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Great staff don’t grow on trees and what to do about it

While we all dream of this fairly-tale orchard-type succession plan, the current environment and low inventory of perfect people simply do not allow it. You know people-development should be your highest priority, you just don’t know where to start. The answer: build step ladders.

Imagine an orchard of perfectly orchestrated trees that grow nutritious and great tasting fruit in perfect succession. One row at a time, the next blooming just as the previous begins to show itself bare. This continues across acres of land, enough to feed a vast neighbourhood for decades. There is perfectly synchronized growth, offering seamless fruit to cover dry spells, neighbourhood illness and community celebrations.

Does this sound like your pharmacy staff?

If the answer is no then your patients, your staff and your business could be left seriously vulnerable at some point in the near future. 

While we all dream of this fairly-tale orchard-type succession plan, the current environment and low inventory of perfect people simply do not allow it. You know people-development should be your highest priority, you just don’t know where to start. The answer: build step ladders.

Build it

Build step ladders

Looking at the overall big picture skill progression within your dispensary, draft a plan that isolates the steps in between ‘start’ and ‘goal’ for someone without previous pharmacy experience. Then plot the names of your current staff along the various steps and honestly self-evaluate their next steps. Then move the players up the ladder, adapting with each small-scale increment. Gather buy-in by probing about interest and how next steps are linked to a stronger team, job satisfaction and compensation. Then support by coaching them not to where they are now, put to where they will be in 1 year. When things get tough, commit to the plan.

step ladder

Alternatively, you can use my automation kit as a step ladder…it’s a weekly and monthly fillable PDF done-for-you with formatting. I use it for many types of steps ladders including task logs and to do lists but it serves the staff development purpose if you need it captured as a time continuum. 

Once staff names are plotted, conversations have occurred and the plan is in motion, decide what gaps you have with open positions, potential leaves or retirements and recruit externally while you cross-train internally. 

It is your job to grow an orchard. Growing it will be an ongoing challenge and it will never be stable. No one else will give it to you. It will not fall into your lap. It’s growing season, what are you waiting for?

step ladder 2

Thinking deeper

In my Labcoat to Leader course, you’ll hear me describe how the various staff can be plotted on the same grid (interest/motivation versus skill/knowledge) to help decide what step to put them on and where they are going (see below). 

Layered leadership steps

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