See you at #AVMA2021

#AVMA2021 Minneapolis

Learn more about the Annual Convention 

Registration available Spring 2021

CATALYST VetPC Workshop & Lectures

AVMA Convention August 2nd 8:00 – 11:00

Navigating Client Communications – Defusing Anxious Clients & Embracing Empathy

  1.  Critically Evaluate the Delivery of the Client Experience; 5 Steps to 5 Stars
  2. Empathy or Sympathy or Sorry; Oh, MY!
  3. Difficult Client Communications & Resolutions

There is no “Quick Fix” to solving the heightened emotions and anger your veterinary clients are experiencing in their lives and in collaborating with your team in the delivery of veterinary medicine. Managers and teams want the rudeness to stop, now! You can fire your clients, but that is merely a Band-Aid.

We will deliver solutions evaluating the client experience, exploring empathy to connect (sympathy disconnecting), and ways to resolve conflict. Your team may be too eager to say “Sorry,” or unable to defuse or create calm in the face of uncertainty. There are, however, solutions to fully embrace and implement.

Participants will engage in small group activities and interactive break-out sessions. Registrants will complete a short, anonymous survey and be given a few pre-work homework assignments. Attendees will receive a workbook and relevant, interactive team exercises to utilize upon returning to their hospital or organization.

Part 1 – Critically Evaluate the Delivery of the Client Experience; 5 Steps to 5 Stars

Your veterinary clients have options (a lot of options!) in choosing a veterinary practice. How does your team deliver an extraordinary client experience, attracting and retaining clients? The client experience begins with a welcoming greeting, consistent messaging, and the expression of empathy. Attendees will receive a tool to critically evaluate the client experience outlining innovative improvements enhancing the client experience.

Part 2 – Empathy or Sympathy or Sorry; Oh, MY! Words matter! Veterinary team members are placed in tough circumstances all the time! What do the clients need from the team? Most often empathy. Sometimes sympathy. Or even an apology. Together we will define empathy and sympathy and how to deliver a heartfelt apology. In my experience, veterinary team members over-use “Sorry.” What do you think?

Part 3 – Client Anxiety, Conflict & Resolutions
Dealing with upset and emotionally charged clients (or even team members) is never an ideal situation. How do you deescalate and handle the situation? Together we will discuss challenges and benefits in conflict (yes, there are BENEFITS!). Avoidance of conflict doesn’t work! There is a framework for calmer conversations. Attendees will receive resources to improve conflict resolution skills.
Bringing it all together, creating an extraordinary client experience and expressing empathy. Practice makes progress! Establishing goals to improve client communications serves the client, patient and team. Seems like a Win/Win/Win!  Navigating anxiety and conflict to empathy may be the formula your team needs to find their footing to manage emotionally charged situations. Attendees will define a few top priorities in difficult client communications following a SMART Goal outline. Trust in the process! You’ve GOT THIS!


AVMA Convention August 2nd 1:00 – 5:00

5 Functions of an Innovative, Purpose-Driven Veterinary Team

  1. Building Upon the Foundation of Trust
  2. Intent in Committing to Courageous Conversations
  3. Embracing Innovation – Small & BIG- Doubling Down on Accountability
  4. Measuring for Improvements – KPIs in Veterinary Team Wellbeing

You and your team have experienced and overcome a lot of added turmoil during the past year. Now, let’s set our sights on the 5 Functions of cultivating an Innovative, Purpose-Driven Veterinary Team. We will further elaborate on the concepts outlined in the award-winning book 5 Dysfunctions of a Team.

Veterinary team members can easily identify with the dysfunctions. We will be expanding upon the SOLUTIONS. Attendees will evaluate current values, vision, and mission statements, defining purpose and guiding principles. Establish ways to measure and improve upon trust, the foundation of all successful organizations. Be shown Key Performance Indicators in veterinary team wellbeing and given tools for tracking. Plus, embrace innovation, small and BIG, to build accountability.

  1. Building Upon the Foundation of Trust

At the foundation of every successful veterinary team is an environment built on trust. A trusting, well-trained team can manage the day-to-day events in a way that leads to positive outcomes for the veterinary practice, the individual team members, the clients and ultimately the patients.

When was the last time you and your team discussed trust? You want it. Your team feeds on it. And your clients return because they have it. But when have you ever talked about it-Trust? Trust defines healthy workplaces. It elevates, empowers, engages, offers profitability and prosperity. How can you measure what feels to be intangible and improve upon it? Attendees will find out!

Members of trusting teams…

  • Admit weaknesses and mistakes
  • Ask for help
  • Look forward to meetings and other opportunities to work as a group
  1. Intent in Committing to Courageous Conversations

 We know veterinary team members are hungry for tools that will help them bring tough questions and concerns to their managers and veterinarians. Avoiding difficult conversations (because of conflict aversion) does not work. Team members learning productive ways to initiate potentially difficult conversations with co-workers and management may experience higher job satisfaction. Be bold, be bright and BE courageous!

Have you and your team created a safe work environment in which to freely exchange ideas, bring forth grievances and propel the team and clients into healthy, productive conversations? “If we don’t trust one another, then we aren’t going to engage in open, constructive, ideological conflict. And we’ll just continue to preserve a sense of artificial harmony,” Patrick Lencioni’s character, Kathryn, explains to her team when describing the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. What artificial harmony are you and your team harboring?

Teams that engage in courageous conversations (conflict)…

  • Put critical topics on the table for discussion
  • Have lively, interesting meetings
  • Extract and exploit the ideas of all team members
  • Solve real problems quickly
  1. Embracing Innovation – Small & BIG- Doubling Down on Accountability

Veterinary teams may not feel they are innovative because of their perception advancing the delivery of veterinary care. Innovation comes in small and BIG opportunities. Fully defining the opportunity or goal, the purpose in achievement, and celebrating the final product will lead to greater accountability.

There is a great deal of irony when a veterinary team member points out the inconsistency in accountability to a plethora of misguided intentions. We will consider a few of the top cognitive biases possibly distorting the team’s level of accountability. Let’s test the assumptions destroying accountability.?

A team that holds one another accountable…

  • Fully defines the goal or innovation and standard of excellence
  • Identifies potential problems quickly by questioning one another’s approaches without hesitation
  • Establishes respect among team members who are held to the same high standards
  • Avoids excessive bureaucracy around performance management and corrective action
  1. Measuring for Improvements – KPIs in Veterinary Team Wellbeing

Let’s look at Veterinary Key Performance Indicators-KPI-(everyone in the room shudders-some for delight, others in fear!). The usual KPIs include client retention, average transactions, and profit. To move your KPIs into the 21st Century, include veterinary team turnover, absenteeism, team engagement and wellbeing.

If the dysfunction is Inattention to Results—focusing on personal success, status and ego before team success-then the opposite is establishing the team, defining what is a success and blowing those parameters out of the water! Define KPI’s in veterinary team wellbeing.

A team that focuses on collective results…

  • Retains achievement-oriented employees
  • Enjoys success and suffers failure acutely
  • Avoids distractions