Inside Or Out For Veterinary Management?
Veterinary management can be handled one of two ways.
When it comes to management within the veterinary profession, I’ve traditionally only seen two ways of doing things: either taking a person already IN veterinary medicine and teaching them the management, OR taking someone OUTSIDE of veterinary medicine and teaching them about our profession.
Naturally, I am biased. I believe that having experience within the profession has given me personally and professionally an edge up on knowing how to manage our kind of teams; however, my business credentials required me to gain education outside of the profession to be able to understand the business of business. I’ve typically believed that we should “grow our own” management by starting with people who are here to be in veterinary medicine.
Yet, who’s to say that someone who started out on a business path has any less right, or option, to come into veterinary medicine to experience a new environment. Many business folks that have “come over” admit that they always wanted to work with animals, in an animal environment if you will, and they are tickled pink to take the business knowledge they have and move into the animal-care community. They bring to the profession something those of us “home grown” lack, specifically the business education and experience. In a smaller practice, this business knowledge may not be as critical, and at the same time, the small practice might not be able to afford someone from the business world (yes, no surprise, we pay less than the business world in general!).
But the environment of veterinary medicine is changing. We have big hospitals now, larger specialty and emergency practices, and all sorts of combinations. We have corporations that are buying veterinary practices from practice owners, who are happy to either retire or work on just the veterinary medicine while leaving the business up to, well, the business people. These corporations hire business folks from outside the profession to help elevate the business of the veterinary business. This isn’t such a bad thing.
Now, I strongly feel that the business person has an edge up on business, but if they are in a direct position managing the veterinary staff, they have some dues to pay…the team won’t respect them until they feel that this business person knows THEM and THEIR world. I believe that as long as there is willingness to be a mingling of talents and perspectives, either way can be effective.
As the veterinary scene morphs and changes, there will be those of us who are trying to go with the flow, so to speak, and learn more about the business of veterinary medicine in an effort to elevate our own careers and the practices with whom we work. It’s all good; I’m officially a fan of both home-grown and business-based management in veterinary medicine.