Participation is NOT a Four-Letter Word

January 8, 2018

Strategic Planning benefits veterinary hospitals, too!

Week 2 = The discussion continues with who should participate on the planning committee and the initial work that can be done prior to meeting.

In last week’s blog, “Strategizing is Not a Four-Letter Word,” we covered why you should do a strategic plan and the benefits of one.

As mentioned, small businesses that have a defined mission statement and a strategic plan are 10-12% more successful than those that don’t bother.

– – Strategic Planning, Bain & Company, 2015

Remember the Alice in Wonderland Quote?

This week begins with who to include.Planning is for everyone

I believe everyone on the team needs to be involved, in some way!

With today’s technology at our fingertips, we can invite team members to view informative videos, read engaging articles, participate in polls and offer their ideas relatively easily!

If your veterinary team is smaller, then I encourage everyone to collaborate. If your practice has over 20 team members, you may consider choosing team members from each department. In addition, pick individuals so that a diversity of age, gender, and experience is represented. Finally, the input from the owner(s) is a must as it’s their business!

In my experience, veterinary hospitals are often hindered by the lack of vision and leadership from the owner(s). If management feels it is time to create a strategic plan and the veterinary owner(s) are not engaged and supportive of the process, chances are the plan will fail.

Tip for larger groups

You may have seen that when large groups gather, a few people dominate the conversation. To encourage more engagement, break your team into smaller groups with three to five people. If you have individuals that always work together, ask that they work with others in order to offer a greater pool of creative thought. Make sure each group takes notes and identifies a spokesperson to share the smaller group’s ideas.

Planning before the Planning

There are many ways to “prime the creative pump,” thus taking less time for the actual meeting. As mentioned above, even people who aren’t’ going to sit on the planning committee can still be involved in an efficient manner. Allow me to point you in the right direction!

As an example, prior to the Strategic Planning Session, invite everyone on the team to complete an anonymous online survey (Constant Contact, Survey Monkey, etc.).

Potential survey questions could include:

  • What is your role on the team?
  • How long have you been a team member?

Where we currently are:

  • How does the local community perceive the veterinary hospital?
  • How does the team engage with the clients?
  • How does the team engage with each other?

Where we want to be:

  • Then basically ask the same questions listed above.

These are just SUGGESTIONS! Create your own set of questions that are pertinent to your situation and veterinary hospital. You may wish to seek input regarding inventory control, job satisfaction, delivery of patient care, client services and increasing revenue.

Consider ranking questions: “On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest), how do you rank your job satisfaction?” You want the survey to be comprehensive, yet as short as possible.

Provide other support material to the team so they understand what is involved with strategic planning. And encourage everyone to send their ideas to a point person.

Once everyone has been invited to participate, determine who will actively engage in the planning session. By having the best diversity and overall representation of the team, this will create the ideal situation for engaged conversations and development of ideas that work for all.

Tune in next week for the final installment of what to cover during a strategic planning meeting and recognizing that it ultimately impacts profitability.

Yours in Planning for Profit!

Rebecca Rose, CVT


Further Reading
How CATALYST VetPC can help with your strategic planning.
7 Benefits of Strategic Planning, Strategic Management Resources, Helen Mitchell, 2006.
Strategic Planning, Bain & Company, June 10th, 2015.
Select your Strategic Planning Team, Eric Olson.