When you first started out in the veterinary industry, you probably had a boundless supply of energy. You also probably had a lot more time on your hands than you do now. As practices grow, however, that energy naturally gets eaten up and that extra time becomes a thing of the past. In order to keep your practice chugging full speed ahead, it’s imperative that you rely on other team members to help lighten the load. If this is easier said than done try following these three delegation tips.
Often times what holds us back from effectively delegating tasks is that we fear important things will either be done wrong or will fall through the cracks altogether. It’s the giving up of control that many of us ultimately struggle with. To overcome this, it can be helpful to list out your tasks and order them by priority. Once you’ve listed out everything that needs to be accomplished, go through each item and ask yourself the following:
How much time would I save if I delegated this task?
Is the task in question something that would only take a few moments to complete or is it something that will kill 30 minutes or more of your time? Remember that your time is money, so the more time-consuming the task, the higher it should be prioritized from a delegation standpoint.
How often does the task need to be performed?
Is it a one-off project or something that needs to be completed on a regular basis? When it comes to delegation, the tasks that occur most frequently should rank higher on the list. Once you’ve delegated the frequent tasks, move on to the one-offs if necessary.
What will happen if the person I delegate to fails?
This is an important question to consider because it will help you determine which items on your to-do list must be delegated carefully (or not delegated at all). For instance, if someone runs a report incorrectly, it’s not that big of a deal. If payroll isn’t processed on time, however, you’ll have a much bigger problem on your hands. Consider the worst-case scenario for each task and delegate accordingly.
Determine which delegation method to use.
The method you use to delegate tasks to your team members may vary based on the task at hand. Here are three different options you can choose from.
Empower your employees.
When you empower your staff to resolve common issues within the practice without the need to escalate or obtain permission, you will spend much less time putting out fires and have more time to focus on driving your business forward. To do this effectively, you should start by creating guidelines so team members will know which tasks are within their power to troubleshoot and resolve. Don’t forget to provide ongoing feedback and constructive coaching.
Delegate to a specific person or team.
Certain teams or individuals within your practice will naturally be better at performing certain tasks. If you’re not comfortable empowering everyone, try delegating to those who you trust to handle the tasks at hand most effectively. Be sure to keep track of who is handling what, check on progress from time to time and encourage accountability.
Develop new opportunities for advancement.
If you’re noticing that your list of tasks to delegate never seems to shrink even after you’ve passed out several tasks to your team members, it may be time to reexamine your current practice structure. Could there be room to promote someone or possibly even create a new role? Modifying your practice’s structure in order to redistribute tasks and responsibilities might be your best option.
Set yourself up for success.
However you choose to delegate, there are certain keys to success that can help keep everything running smoothly. Those four things are as follows:
- Be strategic about what you delegate and to whom
- Establish mutual understanding and set expectations
- Confirm understanding and obtain commitment
- Promote open, ongoing communication and accountability
When it comes to running a successful veterinary practice, it’s all about team work and the ability to delegate effectively. The tips above should help ensure that everyone knows their role, does their part and works together toward the shared goal of driving the practice forward in a positive, profitable way.
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