume - a resume in which someone has shown that they’ve failed, they’ve stuffed up, and how they have overcome that failure and become successful. 

They want two or three failures on that resume to show that that person has enough resilience to get up and ‘fight’ again. 

So, people relate and resonate more with your failures and your fears than with your successes.

What do you fear? 

When do you feel scared? 

What have you tried to do and what have you failed at? 

When does your confidence waiver? 

Share those sorts of things with your team and you will witness a whole change in the team dynamic. You’ll find a whole series of veils lifted. 

4. Cut out the cancer. 

Cancer in your team is gossip, negative talk, the meeting after the meeting and separate alliances or factions within the team. 

First of all; never do those things yourself, and secondly, stop others whenever they do them. 

Cancer cannot be tolerated, it has to be killed, and it has to be surgically cut out before it becomes malignant and widespread. Left too long, it’s going to overtake the whole body, and it’s going to overtake your whole team. Do not accept gossip, remove it.

5. Be worthy. 

To be trusted, you first need to be trustworthy. Demonstrate that you are by doing something simple like doing what you say you’re going to do and do it by when you say you’re going to do it. 

Be where you’re going to be when you say you’re going to be there. 

Deliver on your promises. 

And, be the example you want everyone else to follow. I think Mahatma Gandhi said it best when he said, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” 

This is a simple example, Be the change that you want to see in your practice; may be a good paraphrase of Mahatma’s.

These all sound simple, easy and pretty straight forward, right? Yet so many people seem to screw them up.

So, I’d like you to be one of the few to get it right. Create trust in your practice, watch the trust follow, watch your teamwork build, and your practice really go places.

Missed the previous blog posts in the series? You can click here to read:

Make Your Veterinary Team Great Part 1: Do you want a team of eagles or ducks?

Make Your Veterinary Team Great Again Part 2: You can't rely on 'Superstars'

Next Week... Make Your Veterinary Team Great Part 4: The 2nd essential ingredient for your team

Click here to watch the 12 minute Video...

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 12m we have grown the practice gross fee turnover by 53.1% and trebled it's net take home profit. 


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