This Week's Blog
Even Good Ideas Can Die Old and Untried
If you've been to the movies lately and sat through the previews of coming attractions, you've likely noticed the same themes repeating themselves with different faces, locales, and special effects. It is rare to find a really unique concept, as the “tried and true” seems safer.
The same happens in our veterinary practices. Maintaining the status quo is easier, and it’s much harder to come up with a good idea, champion it into reality, and take the risk that it might not have been such a good idea after all. The result is that some good ideas get overused (like the movie themes above) and others die in the early stages, even though it might take years to pronounce them dead.
Have you or your team made suggestions or raised ideas in the past that still linger but have not been fully explored? Maybe it’s time to dust them off and make some decisions. Consider one of these actions for each idea:
• Take the risk and try it. If it doesn't work, at least you’ll know. Agree up front to review the results at a specific date so you can celebrate your success, make modifications, or declare it a failure.
• Assign someone to explore it further and see if it’s even feasible, given the practice’s workload and financial resources. (Don’t forget to agree on a deadline for a follow up report.) Then if the recommendation is to go forward, ask that person to champion the idea into implementation.
• Conclude that the idea is just another “movie of the same theme” and not worth exploring, especially if it consumes resources that could be devoted to a better idea.
• Admit that it was brilliant back when it first came up, but not so sparkling now. Even good ideas can go stale and need to disappear. This can be hard to recognize and admit, but look for clues like eye rolls or deep sighs when the topic comes up. It’s better to give up on these oldies and focus on today’s problems and future issues.
Encourage everyone in your practice to think creatively, since a steady stream of new ideas makes it easier to give up on the old ones. Never stifle a new idea without understanding it and giving the presenter kudos for being creative. Everyone in your practice should be thinking about ways to improve client service, save time, solve internal bottlenecks, and plan for the future. Are they?