2019: The Year to Problem Solve

2019: The Year to Problem Solve

Whether it’s your veterinary clients, team members or associate veterinarians, everyone is coming to you with their unique problems. This year, resolve to solve them, even when it takes a little innovation.
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Jan 02, 2019

Everyone's coming to you with their problems, some easier to solve than others. Don't ignore the more difficult problems ... innovate! (Kenishirotie/stock.adobe.com)Hello, readers. I hope 2019 is treating you well so far. In the early stages of this new year, we have a new opportunity to improve ourselves and our practices. Let’s commit to exceeding the expectations of those who depend on us.

Why do those in need seek us out?

Clients, employees and associates in our veterinary practices come to us because they have a need, spoken or unspoken, they want fulfilled. Sometimes we forget that not all of their needs are physical. Some needs are financial, such as employment or economic limitations, in the case of pet owners. Some may be even be emotional. Kindness and compassion can be in short supply these days. Whatever the need, success is dependent on, and should be measured by, our ability to meet those needs.

Innovate, create and solve

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Unless you're the lead dog, the scenery never changes.” Being the lead dog isn’t always achievable, but if you can’t be the lead dog, at the very least, associate yourself with a lead dog. Success in veterinary medicine is a constantly evolving goal and a continually rising bar. Some basic targets are what you would expect. Certainly, there has always been a focus on medical knowledge and skill, but expectation and demand have advanced so rapidly that knowledge and skill are no longer enough. If you’re going to meet the increasing expectations of customers, you need to anticipate their wants even before they know they want them. Much like diagnosing patient pain, we must realize that customers have unresolved pain, and if we’re going to respond to it, we must know the source.

Understand your customer’s pain

Clients and employees may not express the needs or wishes they want resolved. These unspoken needs often result in the pain of disappointment and frustration. Yet, how can we recognize what people want if they don’t tell us? To understand, or at least be aware of their pain, we must watch and listen. Some pains are obvious and can be responded to easily. Some are less apparent and require diagnostics. Be willing to ask questions. Your employees’ and customers’ gripes may be obvious and the solutions may be simple, but if they aren’t so simple, be willing to do the things other people won’t do. As Thomas Edison once said, “There’s a way to do it better … find it!”

Dr. Paul is the former executive director of the Companion Animal Parasite Council and a former president of the American Animal Hospital Association. He is currently the principal of MAGPIE Veterinary Consulting. He is retired from practice and lives in Anguilla, British West Indies.