I think we all can agree that 2020 has been the year from hell. We will not regret saying goodbye! Even though it has been rough we have learned some lessons that will help us be better moving forward.
One of my favorite Winnie the Pooh quotes is, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you know.” This year forced us to manifest this quote as we maneuvered our way through crisis after crisis and change on top of change. But manage and change we did!
Practices created curbside care, they stepped up the technology in their practice by adding text messaging apps like #VitusVet. It was like we were fast tracked into super user mode in a few months.
We split teams, masked up, sprayed our world with disinfectant and our hands with sanitizer. We creatively found toilet paper, paper towels and PPE for our teams. Supply shortages, sketchy shipment dates and impatient clients did not stop us from caring for our patients. Vet Med Rocked!
But there is always an end and with the beginning of a COVID vaccine launch our hope is that we can safely resume our lives again in a few months. The funny thing about a crisis is we feel them deeply when we are swimming in the deep end against the tide but a few years from now we will look back and only remember the major things – not the daily reality of what it was like.
I like history. I believe if you do not study and learn from history you are doomed to repeat it. In each major event in the past some positive things have come into being and made the lives of people better.
What can we take from 2020 that makes us stronger, better, faster or smarter?
First we learned to adapt. Even in the middle of a lot of major changes we learned new skills and new tech. We revamped our sanitation plans for our teams and protected each other. Going forward we can keep ourselves healthier by remembering to stay home when we are sick and wash our hands and keep them off our face. Covid may train us to not get as many common colds or flu.
Then we learned to say “NO”. Demand for care soared and teams tried to accommodate – at first. Then as they saw that humans (even superhero vet teams) have limitations no matter the demand and they started setting boundaries. This is healthy. Rude clients were dismissed at greater rates than ever. Managers determined to protect their teams who were working to the max against people who didn’t appreciate them. This is healthy too. Let’s keep this going into the new year and beyond.
We also said “YES”. To new ways of working like drop offs and curbside. We used mobile devices to have face to face socially distanced discussions with our clients. We can keep doing this! All practices have clients who are busy and do not want to wait in our office for care. They also have disabled or elderly clients who struggle to come to the office. Our new protocols can expand our service offerings to those clients who would enjoy them, even when we return to in office care.
In honor of the end of 2020 and the hope of 2021 I am going to start a series of blogs on business basics and how we can use 2021 to revamp our mission, revisit our core values and set a strategic plan for our future. The beginning of a new year is always exciting. It is a time to reflect on what was, to relish the present moment and to look forward to building a future that is all we desire. I hope you have a wonderful and joy filled holiday season and that you will join me in 2021 with a determination to build a new and better normal.
Finally, I want to give a LOUD SHOUT OUT! To all the managers who sacrificed time with family, sleep, routine, down time, vacations, weekends and nights to keep all the balls in the air. You have rescheduled staff, filled in every position but DVM, cried in frustration at every changing rules and shouted with joy when something worked as planned. You have taken the abuse of clients and on occasion your staff. Through it all you persevered and I hope that your employer and your staff understands and appreciates just a small increment of what it took to make it through this year. You are valuable and amazing. I personally thank you!
As always – if you need help with your communication or practice culture please reach out.