Talents and competencies of a long-term associate

Article

Owners in Well-Managed Practices look for the same talents and competencies in a long-term associate as those they seek in an associate who will become an owner. The difference lies in the focus of those talents and competencies.

By Denise L. Tumblin, CPA

Owners in Well-Managed Practices look for the same talents and competencies in a long-term associate as those they seek in an associate who will become an owner. The difference lies in the focus of those talents and competencies.

For example, every doctor must be an organized, focused thinker. A long-term associate is mindful of how to use the staff and equipment to deliver the best medicine. An owner, on the other hand, takes a more global view of delivering the best medicine and considers all resources available—staff, equipment, vendors, new technology and information, and client feedback.

Another required competency is a sense of purpose. A long-term associate focuses on providing the highest level of patient care and serving clients, while an owner focuses on the broader picture of what the practice can become and the contribution to patients, clients, and the community.

In terms of people development, long-term associates focus more on the everyday needs of getting the job done. An owner also focuses on that, plus fitting all the pieces together and keeping the staff motivated.

Here's a list of the talents and competencies that owners seek in selecting long-term associates, developed by Gerald Prince, Ed.D., president of People Performance Results in Columbus, Ohio. Use it as is, or adapt it to suit your needs.

Thinking

• Organized and focused

• Work is accurate and clear

• Generates innovative ideas

• Considers broader impact of current decisions

• Optimistic 

Conduct

• Builds and nurtures positive working relationships with clients

• Demonstrates respect for clients and coworkers

• Demonstrates and promotes active listening skills

• Models professionalism

• Demonstrates a strong work ethic

• Is a reliable co-worker

• Acts ethically 

Striving

• Demonstrates continuous learning and improvement of skills and knowledge

• Initiates investigation and research

• Takes pride in his or her accomplishments and those of his or her co-workers

• Wants to make a difference

• Works independently

Influencing

• Seeks the best recommendation for each patient

• Influences clients and staff members in positive ways

• Is an exemplary representative of the profession

• Contributes overall to the practice's success 

The following attributes are more innate and therefore more difficult to train. These behavioral categories, in particular, tend to be a reflection of internal attitudes and beliefs that won't be changed easily. 

Sense of purpose

• Has a clear vision of a successful future

• Focuses on contributing to the practice

• Shows passion for work

• Influences others to contribute 

People development

• Creates a climate of trust and collaboration

• Considers staff members' strengths and interests when assigning work

• Views each person as unique and adjusts to meet people's needs

• Mentors clients and staff members to assume responsibility for animals and work 

Relationships

• Shows genuine caring for staff members and clients

• Demonstrates consistent behaviors that promote lasting relationships

• Builds and nurtures positive working relationships with clients and co-workers

• Collaborates well with others

• Seeks solutions that benefit all involved

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