Awesome attracts Awesome

April 13, 2019

Exploit the positive in people

Exploit generally has a negative connotation. However, according to Merriam-Webster, it means to make productive use of: UTILIZE!1

We’re not talking just about the skill level. After all, with the proper training, competent individuals can be produced. This may be through a formal schooling process, “on-the-job” training, or a combination of the two.

What we are talking about is exploiting people for the culture you want to create.

When a culture is well defined and lived, it’s easier to identify people who buy in verses those that don’t. It’s about assigning people appropriate positions and finding alignment of all involved.2

Every clinic will have its own quirks and uniqueness. Just because someone doesn’t fit into a certain culture, doesn’t make him/her a poor veterinarian, technician, manager, etc.  It may just be a personality clash. 

So why would you not want to weed out people who aren’t a good fit? In addition, it may not be the whole person who needs weeding. Maybe it’s just a behavior or two. 

It’s important to recognize and reward the attitudes that are in alignment with your culture. It’s equally important to have consequences for behaviors that you want to discourage.magnet

The ultimate goal is to have the positive behaviors become contagious so that there is alignment with the culture across the clinic. You want to bring out the awesome as this, in turn, will attract more awesome.

What if the positive culture you want isn’t well defined?

Hang on, it may be a long road.  While it’s tempting to keep people because you’re short-staffed, in the long run, it’s not leading to a positive culture if they aren’t on board.

However, before you start cutting left and right, it’s good to look at why these people aren’t fitting into the culture. Maybe it’s because you’re used to “fixing” animals (making them better) and you just can’t do that with people. Perhaps evaluating how your culture is defined is step one.3

Or maybe it’s because they really don’t fit no matter what. And that’s OK! Let them thrive in another environment.

It’s starts (but doesn’t end) with the hiring.

If you want 10’s, you’ll need to hire 8’s and 9’s and train them up! Watch Mark Opperman’s three-minute video to see what this means.4

He mentions that one path is to actively seek to replace your “weakest links” until you develop the team you want. While this takes time and energy, in the end, it’s worth is to work with a team of tens!

This means you need to be strategic about your hiring strategy and finding people who fit your culture.5

  • Skill set √
  • Attitude √

This is a constant process that never ends. It’s difficult (but sometimes necessary) to let people go.  As mentioned before, let them thrive in another environment – they might be a 6 for you, but a 10 somewhere else. Sometimes good people will quit (for a variety of reasons). The big picture is that you need to see the road and stay on it.

Once you have them, you have to keep them! 

It’s a good problem to have! You have raised the bar and hired for an awesome culture. The result:  skilled people are now seeking YOU for employment. They want to be in a place that has an awesome attitude.

Now you have to actively manage them and take care of them to maintain this atmosphere.

It’s about finding what works for each individual and exploiting it!  

It’s about “managing the insanity” that never has an end point.

This takes a bunch of energy. In the end, it’s worth it to have a stellar team that is highly utilized with high job satisfaction and low turnover. After all, you want a positive culture that will attract awesome people. And they are out there! Go find them.

3 members of CATALYST VetPCHere’s to Attracting Awesome!


1 Merriam-Webster Definition of Exploit.
2. Podcast: What is Company Culture?
3 Defining Your Veterinary Team Culture.
4   Tools – Episode 5 – Concept of 10’s. Veterinary Management Consultation. Mark Opperman, CVPM. January 3, 2017.  
5 Hiring for Your Culture.