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What – who? – are your most valuable assets?

What is the most valuable asset in your pharmacy? If you were to look at your balance sheet, you might see tens of thousands of dollars in drugs and merchandise. You might suggest that your building, if owned, has a huge amount of value as an asset. You might have some technology with significant value in the marketplace. You have your customer files. Those have value for sure. Some pharmacies might even have a strong following on social media or a significant impact in the community that would be considered assets. 

While you are welcome to add other things to this list of assets, I will tell you that the most valuable asset you have is not on this particular list.

Your most valuable asset is your TEAM! In my career, I have dispensed in over two dozen pharmacies. As such, I have had the privilege of working with many different teams. I can tell you that I did not always look at my team as an asset. In some cases, I actually looked at my team as a liability. 

There were many instances where I would observe my team interact with patients and customers in ways that would make me cringe. Hindsight is always 20:20. I can see clearly now that at that time I was squarely in the role of a manager and had no clue about leadership. My primary concern was with the production of the prescriptions and serving our patients in a timely manner. You, dear reader, are so much more sophisticated than I was then.

I knew I needed to correct some behaviours of my team, but because I did not see them as my most valuable asset, I did not invest properly in my team. 

Maybe this resonates with you. Maybe you have people on your team you recognize that you need to lead to a better place.

When I was part of the group building a national immunization program, the question came up about training our interns. For a little bit of context, I can tell you that a significant number of the interns we had did not stay with the company after graduating pharmacy school. This factored into the decision about training the interns.  The decision was not to train them. Stated another way, the decision was made not to invest in them. So, how surprising is it that the interns moved on to another opportunity?

I had the privilege several years ago of attending training from the Disney Institute. During this training, one of the topics touched upon was this concept of your team being your most valuable asset and the need to lead them to higher levels of customer service and satisfaction. During the training, the question arose: “What if we train them and they leave?” Valid question, right? And then this question was posed in response, “What if you don’t train them and they stay?”

I can tell you the philosophy around training interns for immunization changed.

I share this story with you in light of our topic last week – the greener grass. To have greener grass you must water it. Marry that thought with your team being your most valuable asset and we will quickly find an area to make sure we water.

Take a moment to think about how you have been taking care of your team. This is an interesting point to ponder. And it doesn’t matter if you are the lead pharmacist on the team or the newest technician to join the team. We all need to water the team. Because how we take care of the team will become how your team takes care of your customers and patients. 

Perhaps you have taken a couple minutes and realize that you need you need to invest in your team. A great place you can start today is recognizing each member for something being done well. Everyone is scared of being caught doing something wrong.  A great place to start is to recognize your team when they are doing something right!

But what if you feel you are investing in your team already? Maybe, just maybe, you feel like you need to invest in them more. 

I was once told that no matter how much you are recognizing and encouraging your team, you must do more. In fact, the challenge was to double it, and then add some more. There is a very simple test to identify someone in need of encouragement. The simple test is if they are breathing! In a pandemic world, I don’t know that it is even possible to over-encourage anyone. So let me encourage you (yes, you!) today. You who have taken a couple minutes to improve yourself by reading this blogpost. You who have the ability and capability to encourage others. You who make a difference every day. I encourage you to encourage your team today and every day!

Until next time -

Jesse McCullough PharmD

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