Under-buy or over-buy: What's your style?


In her session on self-awareness at Fetch dvm360 in San Diego, Betsy Charles, DVM, MA, suggests a book wed never heard of. Heres why she thinks its an important read for self-awareness and your understanding of veterinary clients motivations and thinking in the exam room and once they leave.

Whatever your buying style, you can adjust it and its connection to client thinking to become a better, more balanced, more self-aware leader. (MarekPhotoDesign.com/stock.adobe.com)A good leader must possess dozens of skills, but it all starts with two, said Betsy Charles, DVM, MA, executive director of the Veterinary Leadership Institute, in a session on self-awareness and self-management at Fetch dvm360 in San Diego in December.

In her session “Self-awareness: The key to being well,” Dr. Charles first explored self-awareness with the definition, “the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions,” from emotional intelligence researchers John Mayer, PhD, and Peter Salovey, PhD.

‘You don't wanna be a leader, doesn't mean you don't know the way'

That line from Lucy Dacus' song “The Shell” reminds us that even if you don't own a practice or manage direct reports, that doesn't mean that you can't help set a tone, that others in your hospital won't look to you for guidance, and that you aren't a model for culture, communication and consistency in your veterinary hospital. Everyone is a leader sometimes.

If you've always wondered if you could use a little more self-awareness of your emotions and thinking, would like a few more tools to help your self-management when you're tired, stressed or overwhelmed, or are seeking a pathway to become a more positive part of your practice's growth and success, the events from the Veterinary Leadership Institute are for you. Explore them in detail at vli.org.

“Self-awareness is the ability to accurately perceive your own emotions and stay aware of them as they happen,” said Dr. Charles, “and if you don't know yourself well, you won't have [a positive] influence on others.”

One book Dr. Charles recommends for this kind of personal exploration is Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits-to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin for its menu of self-awareness tools.

“If it helps me understand myself better,” Dr. Charles said of the book's more personal and less-research driven writing, “I'm not as concerned about the p-value.”

In particular, Dr. Charles encouraged audience members to think about the concept of “over-buyers” and “under-buyers,” figure out which they are (take the quick quiz here) and then apply the thinking to client interactions. The distinction between the groups is in the name:

> Over-buyers buy too much, keep too much and need to pause and think about buying something before they do.

> Under-buyers stress because they wind up out of things they need when they need them, so advice for them is to buy when they're ready.

You might be dealing with an over-buyer trying to wait to think about a purchase before making it, or you might be dealing with an under-buyer always hesitating and trying to put off even purchases they know are essential. Remembering that clients could fall into one of those two camps may help you offer the right advice at the right time when you hear objections or see stress on the faces of pet owners in the exam room.

Reflecting like this is where education really lies, says Dr. Charles.

"I used to think we learn from experience," she says. "What I've learned through my studies in education is what really helps is reflecting on that experience."


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