2 questions for scary conflicts

November 6, 2018
Brendan Howard, Business Channel Director

Brendan Howard oversees veterinary business, practice management and life-balance content for dvm360.com, dvm360 magazine, Firstline and Vetted, and plans the Practice Management track at all three Fetch dvm360 conferences.Brendan has proudly served under the Veterinary Economics and dvm360 banners for more than 10 years. Before that, he worked as a journalist, writer and editor at Entrepreneur magazine and a top filmed entertainment magazine in Southern California. Brendan received a Masters in English Literature from University of California, Riverside, in 1999.

After you get a complaint, but before you make a decision as a veterinary practice owner or manager about employee discipline or big process changes, this kennel-attendant-turned-practice-owner told conference-goers to ask themselves and others two important questions.

Jenn Galvin (Photo courtesy of Uncharted)It seems a lot of people in veterinary practice hate conflict, says Jenn Galvin, owner and administrator of Advanced Animal Care in Fort Mohave, Arizona. But she shared a concise yet passionate tip with attendees from the Uncharted veterinary community at the Get Sh*t Done conference in Greenville, North Carolina, in October.

Conflict is necessary, and it can be good-provided you 1) get the whole story about a problematic situation from everyone involved and 2) head into potential contentious conversations with a proactive plan.

Galvin says she does this with two questions: Ask everyone concerned, "What happened?" before you make decisions about missed or unfinished tasks, team conflict or client complaints. And, second, ask yourself heading into these conversations: "What positive stuff can I leave this conversation with?"

Galvin told conference goers not to head into conflict without a plan, but also not to tell themselves stories or make decisions without the whole story.