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Most of us I think accept that getting the most out of your team of people is the single biggest thing that makes a difference to the success of your practice. If they are all pursuing their own agendas and personal development goals that can work if your people all happen to be putting their hearts and souls into activities that operate in parallel to the direction your business needs to run in to meet your overall aims but if they are not aligned you will see anarchy or at best, stagnation.

Avoiding the anarchy is something you can do with lots of face-to-face interaction, mentoring, coaching and tuition but if you want stuff to just happen or at least happen with the least amount of hand-holding, talking and management input from you, the best way to do that is if everyone understands the little bit of the jigsaw they are also supposed to fill: Getting where you need to be is about everyone pulling together to create that overall big picture.

Being able to encapsulate all the things you want to do in your practice in words is great but in the end you'’re still going to have to measure something. In business people talk of KPIs or key performance indicators and sometimes we do the same in veterinary practice… often those numbers don'’t have anything much to do with people or practice performance…. Historically it was just the stuff that your software system finds easy to measure so we measured it.

When an accountant measures the tangible results of a team of people or even an individual person we tend to do that in sales or revenue terms and usually the cost allocations in terms of time. Average transaction values can tell you something but location or the mix of services and products can make some people look good and demotivate others. If you manage to compare apples with apples though that’'s a trigger not just for you to look to see how people are doing, but also gives an indication of where other members of staff can turn to ask for help in improving their own results. The key is to pick things that measure genuine performance that'’s aligned to your overall practice success.

Big picture stuff doesn’t motivate everybody and it might be certain activities or CPD that help to get that day-to-day, week-to-week improvement in performance. But if you know whatever the motivator is, if you know what cpd costs, know what equipment costs and how much revenue it generates, if you know which areas make the most difference as well as who generates the most value you can learn from that and so can your team.

These days we have more options. Technology gives us more choices in terms of how we carve up the numbers to look at people and how they perform, and present it in a way that’'s accessible to us. You can choose measures that are relevant to them but also to an activity or just a certain focus that gives you the best chance of aligning them to the overall direction and keeping them all on track.

Get all that right then your people will know how their own efforts contribute to the overall whole…, they will want to align their individual goals with the goals of the practice, they will be empowered and able to get on with the job and you in turn can watch what you need to watch from a distance and add the value that only you can add.

You can learn this stuff the hard way…as I did when I found myself with an under-performing practice that for the good of everyone has to be turned around. Or maybe you could make your life easier by learning from my mistakes and subsequent successes? To succeed we sorted our own problem by getting some external help that helped us see the problems in our business, make the right decisions and turn the practice round. Frankly, we have not looked back: Not only are we healthily in the black but our group of independent practices has gone on to expand in number and size.

I’'m happy to share what I did and how with you, so if you’'d like to know more, please email me at nick.park@oundlevets.co.uk