Category Archives: Career

17 powerful quotes that will make you an outstanding leader

Lead the wayWondering how to get out of a rut and inspire your organization to be great? These are quotes from successful leaders in many fields. They range from poets and proverbs to writers and warriors. There’s something here for everyone, no matter what your style.

 

 

  1. “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

  1. “As a leader, you’re probably not doing a good job unless your employees can do a good impression of you when you are not around.” Patrick Lencioni

 

  1. “You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.” Edwin Louis Cole

 

  1. “Better leaders create a story that inspires people. They do so by keeping things simple, expressing their most important core value, clarifying boundaries of responsibility and staying consistent.” Bruce Avollo and Fred Luthans

 

  1. “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” Doug Larson

 

  1. “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” George S. Patton

 

  1. “Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.” James A. Michener

 

  1. “A leader is a dealer in hope.” Napoleon Bonaparte

 

  1. “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

  1. “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” Emelia Earhart

 

  1. “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” Nelson Mandela

 

  1. “Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow.” Chinese Proverb

 

  1. “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” General Colin Powell

 

  1. “You don’t lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership.” Dwight Eisenhower

 

  1. “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

  1. “We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.” Whoopi Goldberg

 

  1. “I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars; I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.” Warren Buffet

What are your favorite quotes? Are they your private pleasure or do you post them to encourage your colleagues? Please share them with us.

And if you found these quotes got you thinking, please share the link with your staff.

 

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Be a better doctor with stuff you already own

If you’re a veterinarian, you’re in a bind.

How can you take great care of patients, educate staff, keep clients happy, grow your business, and still make money in this competitive market? Clients demand top quality pet care, but they want to save money. They also want their pet’s healthcare team to keep in close touch and to include them in planning. For their part animal health professionals want to provide care in a way that helps pets, satisfies clients, and pays the bills for the practice.

It’s tempting to think that buying the latest gadget will make your practice stand out and attract business. If you have a real need and know it will get used a lot, a specialized tool can give you bragging rights on your Facebook page. If not, that shiny new toy just takes up space.

Smart devices

But there’s a cheaper, easier option right in your pocket. Use the smart phones and tablets you already own to make money, save money, and provide better client service and pet healthcare. The beauty of this? You already know how to make them work. There’s no manual, no time lost to training.

Phones and tablets let you monitor your patients, fine tune care, and tap the commitment and skill of colleagues and clients to keep pets healthier at less cost. Good use of technology saves you time and lets you delegate conversations and client education to others.

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Check out these 17 ways to use your smart devices:

1. Track the progress of pet care at home, such as weight management, by having clients text you updates.

2. Use an app or your own checklist to help clients evaluate pain in their pet.

3. Use your smart phone to monitor vitals and illness. Devices like the PetPace smart collar http://petpace.com/ allow you to track and analyze data and to receive alerts minute by minute.

4. Encourage your clients to keep up with treatment by texting non-judgmental messages every few days. Make sure you provide a way for them to write you back. Conversation is key to cooperation.

5. Improve in-house education by using free web conferencing tools, like Google+ Hangout or Big Blue Button.

6. Use a medical calculation app to figure dosages.

7. Use your tablet to take notes for your electronic medical record or to check information on VIN (Veterinary Information Network) right in the exam room.

8. Use your tablet or digital camera to take pictures of pets, so their families can keep up to date. This is especially helpful when patients are hospitalized. A picture of their loved one resting comfortably or wagging its tail reassures families that your staff is kind as well as competent. You can also add those photographs to the pet’s medical record.

9. Make your tablet a tool to educate clients. For example, show clients how to give sub- cutaneous fluids to their cat by showing them a video on YouTube. That way you can watch it together and answer any questions they may have. You can also introduce them to websites you think have the most accurate information. You may even have a PowerPoint presentation of your own to share with them.

10. Use a storage site like Drop Box to share photographs, radiographs, and any other files among your computers.

11. Use your tablet’s “virtual desktop” to share radiographs (x-rays) with your clients, so they understand what’s wrong and what you plan to do about it. Especially for visual learners, a picture is worth 1000 words.

12. Use sound effects apps to test a pet’s reactions and to help desensitize them from the things they are afraid of. You can also use one sound to muffle other sounds from the waiting room that can disturb a nervous pet. For example, you can make your practice more cat-friendly by putting them in a room with sounds that block the noise of barking dogs.

13. Use the timers on your equipment to track how you spend your time. You may be surprised. Think about one part of your day, like meetings or data entry. How long does that activity actually take?

14. Have clients video record behavior that occurs at home but not in the office. How many times have you had a client say, “My dog had an episode at the dog park that looked like a seizure, but who knows?” Or, “I swear, she was limping this morning.” Now you can see what they see. Make sure they know that sending you a photo doesn’t take the place of an exam.

15. A variation on #14 is to have clients record behavior problems and their surroundings. For example, if a client complains her cat urinates outside the box, have her take pictures where every box is located. She might even video what the cat does in the box, such as perching on the sides. You may be able to tell at a glance that the box is too enclosed or that the cat is avoiding that kind of litter. Solving problem behaviors keeps pets from being surrendered to shelters.

16. Ask clients to video themselves doing health-related tasks, such as drawing up insulin and injecting their pet. You might also ask them to send you before-and-after pictures of injury healing, photos that can go right into your electronic medical record.

17. Use your brain and your tablet’s for what they do best. Let your smart device’s capacity remember those obscure, once-in-a-lifetime medical possibilities. Tap your people skills and professional experience to make the most of client time. Learn what they know, what their concerns are, and how they feel about what your recommendations.

How it works

Here’s a real-life example of how using everyday devices can save you time and make your clients happier. I used to work at a big veterinary teaching hospital in New York City. New Yorkers are smart and tough. They don’t just take your word for things. They want proof, and they demand service. A liberal visiting policy isn’t always enough. Some want to sit by the cage or call their doctor every two hours for an update.

When you think about it, it makes sense. When our human family is laid up, we get to spend hours at their bedside, holding their hand and asking questions of the staff. We can see for ourselves whether their room is clean and if the nurses are compassionate. With pets it’s different. Most veterinary clinics don’t have room for extra people to pull up a chair by a cage and hang out. Veterinary nurses can’t stop to explain what they are doing or answer phone calls.

Then the doctors got new mobile phones. With cameras. Not only could they email clients, they could send pictures of pets doing better. Clients were delighted, and doctors enjoyed spreading good news. And with emails doctors could document their client contact without having to write a separate report.

And that’s how smart devices allow veterinary teams to provide better pet care and client service in less time with less hassle.

Caution

For all the good that smart devices do, it’s important to set limits to their use. Give yourself tech time out. Don’t check your phone at dinner. Tell clients what hours it’s OK to message you and stick to it. And have an office phone or other system so calls go to the veterinarian on duty and don’t give away your personal number.

If you have trouble staying away from your smart devices, use apps that block emails during certain hours. Can’t let go of work? Practice meditation to learn how to stay in the present moment.

What are your favorite ways of using tablets and smart phones around the office? Let us know! Maybe you’ll see your tip in a future post.

Self-Care for People Who Do It All

Chronic stress and a perfectionist streak can destroy you. Over the long haul you can quit caring–Burn Out–or care so unrelentingly you bleed out emotionally–Compassion Fatigue (CF). With CF you can’t stop yourself from getting involved the problems of others, so to recharge, you overindulge in things that aren’t necessarily good for you, from sugar to shopping. When that doesn’t do the job, you try to keep your energy from leaking away by isolating yourself, not only from friends but from your own body. (For more information on CF, see my blog post, (You feel sooo exhausted. Do you have Compassion Fatigue?

Not only does Compassion Fatigue take a toll on your personal life, it can eviscerate your practice. People with CF feel no one can do as good a job as they do. They work long hours, snipe at others for not working enough, and prevent coworkers from developing new skills and ideas by insisting that their way is the best, and therefore only, way.The things you do to care for patients and their families that should build your practice wind up hurting it.

The good news is, even smart, Type A chocoholics can prevent or treat Compassion Fatigue with these six techniques.

Blog_2_pic1. Move around a little, preferably outdoors.

Research confirms that even mild exercise is good for your mood as well as well as your health. Regular exercise lessens the worry and the blues that come with setting impossible standards for yourself.Here’s what WebMD says: http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depressionBeing outside in nature for twenty minutes a day makes you feel more alive and energetic. What’s more, outdoors you get a dose of Vitamin D, which fights depression and enhances thinking. Check out this  study on nature and mood. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100603172219.htm Instead of another double espresso, take a walk around the block. Declare a five-minute dance party.

2. Make sure you sleep seven to eight hours a night.

Americans are sleep deprived. We need it to give our bodies break and to clear the cobwebs from our brains. If you handle your work stress by cruising the internet till the wee hours of the morning, you risk poor thinking, slow reaction time, and trouble learning.

 

3. Eat healthy food and take time to enjoy it.

You know those doughnuts aren’t good for you, but when you focus everywhere but on yourself, you may take the shortcut to energy and grab a hunk of fried dough smothered in chocolate to give you a boost. The sad part is, you probably won’t even enjoy it. The next time you get hungry, pick something with protein and fiber to sustain you. Then, and this is the hard part, sit down to eat. Before you take your first bite, stop and inhale deeply. How does your food smell? What color is it? Taking a few extra seconds to tune into your senses will not only make the meal more delicious, it will help you reconnect to the body you’ve been ignoring.

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4. Talk to your neighbors.

 

I know, I know, you’re an introvert who needs alone time to re-energize. The problem is, Compassion Fatigue exaggerates your need to escape. You forget how to interact, and the next thing you know, you can’t make conversation even with the ones you love. If that sounds familiar, start small. Greet the receptionist when you come in. Ask the kid bagging your groceries how his day is going. You’ll be surprised at how less alone in the world you feel.

5. Tap a source of strength and inspiration.

We all need a life outside work, and most people benefit from connecting to something that braces us in the bad times and expands our minds when we’re ready. For some this will be a spiritual practice. Others read poetry or keep journals. Simple meditation can put life in perspective and remind you that what is happening in this moment, no matter how important it seems, will pass

 

6. Work with a counselor.

If you’ve tried the first five techniques and find you still overcommit to work and undercommit to yourself, it’s time to get outside help. Since your situation isn’t new to the profession, many local VMAs and other animal health organizations have support systems in place for veterinarians, technicians, and others who face challenges in their work and personal lives. Veterinary Information Network(VIN.com) has online boards that focus on practice issues and a confidential one, Vets4Vets, for those that want a private channel to find help locally.When you choose a mental health professional, find one who deals with your kind of concerns, one that you connect to personally. If getting through CF were easy, you’d have done it. It’s time to have someone on your side. Ask a friend to recommend someone, check with your physician, call your clergyperson, or see what the community mental health center suggests. You wouldn’t ask your patient to suffer; why should you? Since no one can have all the good ideas, let’s share ours. What do you do restore yourself? What are you doing to avoid Compassion Fatigue?

 

 

 

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3 Secrets to Getting What You Want at Work

What do you want at work?

Who doesn’t want to be rewarded at work? We all want to use our skills and talents and be paid for it. What kind of “payment” we like depends on what we value. We need money to live on, and some people want put their hands on as much of it as possible. That’s what they value.

Once the bills are paid, other people care more about intangible things. What do you want more of? Time off? Freedom from micromanagement? How about picking new equipment for your department? Be clear about what you value, so you know what to aim for.

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Getting more of what you want is easier when your boss thinks highly of you. Employers are like other people. They worry about money,  how to make payroll in these days of economic anemia and increased competition. After that, what they value depends on their needs and personality.

How do you get what you want?

The first secret to becoming appreciated and rewarded at work is to figure out what management values. If you are lucky, the practice owner will tell you what’s important.Think about what questions they ask at job interviews. Pay attention at staff meetings and read the employee handbook. Well-run practices get everyone headed in the same direction by communicating their goals and values clearly.

In addition to what your organization says, gather your own information. If you aren’t used to thinking this way, other people’s desires seem mysterious. Actually you can tell a lot by observation.

Your boss may be highly organized but not good with people. She may have ideas to improve the practice but not enough hours to develop them all. Study the leaders. What do they talk about? Who gets the biggest bonus or the most interesting assignments? See not only what is rewarded but what might be rewarded if someone like you could do it.

Once you have a few ideas about what the leaders, especially your immediate boss, value, the second secret is to assess what you are good at. This is easier than it seems. When we have a gift or skill that is a part of us, we often can’t see it. We tend to remember what we work hard to learn and overlook what comes as second nature. Ask your friends how they see you. Think about what coworkers ask you to do. Their view of your strengths may surprise you, but in their feedback are the answers to the question, “What are you good at?”

The third secret to getting what you want at work is, notice what’s not being done and fill in the gap. Remember the boss who has great ideas but not enough time? Offer to take on a project that you’d be good at, especially if it will help the practice’s bottom line. For example, if you always have the latest gadget, volunteer to research cell phones for the office. When you present your research, show how following your recommendation will make work easier and more efficient, as well as save money over time. You may want to start small with a tip on how to use current equipment in a new way. If you can quote something your boss said or a line from the last office memo, so much the better. It shows you heard what was needed and stepped up. If you give your boss what she wants and needs, she’s likely to do the same for you. Time off, here you come!

Question: When were you successful at getting more of what you want at work? Tell us how you did it.

Stress

You feel sooo exhausted. Do you have compassion fatigue?

 

SPC_blog1Compassion Fatigue is a hot topic in veterinary medicine. Veterinarians and other staff wonder about it when they feel tired or depressed. They are surprised that after they work crazy hours, eat junk food, euthanize pets they remember as babies, get yelled at by clients and coworkers, and watch their income plummet from competition and a bad economy, they feel exhausted. No kidding!

Many others bleed energy because they are introverts in an extravert world. The veterinary field is full of smart folks who chose animal health over human health because they didn’t want to deal with patients who talk back. The most successful of them can imitate their talkative, outgoing colleagues but then they need to go home and not speak to anyone for the next four hours.

A few secretly hope they have developed some kind of syndrome, because it might confirm how much they care about animals. Besides, it gives them an excuse to tell everyone around them what they really think.

None of this is Compassion Fatigue.

Compassion Fatigue is actually a condition where people invest so much of themselves in taking care of others, that they drain out all their resources. Sufferers feel like a “Volunteer Atlas”. They carry the world on their shoulders because no one else will do it right. They may snap at their coworkers and family, try to avoid upsetting scenes, or start to cry more often.

They tend to isolate themselves, because no one can understand what they are going through. They may also try to restore themselves with methods that don’t help, such as overindulging in alcohol, sweets, shopping, or gambling. Ultimately they may even lose their profession and their family. People with Compassion Fatigue sense they are drowning, but they can’t climb out of the pool.

Sound familiar? Can you relate to these twelve people?

1. Joan has been very upset or tearful because of work stress.
2. Mary avoids TV, movies, newspapers that remind her of scary, upsetting events.
3. Bob mentally takes work home, because he can’t stop thinking about disturbing things he’s seen.
4. Alice has trouble sleeping and has bad dreams about work.
5. Natasha feels that she can’t manage, that her life is out of control.
6. Hank feels cut off from family, friends, and co-workers, or society in general.
7. Barbara is unable to stop giving to others, even though she is sinking herself.
8. John keeps his problems to himself.
9. Fred has given up activities that he enjoys.
10. Gretchen snaps at people.
11. Harry startles easily.
12. Ron and Hermione do more drinking, eating, smoking, sleep aids, shopping, gambling.

Most of you will answer yes to a couple of these from time to time. If you say yes to more than half, especially if you have felt this way for a while, you may also want to schedule sessions with a counselor who specializes in work stress.

The good news is that you can recover from Compassion Fatigue and even prevent it all together. There are many things you can do to take better care of yourself. Send an email for a list of self-care resources. And check out our next blog post for tips on how to find a better work-life balance.You will feel better emotionally and be much happier, and all of that will help you to be successful at work.