Andy Green spoke to delegates in the BSAVA Management session about the way to approach the creation of a management team in the practice.
He explained why trying to manage all on your own is a mistake. It's lonely at the top and the manager can feel very isolated. He pointed out that far too many managers and owners left to manage on their own work too hard, something which can in the end be very counterproductive.
'But we have always done it this way' is a phrase often heard when new suggestions are being made and sadly this often stops innovation and closes any opportunities for change.
For many owners their practice is their 'baby' and they are very protective of it. This can however result in a too narrow view of how the practice is managed, an open mind to alternatives and new perspectives is vital.
So what is in it for a lone owner or manger to make the change to having a management team? Andy provided delegates with some of the answers such as:
- Allowing owners to take on the roles that they really enjoy and do best
- Reduction of stress
- Much better time and energy allocation
- Increased efficiency
- Shared responsibility
- Enhanced delegation
- A happier life
There must also be a clear vision when it comes to recruiting people for the management team. Profiling is an important part of recruitment and Andy suggested that a good place to start was to profile yourself as the owner or lone manager and then recruit staff in such a way as to select a broad spectrum of abilities.
'Do not clone' was one of Andy's messages, but he also advised not to over promote existing members of staff, not to place square pegs in round holes and to definitely spread the search for new management team members wider than just the veterinary industry.
Once you have your team in place it is important to establish very clear ground rules, make areas of responsibility very clear and have a robust framework for reporting. Measuring the success of the team should be an ongoing process as should appraisals for all team members.
Teams have to have meetings but only those that matter and those that are held need to be run professionally with a proper structure. Finally, said Andy, ensure that the new managers receive the right ongoing training to help them increase their management skills so that there is constant improvement within the management team that you have set up.