Episode 5 | Leadership and Facilitating Change

author

Jack Peploe
Veterinary IT Expert
April 27, 2021

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In this week’s episode

  • What does it mean to be a good leader? How can you effectively initiate change in your veterinary practice? Do you have a big project coming up and you are unsure how your team will react? If any of these are ringing a bell then this episode is for you…
  • Behavioural Psychologist Andy Edwards, talks to Jack about managing change in a veterinary practice, the difference between a manager and a leader and how to play to your teams' strengths.
  • Plus on the show this week, a fantastic ‘tech tip’ from Jack on how social media scheduling tools can help you with time management, curating content across multiple platforms and having a consistent presence on your profiles.

 

Show Notes

  • Out every other week on your favourite podcast platform
  • Presented by Jack Peploe: Veterinary IT Expert, Certified Ethical Hacker and dog Dad to the adorable Puffin.
  • Jack introduced how vets can use social media scheduling tools to make the most of your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles.
  • Jack’s special guest was Behavioural Psychologist Andy Edwards. They talked about managing change in a veterinary practice, the difference between a manager and a leader and how to play to your teams' strengths.
  • You can find out your personality type via Andy's card game which can be found on his website https://andyedwards.biz/card-game.
  • Many thanks to Matthew Flann from Pennard Vets for recommending our book for the week "The Chimp Paradox" by Prof Steve Peters.
  • In our next episode Jack will be joined by Dr Katie Ford, who will be talking to us about Imposter Syndrome in the veterinary sector.
  • Please send any questions, ideally in audio-form (or any other feedback) to jack@veterinaryit.services.

Transcription

Jack Peploe:
Coming up a Modern Veterinary Practice.


Andy Edwards:
And one of the most effective ways of, I believe is about seven or eight ways of being a leader without which you've got a problem. One of the main ways, is to have one-to-ones regularly and often. And people say to me, "Well, what's a one-to-one?" I say, "20 minutes, 10 minutes but it has to be at least once a month." "Yeah. But I do that on the shop floor, I do that in the office, I do that in the practice." I say, "Right. And so you should, that's called a casual catch-up, but that's not ring-fenced quality time, one-to-one, looking somebody in the eyes and asking the biggest leadership question you can, which is, 'Am I letting you down at the moment?'"

Jack Peploe:
Welcome to Modern Veterinary Practice. I'm your Host and Veterinary, IT Expert, Jack Peploe. In this week's episode, I'll be talking to behavioral psychologist, Andy Edwards, about leadership and facilitating change. I'll also introduce you to social media scheduling tools, a total must have for busy vets and practice managers. Allowing you to bulk write and schedule your social media posts across all platforms from one place.

Jack Peploe:
The key to building a long lasting engaged community on social media is consistency, but this can be a bit intimidating. And we know from experience that your commitment of attempting to sit down once a day to write a social media post can easily be forgotten, especially amongst all the chaos of a veterinary surgery. Which is why we recommend social media scheduling tools. If you don't use one already, a scheduling tool will change the way you use your social media accounts. Not only will you be able to sit down and schedule all your weekly, monthly, bi-monthly posts ahead of time, but you will be able to derive better structure and strategy to what you're posting.

Jack Peploe:
It will help with time management, enabling you to focus on other important tasks once you're done. You don't have to give it another thought. You'll be able to manage multiple social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, making the process a lot easier, as you won't have to log in and out of each platform individually. And you can easily coordinate a campaign across all three. And most importantly, it will help you give the illusion of a consistent presence. By pre scheduling your posts, you're able to stick to regular and consistent time slots to take posts live.

Jack Peploe:
You can also schedule posts to be published outside of your practice business hours. This delivers the impression of a steady social media presence. There are what seems like an infinite amount of scheduling tools available out there, but the one you choose all depends on the functionality your individual practice requires and how much you're willing to spend. Hootsuite, Sprout, Loomly, and Buffer are some of the most popular, but it's also possible to find lesser known platforms that do just as good job. For example, we use SocialBee, a great tool which we got as part of an incredible lifetime deal from our old friends at AppSumo.

Voiceover:
The interview.

Andy Edwards:
Hello, good morning. My name is Andy Edwards and I am a behavioral psychologist, as is my wife by the way. So I always claim we don't have an 11-year-old daughter, we have a little project, which is going to be fun. How did I get into behavioral psychology, is a question, often, people ask me, because my academics are actually in what? Business growth really. I lectured at a university in the Chartered Institute of Marketing, diploma in the communications module. But very quickly came to understand that in order to grow a business, then you have to understand how other people tick, certainly customers.

Andy Edwards:
So I started to look into behavioral psychology and coaching as an academic subject, and as a result, accredited in behavioral psychology. I'm now accredited to supply a number of psychometric instruments, which allows me and hopefully by virtue of my training, others, to understand themselves and their personal impact a little bit more in business and indeed in life. And to understand others at a deeper level for better communication, better relationships, because ultimately I believe in something, I believe I coined the phrase, "I believe in something called relationomics." Largely, that means until, and unless you have some great relationships in your business, with your customers and with each other, the relationships are the most important thing the economics of the business will follow. So that's me in a nutshell,

Jack Peploe:
Andy, it's really great to have you on the show. Two behavioral psychologists in the same household, that must be interesting.

Andy Edwards:
Well, we wake up in the morning, we greet each other and I say to her, "You're fine. How am I?" It's not that planned. It does give us some strategies, I have to say. There's a couple of things that the knowledge of which have really helped our relationship. And I certainly put that out there when I get an opportunity.

Jack Peploe:
Oh, that's fantastic. Right. I'm going to dive right in if that's okay with you?

Andy Edwards:
Go for it, yep.

Jack Peploe:
So 2020 has obviously been a strenuous year and has presented the veterinary industry with a set of challenges that it could never have predicted. From dealing with a remote distributed workforces to rapid digital transformation, due to having to adjust processes to restrictions imposed, veterinary practices have had to adapt and adapt fast.

Jack Peploe:
Now, one key area I want to hone in on, is something I see re-offend within the veterinary sector, and that is adapting to change and specifically resistance to change. Prior to the pandemic, there was no driver for veterinary practices to adapt their technology. Even though pet parents were evolving with the introduction of millennials into the mix, who've grown up with the technology, it felt like the veterinary sector were too busy to change or more than likely, they were predicting too much of a headache to change.

Jack Peploe:
However, now we obviously have to learn from this, and otherwise veterinary practices will never harmoniously work with their tech. As I mentioned earlier, resistance to change is probably one of the biggest reasons for project failure. I believe it was McKinsey & Company who stated that 70% of project failures were due to employee resistance. So onto the key question, why is it that people typically resist to change?

Andy Edwards:
It's a great, great question. What is that all about? Why don't people like change? Well, the surprising answer is that they do, they do like change. The issue is not so much... Well, if you think about it, people change all the time. New information comes along, they change. Your underpants get dirty, you change them. Change is actually a good and wonderful thing and people embrace change. Part of the issue here is the extent to which somebody feels as if they have been in control of, and part of, there's a logical reason for, there's a flexibility around the change.

Andy Edwards:
In other words, probably in a nutshell, I'm talking about, the problem with change is when it is enforced rather than it is a collaborative decision. So change actually is no bad thing, it's just the way in which that is put across to people, might be. And often when leaders, and that's with whom I tend to deal, leaders say, "Look, I'm surrounded by idiots. What's the matter with them? Why don't they think more like me?" Well, the answer is, we'll they're not you, so let's be leaders here and make sure that we are encouraging, engaging, inspiring, motivating people to want what the business is going towards, rather than telling them that that's what they've got to do, which of course is where you're going to get the resistance. Does that make sense?

Jack Peploe:
Yeah. No, no, that makes complete sense. Well, I actually sort of read up on a great article, and there was one, brilliant point raised. It stated one very clear fact. "Good knowledge of your team can hugely help the process of change." Now, in your opinion, what's the most effective way of getting to know your team better?

Andy Edwards:
There's a couple of things at stake here. One of which I think is, well, the leadership. Rather unsurprisingly, we're back to that L word again. If you think about it, leader, the word leader is not actually a title that you can claim. You can't really tell me, you're my leader, I have to decide that for myself. Or the same happens in any organization, any corporation, vets are absolutely no exception. And in order to be somebody's leader, they have to trust you. They have to believe in you. And from that they will become more loyal towards you. And decide that you are their leader.

Andy Edwards:
If you like, I've seen it written somewhere, that you are paid to follow a manager, often grudgingly, but you will choose to follow and call someone your leader. So this is probably the crux of the matter. This is where the problem is. Is if you don't know your team well, then the first step is to start to look at yourself as somebody whom they can trust, who they can be loyal to and be the person who is deserving of that title, leader. So that would be my first consideration. So be a leader.

Andy Edwards:
And there are a number of things that I think that, if I were to throw sort of a snake oil answer to this immediately, I would say, well, the first thing you need to do is have one-to-ones with each and every of your charge. Because I hear people say, "Oh, I lead 50, 60 people." In a practical, day-to-day basis, no, you don't. You do not lead in any meaningful way, 50 or 60 people. You might be able to lead between eight and 12 people. Because a leader should be the person who is the significant resource of those eight to 12 people. Should be the person who is involved in engaging, inspiring, motivating, and getting people on board, and checking in with, rather than checking up on, on your charges.

Andy Edwards:
And one of the most effective ways of, I believe is about seven or eight ways of being a leader without which you've got a problem. One of the main ways is to have one-to-ones, regularly and often. And people say to me, "Well, what's a one-to-one?" I say, "20 minutes, 10 minutes, but it has to be at least once a month." "Yeah. But I do that on the shop floor, I do that in the office, I do that in the practice." I say, "Right and so you should, that's called a casual catch-up, but that's not ring-fenced quality time, one-to-one, looking somebody in the eyes and asking the biggest leadership question you can, which is, 'Am I letting you down at the moment?'"

Andy Edwards:
Now a one-to-one is your first point of call, because then you start to get a sense of what that person is bringing to work or not. You can nip things in the bud. You can check on things like behavior, as much as competence. So one of the first things I would suggest you do is be a leader for people. Does that make sense too?

Jack Peploe:
Yeah, absolutely, 100%. And how do you think that COVID has changed how people should adapt their leadership styles?

Andy Edwards:
Well, the first and most obvious thing is that remoteness, but what's fascinating is, all over LinkedIn and all over the various gurus websites is, all right, we're going to put something together called leading in uncertain times. It makes me smile. When is it certain? When is anything certain? Before COVID, there was always uncertainty, with Brexit. Before Brexit there was something else and let alone the micro uncertainties of your particular area, your particular business, your particular staff set up, there is nothing other than uncertainty. Which is why I smile when people say, leading in uncertain times.

Andy Edwards:
So COVID is just another uncertain set of circumstances. It's a biggie, of course, and I get that, but it doesn't detract from some of those basic things. And if you wanted to lump it all together, I'd call it communication, because not withstanding your remoteness, if you were a crap leader before COVID, COVID's not going to make you any better leader, just because you're picking up the phone. But pick up the phone, you must, because if you've already had, for instance, that one-to-one, 10 minute, every month, every fortnight in place before COVID, then you would be doing that by Zoom today. So it doesn't detract from the principle of strong leadership is to be around, is to communicate, is to make sure that you understand the person in front of you.

Andy Edwards:
And you can do a lot worse than becoming a better leader because of COVID. Because if people act the way they were in leadership before COVID, then who's to say they were any good at leadership at that point? So I think it's very much worthwhile, is allowing COVID to take a little bit of a back step, allowing you to take a bit of a back step and saying, not so much, how do I lead now, but what sort of leader was I anyway? And how do I translate that or indeed improve that under the circumstances of COVID? That's what I think's changed.

Jack Peploe:
Yeah. No, no, that's brilliant. And I mean, how do you get by, the typical response that you get from most people is, "I just haven't got time in the day to do this."

Andy Edwards:
What? Leaders?

Jack Peploe:
Yes. Yeah.

Andy Edwards:
If they had time in the day for anything other than doing their job, then perhaps they're not doing their job properly. So I understand it, I really get it. The first thing we like going in, to a leader and I, "So we're going to need to invest some time here." They still haven't got time to do it. But the answer of course is, "And neither will you ever have time to do any of this sort of stuff." Because what you're basically doing, in a cruel way, and I don't mean this to lump everybody in, into this hit, but you haven't got time because you're probably putting right the mistakes that others are making, and you are making by virtue of your inability to lead people properly. And what's taking your time. If you took some time to work out what it was that was taking your time, and invest some time into ensuring that time management is better, then you would get more time back than you put in.

Andy Edwards:
It's like a law, if you will, of investment. You can't go to a bank and say, "I'd like some interest money please." And they say, "Well, you're probably new around here. It starts with your investment of an amount of money in order to get money back." Albeit not as much at the moment, but the principle remains. And that remains with time. You have to have a chunk of time in order to invest, such that you start getting time back. And that starts to become exponential, because the more time you get back, the more time you can put into saving more time, and it gets better and better and better. And I've seen it happen time and time again.

Andy Edwards:
But you absolutely have got to go over that little hurdle of, "I don't have the time." I'll look you in the eye and I'll say, "And you will never have the time." It's great for the ego. It's great for the feeling of superiority, "I'm really busy." Yeah. Really? Okay. Busy doing what? Is my question. And that's always a bit of a challenge.

Jack Peploe:
Yeah. No, no. That makes complete sense. So I mean, getting to know your team better, going to that point. I mean, what other things can they do? I know that you reference on your website, psychometrics or psychometric testing. How can that play a part within this, within getting to know your team better?

Andy Edwards:
Yeah. It's such an important point. I mean, as a behavioral psychologist, the point about psychometrics, as much as anything else, psychometrics by the way, simply means measuring of the mind. And there's plenty of people out there, "Somebody can't measure the mind, it depends. It depends on the circumstances." And I say, "Well, yes, it does." But if you think of psychometrics as measuring just two or three things, that's all it is. Just getting a sense of somebody's preferences in a couple of three areas, which I'll explain. You can then start to predict somebody's preferential behavior going forward.

Andy Edwards:
So a really good example of this, Jack, would be, if somebody is left-handed, they will prefer you throw a ball to them to their left side, they will simply feel more comfortable catching the ball on the left-hand side. Now, all you've got to do is observe their behavior, often for a very short period of time, to realize and work out that they are indeed left-handed and that's their preference. Once you know that, to be able to play to their left-handedness becomes very, very easy. All of my kids are left-handed by the way, I've got three children, all of them are left-handed. Don't know why, I'm not left-handed and none of my wives have been left-handed.

Andy Edwards:
But the point is they're all left-handed. And when the two older lads come around for Sunday lunch, I always set the table, the knife and fork the wrong way around. Now that's my label, it's the wrong way around for me, but it's absolutely the right way around for them, by virtue of their preference. So the work has already been done in my understanding their preference, so that I can play to it, because playing to it is very easy. It's just changing the knife and fork around. The work's already been done, I now understand their preference.

Andy Edwards:
So when you start to get into the idea of psychometrics, it's a place to start. Please don't think is boxing people in, if it starts to box people in, then you're simply doing it wrong. But it's a place to start, what is somebody's preference? And some of the Jungian psychology on which many psychometric assessments are based, allows us to understand four basic positions, the understanding of which when you see those positions in somebody else and recognize your own position in contrast or comparison to other people, that to me is probably one of the most powerful life skills, let alone business skills you can have.

Jack Peploe:
That's fantastic. That's brilliant. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Andy Edwards:
Well, how long have we got? I mean, the whole point about psychometrics is to understand that it starts with four basic character types. So for instance, you talked about change.

Jack Peploe:
Okay.

Andy Edwards:
You talk about the idea of change.

Jack Peploe:
Yes, yes.

Andy Edwards:
Well, if you're speaking to somebody, and I use colors, so you talk about somebody who starts off in perhaps the red position, which is both extrovert and thinking. People who are getting things done, sorting things out, moving things along at a pace. Now, if you impose change on them, they feel that they've lost control. They feel that their achievement and goals are now changing, and they don't understand the new achievement and goals. They want a couple of options and they want to be wound up and set into the right direction with a degree of control.

Andy Edwards:
But you try that with the opposite number, you try and enforce the control issue to somebody who starts in the green sector, which is diametrically opposite. They're more interested in the changes impact on not only them, but the team around them, whether it's fair. They've got more worry going on there, they wish they'd been consulted more and given time to absorb this. You look at somebody who's got more of a yellow preference. Now, these people are extroverted in the classical sense of the word. They want to be sure that it's not going to affect their enjoyment of the job, the fun. They want to have involvement in this change. But you try and put that across to somebody who's their opposite, in what I call the blue segment, they're not interested in fun and involvement. They want to understand the detail, the logic, the reason why and the thinking that brought us to the point of change.

Andy Edwards:
You got to get this stuff right for the person in front of you. If that sounds a bit passionate, it’s because I really am. And that's the difference between a good leader understanding somebody in front of them, and having those one-to-ones on that basis. And somebody who's basically managing and telling people what to do. You're going to get resistance.

Jack Peploe:
And just out of interest, is it possible to change someone's behavioral type?

Andy Edwards:
No, no, no. To go back to left-handed, the Victorians tried. They tried to beat left-handedness. In fact, the word for left-handed, this comes from a Latin word called sinistram, which means by the left or on the left. So our word in English, sinister, it comes from the idea of being left-handed. Sinister, it's weird. It's strange. It's wrong. And that's what the Victorians did. And they tried to beat it out, no, it won't work. You play to somebody's strengths. You validate their version of their good behavior and you channel their version of not so good behavior, to ensure that they are bringing you the bit of their behavior that you want. Can you change that? Absolutely not.

Andy Edwards:
From a preference point of view, you can introduce different ways of doing things, but don't expect somebody with a lot of blue preference to be the life and soul of the party, you cannot force that. Somebody with a lot of yellow preference, you cannot put them alone in a room to work for days on end by themselves, on technical or detailed, focused stuff. You cannot do that. It will not work and you will be disappointed.

Jack Peploe:
I know you've got an absolutely great resource on your website. If I wanted to find out more specifically about myself, how can I do that?

Andy Edwards:
Thank you for introducing that, it's also with my compliments, entirely free. On my website, the tab is called the card game. And if you press on the card game, you literally get an opportunity to put four cards in the order that they describe you best. And each card has a color and you end up with a color order. And then when you press, this is me or submit this, you then get a little video of me trying to act like you, which can be a bit of a laugh, but also an option then to receive a two page profile. And it's one in eight different profiles, so it's a reasonable amount of difference. A one in eight different profiles about your particular preferences, your particular character type.

Andy Edwards:
And because it's free, you can get all your colleagues to do it, and you can compare notes between you. And you can work out the differences and have conversations based on, "Well, I didn't know you thought that. I didn't know you believe that. I didn't know you preferred your communication in that way." So it's a completely free resource on my website, press on the card game tab.

Jack Peploe:
Fantastic. That's a great way of potentially adapting your leadership style and better understanding your team. So it sounds fantastic.

Andy Edwards:
Thanks a lot.

Jack Peploe:
Thank you very much, Andy. That's brilliant.

Andy Edwards:
Pleasure.

Voiceover:
Recommended reading.

Jack Peploe:
Every week we ask a veterinary professional to suggest a best business book for our listeners. This week's recommendation is from Pennard Vets, Matthew Flan.

Matthew Flann:
The one I'm going to go for immediately is The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters, only because I think, for somebody to be a good leader, if you like, they have to know themselves. And this actually gives a really good framework for you to handle your inner voices, if you like. So you've got to master your own mind and The Chimp Paradox helps you do that.

Jack Peploe:
Coming up next week, we welcome Dr. Katie Ford, who'll be talking to us about imposter syndrome in the veterinary sector.

Katie Ford:
It's a well-documented experience. I try and just help people see it in a very different way, and just reframing it saying, "You know what? So many of us, 70% plus of the population, pretty much everybody that you look up to, will have felt this way at some point. And it does not mean that you are a fraud."

Jack Peploe:
That's it for this episode. All links and recommendations we talked about are in the show notes. Don't forget to subscribe and share the podcast if you found it useful. In the meantime, thanks for listening and see you next time.