Today's Veterinary Business

OCT 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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46 Today's Veterinary Business Leadership We are naturally wired to solve problems, make progress and achieve results. The challenge comes when we link our identity and our definition of success solely to the ability to predict situations and control outcomes. The complex, unpredictable world we find ourselves living in is calling for something more from us. As the saying goes, "What got us here won't get us to where we need to go." As leaders and influencers, we are all daunted by complexity in some form. While we all care greatly for the important work we do for people and animals, game-changing disrup- tions make it challeng- ing to plan. Distractions abound, and never-ending to-do lists divert our attention from what's really important. Our educa- tion was not designed to prepare us for this kind of complex world. Our traditional narratives about success implicitly, and often explicitly, teach us that we should be able to largely con- trol and direct things according to our wishes, although realities sug- gest otherwise. In his book "Pres- ence-Based Leadership," Doug Silsbee describes complexity as some- thing of a crapshoot. He reassures us that the gap between the needs of the moment and our ability to effectively navigate this new ter- ritory should come as no surprise since we're all facing conditions different from what we're prepared for or could possibly anticipate. He writes: "Doing what has worked previously is understandable. It's a predictable reaction to a new and mysterious set of conditions. And it's wrong." Silsbee suggests that a radi- cally new way of leading requires developing a new way of seeing ourselves and the world around us. He states, "We begin by recogniz- ing and acknowledging that we are struggling, accepting that we want things to be simpler and more pre- dictable than they actually are, and that we are at an impasse as to how to navigate." An Invitation to Surrender The last sentence hit one of this column's co-authors, Jeff Thoren, like a ton of bricks. Here's Jeff: "Life over the past year and a half has been anything but We love the veterinary profession. It attracts some of the most passionate, caring and down-to-earth people — people with servant hearts who will give you the shirt off their back and who don't suffer from superin- flated egos. You can't get much better than that. If you're reading this, we're talking about you! It's also true that many of these same people are professionally driven high achievers who have a bias for ac- tion and results. It's not uncommon to see some perfectionistic tendencies. All these things are, of course, neces- sary ingredients for being recognized experts and thought leaders in any field, especially medicine. These attri- butes serve us well in a complicated world that's characterized by predictability, where cause and effect are either known or at least predictable and where it is possible, with the right expertise and effort, to find the right solution. Leadership GO WITH THE FLOW By Jeff Thoren, DVM, BCC, PCC By Trey Cutler, JD controllable or predictable. And, in retrospect, I have definitely struggled with the uncertainty of it all, frequently feeling like I am stuck in a constant state of limbo. On a cognitive level, I appreciate that I have been presented with a significant opportunity for learning and growth and, on another more emotional and visceral level, I have found myself resisting and resent- ing the process, even expressing anger at times. "I realize that I have been resisting complexity itself, often voicing the desire for things to be simpler and easier. In essence, 'The cheese has moved' and I have not yet fully changed and adapted. (If you've read Spencer Johnson's iconic book 'Who Moved My Cheese?' you know what I'm talking about.) An important first step for me to embrace is the idea of surrender. Surrender to the present The experience of presence is a doorway into both personal growth and professional development. Silsbee suggests that a radically new way of leading requires developing a new way of seeing ourselves and the world around us.

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