But since then, he’s learned to lead from the front and let his employees run the practice.
“I trust the team because they all share the same vision to make sure the clients are happy, and the patients are well taken care of,” Dr. George said.
The mixed animal practice has now grown to nearly 30 employees. It “is a perfect example of a team that plays together and stays together,” said Dr. Peter Weinstein, president of Simple Solutions for Vets.
Dr. Weinstein facilitated the online session, “Leveraging the Veterinary Team: A Case Study of Team-Based Veterinary Healthcare” on October 24 at the 2023 AVMA Veterinary Business and Economic Forum. Members of the team shared their approach to navigating challenges and the daily actions they take to deliver as a high-performing team.
“As soon as a veterinarian can learn to delegate those things that are not doctor dependent, the sooner they are free to be doctors,” Dr. Weinstein said. “Truly leveraging the veterinary team means everyone is working to the top of their job description.”
Other than diagnosing, prescribing, and performing surgery, Kane takes on just about everything else, from IV catheters to blood draws to X-rays, so Dr. George can make his treatment plan and move on to the next patient, and Jenni George can focus on the big picture.
Lyn Guay explained that everyone at the clinic has a function and a role, and they aim to operate in harmony. Her position in client service focuses on ensuring efficiency. Understanding everyone’s job responsibilities is critical to knowing what goes into an appointment when it is scheduled.
Socializing outside of work is encouraged, with special outings and events arranged for staff to get to know each other on a personal level. "If you’re friends with each other then you care more about everyone’s feelings and function better at work,” Kane said.
George also plans monthly communication meetings with team-building exercises to help employees understand how to work with each other.
“Right now, we’re working on what each person can individually bring to our culture,” she said. “Seeing the value in everyone, it makes a huge difference.”
Lyn Guay is always working to implement the “Walt Disney effect” by making clients feel loved, excited, and special.
As for measuring success, Dr. George estimates the practice has increased efficiency by 200% since using a team-based approach.
Other crucial metrics Deerfield uses are team retention as well as client retention and satisfaction. Clients receive surveys after every appointment. “Our clients know that every time they come in, every single one of our team members cares and loves them, and that’s how I measure if we’re doing it right,” George said.
Clients aren’t the only ones who feel appreciated in the clinic. Lyn Guay said she feels like more than a receptionist because of Dr. George and Jenni, who help her believe she makes a difference every day in the veterinary world.
She added that because leadership lets employees make mistakes and learn from them, they are supplying employees with the tools for success.
“By them supporting us, they’re supporting our patients and clients too,” Kane said.