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One small step toward Open Book Management
You dont have to divulge every nickel and dime to be open. Start by sharing one area you want to see grow and invite your team to problem solve with you.
The theory goes that employees privy to budgeting, revenue, profits, expenses and the cost of goods feel more vested in the overall performance of the veterinary practice. And that results in reduced costs and increased productivity. So are you ready for Open Book Management? No? OK, what about dipping your toe in the water ...
Before you start handing out your computer passwords or, to the other extreme, screaming, “You'll have to pry the books from my cold dead hands!,” let's start with a simple first step.
Lori Ramig, MBA, a hospital administrator at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Franklin, Tennessee, and a member of the not-for-profit association Veterinary Specialty Practice Alliance, suggests you target a profit center or two and use past performance to determine areas of decline or desired growth. Share those results with your team and engage them in brainstorming solutions to discourage declines and encourage increases.
For example, have well-pet visits dropped? Why do your team members think it's happened? What can they do as individuals to change it? What changes in practice protocols or client outreach could help?
Practice management consultant Pam Stevenson, CVPM, with the veterinary practice consulting firm VetResults in Durham, North Carolina, says better communication like this is always good, Open Book or not.
“Not only can this kind of engagement bring to light innovative ideas for the entire practice,” Stevenson says, “but it can give team members the chance to openly share ongoing issues or ideas they've been keeping to themselves.”
Once the ideas are flowing, you can consider introducing a system for incentive-based pay or additional time off to reward employees for their innovation and improved performance.
“By knowing more about where the practice's money is going and how decisions are made,” Stevenson says, “your team members become your best allies in improving the service and success of your practice.”
Editor's note: Ready to delve deeper into the practice of, and systems to support, Open Book management in today's veterinary practice? Learn from the man who literally wrote the book on it.