With the holiday period ending soon, it’s a good opportunity to look forward to the next few months. You may even be thinking “Is the grass greener on the other side?”, wondering how business is at a neighbouring practice – do they have more customers, is their workload lower, do they have a higher turnover? Once you start thinking it can be difficult to let go.
How do you handle this?
Tip 1. Take a walk
You probably already know most of veterinarians and practice owners in the area, so why not drop them a message and suggest meeting up. You might be surprised what you can learn from each other by being open, and you’ll probably find lots in common, and that they also face their own challenges. You may also be able to discuss ideas for mutual benefit.
However, don’t fall into the trap of reproducing what they do – because what is successful with them is no guarantee that this will work for you. Instead, discover what you are good at and specialise, look to strengthen, support and respect each other, and above all: inspire and learn from each other.
Tip 2. Expand your knowledge
Visiting a tradeshow or taking some training is an excellent way to gain insight. Knowledge is not only the result of what you learn at a formal training course, but it is also the contact moments on a trade show floor or in training breaks that are an excellent opportunity to network and learn. Talk to colleagues about their practice – which may be in another part of the country. Discover the challenges that a small village or a big city practice has compared to yours. For example, how do they deal with decreasing vaccination levels or customer experiences?
Tip 3. Greener grass? Take care of your lawn!
If you have you followed the first two tips above and still think the grass is greener elsewhere, then it may be time to realise that you need to focus on your own grass. Without help or more drastic measures, from yourself or the entire team, your lawn will never become greener. Just like a real lawn, you sometimes have to provide your team with extra nutrients.
- Change your workflow
For example, do walk-in consultations still work for your practice, or is the unpredictability of these create unease with your staff? After all, you never know what’s going to come through the door – if anything. You may find that removing these walk-in sessions means that the quality of patient care improves because your staff can prepare for clients better. Productivity and job satisfaction returns, because your staff know better where they stand.
- Get an expert
Ask for outside help – learn how you can work more efficiently. You may initially think that is not for you, but remember when you spoke to that colleague from a neighbouring practice during a trade show (see Tip 2)? It worked out positively for them. Get out of your comfort zone and give it a try.
Did you do everything? Followed the tips and still feel that neighbourhood practices are more successful? That the happiness there is higher and the grass with the neighbours actually is greener? Then stop it. Once you are in a negative spiral, it’s difficult to get out. In the end, you chose the profession because you want to do this with passion. If you are not comfortable with yourself and the work happiness is completely gone, it is very difficult to find it again. But remember to look at yourself instead of focusing on others – hopefully, you’ve already bounced back to tip 1 above. Because to be honest, even though the grass may indeed be greener elsewhere, you will always remember the practice where you are working now.