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Submitted by SMcM on



I am a new manager who didn't really know anything about management (and still has VERY limited experience) until I started listening to the Podcasts.
I've been a vet for just over 8years and a manager of a charity hospital for the last 8months.
So far things have been going well - it's hard work but enjoyable!
You will probably all be disgusted but I have not been doing any formal O3s since I started - I didn't know I should. I was doing the yearly apprasial as is required but that was all. I'd been thinking about O3s and then after listening to MT I know I have to get them started. I only have 7.5hours/week for my "admin/managemnt" work. The rest of my time is for clinical work. I have 4 directs so I know this would only take 2hours/week to do. However we have a 2week waiting list for appointments and have to see up to 150animals in one day between the 4 vets. This makes it difficult to explain to my directs how it can be justified. I'm scared there would be a feeling amoung the rest of the team (nurses, axillaries, receptionsist - who are not my directs and don't get O3s) that I was neglecting my main duties - treating aminals.

I'd love some advice on how to deal with this.


jhack's picture

Welcome to Manager Tools! No one is disgusted. Some of us managed for years and years before we discovered O3s.

The message has to be about the overall quality and efficiency of your hospital. You need to make it clear that this is not a social time, but a way to improve the health of the animals brought to you.

Over time, as your team becomes more effective and efficient (due to your coaching and feedback) they will see this as time well spent.

You might also consider listening to the casts on "skip levels" to better communicate to the folks who are not your directs.

Your commitment to your staff and customers will show through!


WillDuke's picture
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Definitely not disgusted. I think the only thing around here that would cause disgust is someone knowingly doing something unethical.

If you don't have time to be a manager, then don't be one. If you are going to be the manager, then be the manager. If you agree that O3s and feedback and coaching [i]should[/i] be done, then you have to do them. You owe it to your directs. If you don't think this management stuff is important, then you shouldn't do it, at all. :)

I work in a small company. I started out as the only tech in a computer consulting firm. Then I hired someone, then more people and so on. Now, we're not huge, we're 8 people. But I spend less and less of my time being a technician and more of my time being the manager and running the business. The business is more successful because it receives the attention it needs as a business.

Hope that helps,

US41's picture

No disgust here either. Every victory is the summit of a mountain of failures. My advice: Be fearless, throw caution to the wind, and take risks while trying to do what's right, and you'll learn a lot and probably not do any worse than anyone else.

SMcM's picture
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Thanks very much for the advice!

I'm going to get on with it and rota the O3's into our regular schedule.

I'll let you know how they go.

Fingers crossed!

sklosky's picture


I've seen some other posts on the forums where folks use odd times to tackle this challenge. Coffee break / smoke break / breakfast break / lunch break / dinner break are popular choices when normal operations tend to make this awkward. One fellow on the forums was getting up at oh-dark-thirty to get in early specifically for his O3's. That's the kind of person I want to work for or have working for me. :)

Best of luck,

LouFlorence's picture
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You and your directs will find the O3s valuable uses of time. In your situation the demand for services will always outstrip available resources. I imagine it would be easy to settle into a permanent crisis mode where everyone spends as much time as possible on treatment and the hospital goes largely unmanaged. I would hazard a guess that you will end up providing better service to the community if you spend the time necessary to manage well, even at the expense of some treatment hours. When the nurses and support staff see that, they'll be with you.

I hope this is helpful and welcome to the boards!


SMcM's picture
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I guess it is just a case of good communications with all of the staff.
Once they know what it is I am trying to do I know some of them will be sceptical - O3s are not commonly done in the UK veterinary world - but if I keep them informed hopefully that will help. Then they will see improvements in the efficiency and team work of the vets. Which will in the long run increase the amount of work we can do.


bflynn's picture

When you start the O3s, stick with them. It may not seem like it at first, but trust that the increased communciations will actually free up time for you. One big reason will be that your directs won't come to you with routine stuff 2-3 times a week. They'll save it up for the O3s and you'll wind up with more time.


James Gutherson's picture

Like the others have said - when the o3's are running well you will actually free up time - but you might need to start off by doing them in odd times as Steve Klorsy said - then as you find more time during regular hours move them to then.

SMcM's picture
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I have booked out regular O3's on my diary - it's taken a bit of time but got it done eventually. I will be having them every week as advised. They start tomorrow and for some reason I'm pretty nervous.
I think I have a good relationship with my team. I work hard trying to communicate and run my hospital as well as possible. I've prepared my things to discuss at the O3's and am as ready as I can be. I know they will work, I'm just a little scared!

Any last minute tips would be greatly appreciated.



sklosky's picture


Best of luck with your O3's!!

Here's my tip -- take good notes.


aharris's picture
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My only advice would be - Don't expect perfection with the first round. You are going to be nervous and they are going to be wondering why they are meeting with you (even though you gave them the heads up). You will get more comfortable as you get through the O3's and before you know it they will be too and you will have to stop them at 30 minutes. I started O3's hardcore after the April 07 MT Conference and now my DR's get mad if I have a meeting and need to request to shift them a day.

Good Luck.

tcomeau's picture
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Any last minute tips would be greatly appreciated.

My best tip would be to use the form (both .doc and .pdf are available) here:
to organize your questions and take notes.

Make sure any actions you give yourself get transferred to your to-do list. Try to have an item of affirming feedback to give during your ten minutes. Make sure you take time before the next meeting to review your notes and transfer any items you want to discuss to next week's form. (I'm bad about this, and end up flipping back in my binder, which wastes valuable time.)

Relax! Deep breaths.


Mark's picture
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- The first ones will feel weird. So does EVERYTHING you do for the first time. An event is not a trend.

- Don't be surprised by reticence and some fear. They may think - despite your assurances - that this is a trick. Expect something less than full disclosure.

- Spend YOUR time talking about the purpose of one on ones, some ideas about the office. Don't spend too much time asking about their work.

Don't worry about notes. It's hard to be great all of a sudden while ALSO writing it all down.



juliahhavener's picture
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Congratulations! Nervous is just fine - take a deep breath and dive right in - the water is fine.

I'll echo the above:

Use the form.
Take good notes.
Make sure action items are clear and have deadlines.'s about THEM. And have fun.

It will take a bit for the relationship to really deepen but prepare to enjoy a whole new level of leadership.

dorian.w's picture
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Stuart: my advice is to let the first ones take the time they need. I found that while scheduled for 30 mintues....the first 4 or so (over the first month) took easily 45-50 minutes. Probably a reflection of my directs having lots to say.

After about a month, I started making sure that I'd keep an eye on the time (as we get started, let my direct know that I had a couple of things to discuss so I'd need time at :20 in), which worked well. After a month, I started scheduling them 30 mintues back to back, so everyone knew that someone else was waiting behind, which helped keep everone (me included) focused on value.

Good luck!


SMcM's picture
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Well, I did 3 of my 4 O3's today - I will be doing the 4th on Friday.
They went pretty well. My directs seemed quite happy to be getting them (I am very lucky in having a great group of staff). The one I thought would be the most difficult was the one I who told me most about their personal life. I also found out how a small bit of extra responsibility I delegated in the summer had made a big impact on how much enjoyment and satisfation that person got from work now!

There were some awkward moments but I think that they went down well.

I tried taking notes but being male my multi-tasking skills are not great and the notes were pretty bare. But there is enough for me to have some follow up.

Thanks to MT and thanks to all who helped me!



WillDuke's picture
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Awesome Stuart. It's amazing how much stuff is easier than we think it will be before we try. Keep 'em up, your managerial life will be improved.

Oh, and credit goes to the one in the ring - that's you.

juliahhavener's picture
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Good game, Stuart! The first one is the hardest...followed by the second one...and if you're me, getting the scheduling right so I can keep to it reliably.

dad2jnk's picture

Great job Stuart! I have been doing these for a few months now. The first round is the hardest. Now we all look forward to Tuesday morning O3s. It gives back much more time that it takes.

All the best, Ken

Mark's picture
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Cheers indeed! Well done Stuart.

Now stick to it.