May 2017



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Communication Breakdown, Now What?
The article "How to Recover after a Communication Breakdown," by Charlie Powell talks about how the importance the anatomy of communication is not only in determining what went wrong but in looking for a solution to make things right or to prevent such a breakdown in the future. He discussed 5 major aspects of communication as well as the questions to ask when something goes wrong.
  1.  Sender - this is the person trying to deliver the message. When something goes wrong some questions to ask about the sender are: Did they deliver the message to everyone? Did they rely on a note to convey the information? Did employees that saw the note tell others?
  2.  Coding - this is the language of the communication. Questions to ask when there is a communication breakdown include: Was the message clear? Were the details of the message correct?
  3.  Channel - the medium by which the message was sent. When there is a problem, one should ask the following questions about the channel: How many mediums were used? Were there reminders? Or were there too many reminders?
  4.  Decoding - the translation of the message. When determining if the decoding is the problem in a communication breakdown, ask the following questions: Did the employees understand what I was trying to convey? If not, why not? How could they decode it to mean something different?
  5. Feedback - this is how the receiver responds. If there is no response, then you know there was a breakdown at some point and this is where you ask each person who was intended to get the message what you could have done differently. 

Strategies for Developing 
Leadership Skills

When it comes to discussing art, many people say, "I'm not an expert but I know what I like when I see it." The same concept is often true when it comes to leadership abilities, as well. We can recognize when a leader is either being especially effective or ineffective, but we can't always say why. And, without being able to deconstruct the "why," it can be challenging to develop yourself as a leader.

Effective leaders possess a spectrum of skill sets, and this article reviews five core abilities of quality leaders. This includes the ability to:
  • Negotiate fairly and well
  • Be assertive
  • Be accountable
  • Communicate clearly
  • Deal with negative attitudes
Here are more specifics about each.

Negotiate Fairly and Well
Negotiations occur when two or more parties attempt to resolve differing needs and interests through a series of communications. They negotiate because they each have something that the other one needs and believe that, through the process of negotiation, they can obtain a better outcome than by simply accepting the initial offer. The process can take finesse, as you attempt to resolve a situation through discussions, rather than by either ending the relationship, allowing one person to dominate the relationship, or turning the dispute over to another party to resolve. 

In This Issue
The Early Years of Your Practice: What to Consider
The best way to create the future you want is to set goals and then plan appropriately for them. Roadmaps are essential to your career plan! Here are key issues to consider and address during the early years of your practice.
Strategic Planning
Your days are likely to be busy as you care for clients and manage your team. It's important, though, to sometimes step away from daily fire drills to focus on long-term strategic planning. A strategic plan provides an overall sense of direction directed towards future prosperity. To be effective, it should deliberately be put into practice, modified when needed, and reviewed regularly (often annually). Components of a strategic plan typically include:
  • Mission statement/purpose
  • Core values
  • Long-term vision (perhaps 3 years, or 5, or 10)
  • Strategic agenda (projects undertaken to move towards your vision)
  • Project plans (for each item on the strategic agenda)
  • Project milestones, and the metrics and measurements used
  • Accountability plan (who will be responsible for what)
  • Budget
Fortunately, plenty of free resources exist to help you to create a viable strategic plan, including a 30-minute online training by the Small Business Administration (SBA) found here: This section of the SBA site also offers significant amounts of supplementary resources for strategic planning. 

VBA Extern- 
Jill Giunco

Jill Giunco is a third year student at the University of Pennsylvania. Her desire for veterinary medicine began after growing up and raising pets on her family's farm in New Jersey. In veterinary school, she has taken advantage of the many opportunities and became very involved with the Veterinary Business Management Association. Jill served as the President for Penn's VBMA chapter in 2015 as well as 2016. She was elected to the 2016 National Board as the Business Certificate Program Director. She believes the VBMA is a crucial part of the education of every veterinary student and serves an advocate for the VBMA and business education on a national level. These experiences have been essential in shaping her plan for the future. Jill plans to become a small animal veterinarian after graduation and eventually plans to become a practice owner or manager. These desires stem from her primary interest in the day to day business operations as well as business ownership. Jill hopes her time at VBA will allow more insight into the legal issues that practice owners will face as well as a deeper understanding of business finance. Outside of veterinary school, Jill's favorite hobby is running distance and hopes to one day complete an Ultramarathon. 


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