Up Off the Concrete

By Randy Hall

As we are all making small steps to get back to a normal way of life, many of us are still facing enormous challenges. These may be challenges around how to maintain a profitable, yet safe practice, how to deal with changing processes, how to best organize your team, how to keep employees safe and healthy, or how to provide exceptional care to your patients even while maintaining social distancing.

Working during these difficult times brought back memories of work I did with a non-profit organization a few years back. Through this organization, I met a young man who had been living on the streets for quite a while. As he was telling me a little about himself, he exclaimed “I’m a chef, that’s my profession.” I was struck by the fact that he didn’t say, “I want to be a chef” or “I’m going to be a chef.” He said, “I am a chef.” I had only known this man for a few minutes but already knew that he had developed a mindset that would help him climb out of even the toughest situation.

As he talked a little further, he described how he had gotten up off the concrete every morning to attend a culinary program he had recently graduated from. He wasn’t kidding about the concrete. He was homeless and literally had been sleeping on the sidewalk. Somewhere, this man had found a connection to something he wanted. It was strong enough that he used it to change his life.

In that short conversation, he revealed a secret to high performing people. That secret is commitment. That is, the strong inner desire to get something done or to make something happen. Veterinary practices that create commitment within their teams can accomplish nearly anything, even during the most difficult or bleak times.

Transforming your practice into one where your team is committed, not merely compliant, is the best thing you can do to make it successful. There’s no strategy, plan, or restructuring that will matter as much as commitment. This doesn’t mean you don’t need a good strategy as you move into the future…you do. But without the commitment of your people, poor execution of any plan is nearly guaranteed.