Pivoting for success takes more than business strategy

Without an engaged, capable and galvanised team, business strategy is a rudderless ship.

Reading the June 2023 AJP, Bruce Annabel and Mal Scrymgeour wrote a brilliant piece, ‘Pharmacy’s date that will live in infamy.’ In this article, they discuss the watershed moment for community pharmacy and also how pharmacies can respond. I won’t recite their article, you can read it here, rather I want to add to it.

Bruce and Mal say to survive, you need to ‘pivot towards productivity’ and I wholeheartedly agree. They talk about the logistics, now let’s talk about the mindset.

What mindset do you and your team need to pivot towards productivity?

More importantly, what emotionally intelligent behaviours can we use more often to further increase our success?

Six EI Behaviours to help build the team you need:

Competency: Self-awareness
Behaviour: Be aware of the impact your feelings can have on how you interact with others.

Depending on where you are positioned in your workplace, your feelings of worry may come from different vantage points. If you’re an owner or a manager, you may be worried about how you will maintain profit margins. If you’re an intern, you may be worried about job security in the future. Irrespective, of where your worries may come from, mood and emotion are visible to others in our facial expression, tone of voice and body language. If we are unaware of this, this can negatively impact how people respond and work with us. Adopt a reflective practice to identify how your thoughts, feelings and actions are both serving and limiting you. Then, consider what impact they are having on others and how you could respond differently.

Competency: Awareness of Others
Behaviour: Notice when someone needs support

As you may be feeling unsettled, so may others in your team. Pay attention to others’ demeanor, body language, facial expressions and tone of voice. If you feel like someone might need some support, be proactive and ask! If we are asking ourselves and others to pivot there will inevitably be discomfort. Don’t leave people to soldier on alone, that’s unfair and destabilises your team.

Competency: Authenticity
Behaviour: Facilitate challenging conversations

Team structure will need to change and as the rules of change dictate, some people will jump in early and be change leaders, some people will be happy to go with the flow and some will lag behind. If we don’t address the barriers to change by having challenging conversations, tensions simmer, conversations retreat behind closed doors and again, the team fragments. Don’t think that challenging conversations only need to be initiated by someone above you. If there are changes going on in your pharmacy that aren’t working, be brave and discuss them with those above you too. If we really want to get ahead and survive, all opportunities for improvement need to be considered.

Competency: Emotional Reasoning
Behaviour: Involve others in decisions that affect their work

To most effectively mobilise your team, involve them in the decision-making process! If you’re a manager, you might know the end goal that needs to occur, but there is still plenty of opportunity to discuss with the team how the goal might be achieved. The idea of the collective will almost always, outline the idea of one. Neuroscience shows that when people are given a voice, autonomy, certainty, involved and treated fairly, they’re more likely to engage in what is trying to be achieved. Practically, think about how you can open channels for this type of communication. Maybe it’s staff meetings, an ideas board or something more information. Regardless, let your team know that these are not just happening to them they are happening with them.

Competency: Self-Management
Behaviour: Keep across industry trends

If we are going to be truly prepared as individuals and teams, we need to continue to monitor the situation and adapt accordingly. Burying your head in the sand, refusing to identify your strengths and leverage them; or seeing your limitations and building on them, is a surefire way to accelerate failure. Identify your pharmacy’s gaps, identify where the strengths in your team lay, where there are opportunities for improvement and keep abreast of what is happening. This way as change occurs you will be able to mobilise your team in line with what is going to yield optimal benefit in a way that plays to your strengths.

Competency: Positive Influence
Behaviour: Create a positive work environment

A positive work environment does not sweep challenges under the proverbial doormat. People within positive pharmacy teams balance discussions to focus on challenges and what is going well. They encourage colleagues to participate in activities that build relationships and their understanding of each other. They also have ongoing coach-like conversations to help build each other’s awareness and strengths. When it comes to having a positive work environment (or culture), everyone has an equal role to play in role-modelling what being an effective team player looks like. This includes your demeanour and the way you approach the good, the bad and the ugly.

There is no doubt that a robust business strategy is going to be the ship that will help pharmacies find their way through the unchartered waters of 60-day dispensing. But, without a team of people that can implement the strategy in a way that galvanises a team to pivot together, the ship will remain rudderless.

If you would like to provide your team with the tools that will help bring your business strategy to life, reach out for an obligation-free chat to discuss the Emotionally Intelligent Pharmacy Leader’s Program and the other services we offer.

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