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How to Improve Communication with my Team

IMG_1012Tom submitted this month’s “Solutions For Success” question

This month’s question:

I’m struggling with how to improve my communication with my team. I seem to take one step forward and two back!

Mike and Dean’s Answer:

Hello Tom,

Great question! You should know that “communication” is the top challenge in any Veterinary Practice. How do I communicate effectively with my team, with my clients, stakeholders, etc.

Here are 3 simple tips to focus on that will help you manage step into a more effective place of communicating with your team

  1. Use Powerful Words – Be careful about the words you choose. They can lift people up and empower them or, instantly, bring them down. Two of the most important words in a Veterinary Practice are “THANK YOU”. Start making it a regular practice to say Thank You.
  2. Listen – Listening is a powerful gift you can give to another person. Most people listen with the intent to reply. Start listening with the intent to understand. This is called “Empathic” listening. It’s a deep, seeking to understand form of listening. No judgement….just seek to understand.
  3. Compassionate Communication – Show them that you care. When communicating be fully present, non-judgmental, authentic. There is a great quote by Zig Ziglar “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.


How to Create an “Engaged” Employee Culture

Doctors with thumbs upJack Welch, the former CEO of GE said this about culture, “There are only three measurements that tell you everything you need to know about your business’s overall performance: employee engagement, client satisfaction and cash flow. It goes without saying that no business, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”

I was on a call recently with Christine Comaford, founder of the SmartTribes Institute. Her talk was on “Creating the Culture of Your Dreams: The neuroscience of performance and engagement”.  She described the 4 keys to getting the most of employee engagement and creating what she calls a Smart Tribe:

#1 – Growth – The brain needs to be inspired and it must have the opportunity to have insights. Employees need to know that there is a path for their development. Take the time to develop an IDP (Individual Development Plan) for each employee. Find out where they see themselves in 3-5 years. What skill sets would they need to develop to get there?

#2 – Appreciation – Appreciate everything your employees do for the practice. One easy step you can take as a Business Owner is to simply say Thank You to your employees at the end of every day

#3 – Measurements – Weekly status, dashboards, accountability structures, pre and post employee surveys. Identify how you will measure employee engagement.

#4 – Engagement – This should always be closely tied to the Practice’s Mission, Vision and Core Values. One of my client’s core values are Respect, Integrity, Harmony, Teamwork…… At each monthly team meeting they ask for examples of employees who have demonstrated our values this month.