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Working On Your Business Is More Important Than Working In Your Business

0 Comments Posted by Alyssa Noonan in Business Info, Leadership on Monday, December 23rd, 2013.

jimFirst in a Series of Veterinary Leadership Articles

To run a successful veterinary hospital and increase your growth annually, you need to start thinking and acting like a CEO and not an employee.

In working with veterinarians and other small business owners, I find that most professionals are consumed with day-to-day technical chores and neglect their leadership roles. Practice owners are trapped working in their business, grinding away and preoccupied with the next exam, medical treatment or emergency case. As a result, the most important job associated with practice ownership is usually neglected, or at the very best delegated to an office manager.

Because veterinarians are trained and feel most comfortable working in their technical roles, the strategic work of a leader remains undone.

The most successful veterinary practice owners are leaders and not technical workers. Few veterinarians understand and appreciate this distinction. They confuse busy-being-busy activity for accomplishment. Hard work is mistaken for intelligent work. Most veterinary practice owners have a technician’s addiction to detail work. Sadly, they work and think like employees instead of owners. They fail to grasp that running a business is strategic, entrepreneurial, visionary and requires strong leadership.


Six steps you can take to become a better leader.

As a leader, you need to be strategic, long-term focused and less technically oriented. If you don’t focus on your entire business, no one else will. Your growth will stall and your business will drift or run aground.

So how do you stop thinking and acting like an employee or technician? Here are six steps to help you become a better leader:

1. Change the metaphor in your head for what it means to be an owner. Think of yourself as a CEO instead of a worker bee. You are the head coach, not just a player. Successful owners that I know view themselves as the director, conductor, or captain. Regardless, choose a metaphor for what it means to be a leader.

2. To help with the mindset transformation, start referring to yourself as CEO. Add the title to your business card, stationary and brochure. Using the term CEO will force you to see your practice as an entity above and beyond yourself, as a separate and valuable asset that needs to be professionally managed. You are not the business and the business is not you. You need to spend time and energy building, improving and optimizing this asset. For example, focus on how to grow revenue, expand your competitive advantage and increase your value to your customers.

3. Schedule time to think and plan. You need to think deeply about important and strategic matters. Make time to get away from the day-to-day distractions and focus on long- and short-term planning and growth. Spend time alone and develop the big ideas to take your practice to the next level of performance.

4. On a daily basis, reserve the bulk of the day to tackle only your top three priorities. Selfishly guard your time and focus. Don’t allow your employees to disrupt your CEO-oriented priorities and actions with countless got-a-minute interruptions.

5. Think about CEO role models at large companies you admire. Study their philosophies, mindset and strategies. Periodically stop yourself and ask what they would do in a given situation.

6. Don’t confuse the job of your practice manager or administrator with your own role as CEO and leader. An office manager or administrator may run the day-to-day activities of your hospital; however, this person is not the leader and should never replace you as the business visionary.


Put time aside every day to work on your business.

It is essential that you adopt a mindset of optimization. As a CEO, you need to elevate your thinking and focus on getting more from your current resources and efforts.

Start asking yourself, “How can our practice get greater results from every action we take, every expenditure we make, or every relationship we develop?” Avoid status quo and embrace fully the philosophies that “good enough never is and we can always do better.”

Expand your mind and your leadership potential and your business and opportunities will expand exponentially. The more you grow as a leader, the more your business grows as a market leader. Think CEO, not employee. Think optimization, not status quo.

So start working on your business and not in your business.

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