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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”.


Are you and INSPIRATIONAL leader?

Mike JeffHere is a picture of Jeff Thoren and Michael co-presenting last week at a Veterinary Conference in Kansas City. The talk was called: “A Tale of Two leaders – Escaping the Grip of 20th Century Leadership”.

The concept of LEADERSHIP is dramatically changing. Leadership development needs to focus on the world as it is today and in the future, not how it was in the past.

The 20th Century Leader is caught in the old “Command and Control, Carrot/Stick Style of leadership. This leader makes all of the decisions, struggles to get people to do what he/she wants them to do, blames others when things go wrong, is burdened by the pressure to “do it all”, is physically and emotionally exhausted and is experiencing only mediocre results  in the practice.

On the other hand, the “enlightened” 21st Century Leader  aligns people around a shared purpose and vision, uses collective input and a shared process for decision making, plays to his/her strengths, values staff members, is energized, optimistic and is experience great business results.

Where do you see yourself as a leader in your practice? How committed are you to evolving as a leader?

If you’re committed to evolving…..start with one small change, implement that and move onto the next step.

Some examples of small changes are:

  • Listen – Listening is a powerful gift you can give to your colleagues, your employees, your clients
  • Focus on the “Why”. Why are we in business? What is our purpose?
  • Show Compassion
  • Check your EGO at the door
  • Focus on Personal and Professional Growth for you and your team
  • Take one small step and at time and watch what happens to your practice!

How to RELAX, RECHARGE, RETHINK your Practice

We ALL need time to RELAX and RECHARGE. Whenever I’m starting to feel the signs of being in overwhelm, I’m reminded of the need to refill my well. I was once told, many years ago, that if my well was half empty, my energy is low and I can’t be my best to anyone or anything around me. I first need to refill the well and then I can give my all in my life, my work and our practice.

Vacation is the best way for me to RECHARGE. Taking a vacation to a place that nourishes me is my method of quieting my mind, relaxing, recharging and rethinking. If a two week vacation isn’t an option now try a weekend get-a-way or even a day. Pick a spot that allows you to quiet your mind and escape the busyness of the day.

When you arrive at that quiet spot, here are a few questions to ask yourself?

  • Am I happy with how I’m going to spend my day each morning when I wake up?
  • Is my practice all that I would like it to be?
  • How would I like the last quarter of 2015 to be different?
  • What action am I taking to make this happen?

If you and/or your leadership team would like to RELAX, RETHINK AND RECHARGE……check out my Strategic Planning VIP Day Retreat. This is a wonderful way to get away from the day to day and get real clarity about the future of your Practice.