This week on the podcast, Dr. Andy Roark and practice management super geek, Stephanie Goss are talking about love. Love languages that is. We received an email in the mailbag from a practice owner who loves their team. They have tried acknowledging the hard working individuals in a variety of ways from bonuses to holiday gifts to celebrating during tech week and behind. They feel like nothing they have tried seems to be truly appreciated by the team and they are wondering what they are doing wrong. They want the team to not only know their value but feel it and they are reaching out for some help and advice figuring out how to solve this problem. Andy and Stephanie walk through headspace around the unique position as a practice owner in this scenario and talk through how to recognize what team members value and how they like to receive appreciation in their own love language. Let's get into this…
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Stephanie Goss: Hey, everybody. I am Stephanie Goss, and this is another episode of the Uncharted Podcast. This week on the podcast, Andy and I are jumping into an email that we got through the mailbag from a practice owner who is struggling with feeling like everything that they do for their team to show them appreciation and get them to recognize how valued they truly are to them is going unappreciated.
And they're wondering, “what the heck do I do about these feelings that I'm having?” This one is a fun one. Let's get into it.
Announcer: And now, the Uncharted Podcast!
Dr. Andy Roark: And we are back. It's me, Dr. Andy Wroark… Roark! Work? We’re already struggling.
Stephanie Goss: Already on the struggle bus.
Dr. Andy Roark: Hi, my name is Andy Roark, and I am here with the one and only Stephanie, put-some-respect-on-my-check, Goss.
Stephanie Goss: But how do you spell Roark? That's the important part.
Dr. Andy Roark: Yeah. Yeah, it's a… the number of times that there have been like, posts on my Facebook page that clearly say Dr. Andy Roark and then my name is spelled like wildly in the comment section underneath the post that's got like my name on it is amazing.
Stephanie Goss: It makes me laugh. It makes me laugh every time.
Dr. Andy Roark: It's two things. it's, there's, and again, talk about pitiful problems. The other thing is people call Uncharted, Unchartered.
Stephanie Goss: Uh Huh. Yes.
Dr. Andy Roark: Roark O Unchartered and then R O U R K E is I get that one a lot. Mickey Rourke the actor, is R O U R K E. So I think that's maybe where that comes from.
Stephanie Goss: Yeah. Anyways, Andy Roark,
Dr. Andy Roark: Hello.
Stephanie Goss: with no U and no E, how are you doing?
Dr. Andy Roark: I am, I am, do, oh man!
Stephanie Goss: Now that we've established you actually know your name.
Dr. Andy Roark: Yep. It's just, one, one victory at a time.
Stephanie Goss: I get it.
Dr. Andy Roark: Yeah, we’re on a…Hey, look..
Stephanie Goss: I was-
Dr. Andy Roark: It’s the holiday break, my kids are home, my wife’s off work.
Stephanie Goss: You don't know your name.
Dr. Andy Roark: There's a lot going on here, lots of excitement.
Stephanie Goss: You have a bad dog.
Dr. Andy Roark: Got a bad dog, got in laws in visiting the house and it's, yeah. Look, let's just get, let's just take it slow and we'll all get through this. I mean the podcast and the holiday.
Stephanie Goss: Oh, yeah, I feel your pain. Having, a name that people put letters into, in fact, when I graduated with my undergraduate degrees my maiden name was a name that no one ever said correctly and could not spell for the life of them. And they have you do the little card where you spell it phonetically.
And I, over the years, I learned exactly how to spell it phonetically so that people could pronounce it. And I spelled it phonetically. And then I had my graduation and I walked across the stage and I was super excited because I was the first person in my family to go to university and my grandparents were there like I was, and I remember going and connecting with my, parents and I was like, where it was just, I think it was just my dad waiting afterwards or maybe just my mom.
And I remember asking whichever one of them was there. where's the rest of my, like, where's my aunt, where's my grandma? And they were like, Oh, we didn't actually hear them say your name and it was getting really hot out here. And so they just, left because I totally walked across the stage and they screwed up my phonetically spelled name so badly that my family didn't even know that it was me walking across the stage and they just left.
Dr. Andy Roark: I guess she's not making it. Alright, maybe next year.
Stephanie Goss: So I feel you on. I'm having a name that people screw up. Anyways, we're off the rails already.
Dr. Andy Roark: Big news over here.
Stephanie Goss: Oh yeah.
Dr. Andy Roark: Yeah! I I found us a place to go and do our first ever Leadership Essentials two-day course. And the Leadership Essentials Certificate, live, in person, you, me, Maria Pirita throwing down on May the…
Stephanie Goss: the 5th and 6th
Dr. Andy Roark: the 5th and 6th in Atlanta, Georgia and it is in this really cool place. I have not gotten to talk to you about it. It is freaking awesome. It's this renovated building in downtown and it's just like big open space beautiful windows. It's got it's got a, it comes with a barista. Are you serious? It's likw… I'm not kidding.
It's going to be bonkers! It's absolutely, it's two, floors so we can break out downstairs if we want to, but everybody's gonna be in the, in, the main floor. Hardwoods, old time brick walls, and, the beautiful storefront, and, it is so cool. It is so, so cool. And anyway, it is going to be, it is an awesome location.
It's near Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta. It's, there's a lot going on. Anyway, you and me and Maria teaching the entire Leadership Essential Certificate in workshop format in two days.
Stephanie Goss: Yeah, I'm really excited about this because we haven't talked about it a lot, like we've talked on the podcast about how we had the certificate that we had been working on and it was a big secret and then we, launched it and by the time this episode comes out, we will have had our big debut party at VMX in January, and so we've talked about that, but the piece that we've not really said anything about to this point has been the fact that is always our plan and intention to be able to offer the certificate, asynchronously online.
And it's great, it looks great and it's up it through our partner, NAVC and VetFolio. They've got so that you can do it and so you can do it on your own time. Or, you and I had always said let's, do this and do it out in locations and places where people in local clinics who, might not want to travel for CE or for those newly promoted managers who don't really maybe have a CE budget to go somewhere big, like to be able to come and work with their peers.
And so I am super excited to get in front of people, and hey Atlanta is a great spot. It's before it gets. It's like ungodly hot at that time of year, I think. And so I'm excited about that. And so we might have some people who want to fly in and come join us and that's okay too.
But I'm, super pumped about this. I think it's going to be it's going to be a lot of fun.
Dr. Andy Roark: You don't get much easier places to get to than Atlanta. It's the biggest airport in the world. it is, a pretty darn easy place to get to. And yeah, May in Atlanta is actually pretty, pretty amazing and fantastic. And so anyway, there's that. Yeah, Vetfolio has been an amazing partner.
I was really blown away when I saw their plans at VMX to roll out the certificate and promote it there. And I was just like, are you serious? And they were like, it's really good. We're really excited about it. Like, hey!
Stephanie Goss: So awesome.
Dr. Andy Roark: I knew it was good. We've been working on it for three years. It better be good.
But they were just like, yeah, we're going to talk about this in a big way. And I was like, oh, okay, that sounds, I like that. But they have been, absolutely wonderful. And yeah, I, that's my vision is, you can take it online asynchronously, you can come and see us do it in person, and we'll run you through it in two days, and your brain is going to be absolute oatmeal when we're done.
Stephanie Goss: But in a good way.
Dr. Andy Roark: In a good way, but man, are you gonna get and then we've got some other, I've got one more trick up our sleeves and honestly, by the time this episode comes out, we should have registration open for our members, but we're going to run a virtual live version of this, where you can take it asynchronously means you got, whenever you want to watch it, you can watch a portion of it, and then you're going to get together with one of the cohorts that we have, and we'll run you through the workshop part.
So you can just, whenever you want. Just check it out, and then, bam, come together, and we'll run you through the workshop part and you'll get the interactive part, and working together collaboratively with other people. But that's, our cohort model is what we call it. Maybe, I think it'll probably have a better name, we'll have to figure out a better name than that.
But for right now, that's what we're calling it. But anyway, that's coming. We should actually talk about the mailbag, I think, at this point.
Stephanie Goss: I'm up for that. We've got…
Dr. Andy Roark: I’m just excited, I'm sorry, I know I'm way off the rails, but I'm like, this, let me tell you! There’s a barista?!
Stephanie Goss: oh, this is, this, I was going to say, this sounds like holiday espresso, Andy, that's happening right now.
Dr. Andy Roark: Just wait until we're doing workshops with a barista in the room.
Stephanie Goss: Okay.
Dr. Andy Roark: It’s going to be ridiculous.
Stephanie Goss: I have to say, I was in, Greenville, like we just when we're doing this, we just, I just gotten back from Practice Leaders Summit, and your crazy espresso ass wore off on me because I have been dri… I, never drink coffee, because could you imagine me drinking coffee, and yet, since coming back, I have been quite regularly partaking in coffee, and it is a whole new experience.
It is a whole new world.
Dr. Andy Roark: It's Goss at 11. Goss, turned to 11.
Stephanie Goss: I gotta figure out how to turn it down. We have got a great mailbag today that I'm actually really excited about. We've had this, it's interesting because we've had this conversation. In our Uncharted community previously, and this, our writer has nothing to do with our community. And and the conversation was so great, and so I'm excited to have it here on the podcast.
And I've also seen this question asked a lot in some of the practice leadership groups that include practice owners that I'm in online. And we had someone write in who is a practice owner and is really struggling and they're like, I am at my wits end and I need some advice or some thoughts from, you and Andy about how to help team members realize their value to the practice.
And what they mean is they have been struggling because they have been trying to recognize and appreciate their team. They have tried bonuses, they have tried holiday gifts, they do a big to do for tech week, they celebrate people when they have anniversaries and birthdays and all of the things. And they are in this place where they feel like everything that they are doing above and beyond as an employer to appreciate the team and make them feel valued is unappreciated.
And they are really struggling because they care about their team. They want them to feel valued and they want them to feel like “I love working for this person and in this practice” and they just don't feel that way and they're like, help, what, what am I doing wrong? I'm trying the tricks.
What am I doing wrong here? And I just thought it was… I'm excited to see where we go with this conversation.
Dr. Andy Roark: Yeah. No, I'm, excited about this. Okay. Let's start with some headspace here. So this is a common, this is a common challenge, and so we're gonna start laying some stuff out. So the first place that I start with headspace is we need to talk a little bit about the hedonic treadmill. And so the hedonic treadmill is the way that our brains are wired so that we get used to our current situation.
We adapt to where we are and that becomes our normal and so the classic example of the hedonic treadmill is; People think that they're gonna be really happy when they win the lottery and all the research shows about three months after you win the lottery you're at the same happiness level that you were before you win that lottery. Another example is, it's like when you get a raise. You're working along and you get a raise and you're like, yeah, I got a raise and a couple of weeks later it's not a raise anymore.
It's just what you make now, and you don't think about it. The happiness that you got, it just goes away, and that's how this works. Now, it also works the other way, where you can get used to working in a crappy place, and you're like, eh, this is, when you first get there, it's awful, and after a while, you just get used to it, and now it's just work.
And, it, isn't a, it is how people are adaptable in that way. We get used to where we are. And I think that basically, here's my take on it is, it's part of natural selection where in the creation of a species. That is meant to be uncomfortable, because being uncomfortable makes us scavenge, spread out, explore, reproduce, do those things.
A comfortable species is an extinct species. So we're, made to be uncomfortable. And the hedonic treadmill just is that if there's something comes along and it's great we just get used to it. The new restaurant is great until we eat it every day, and then it's just lunch.
Stephanie Goss: Yeah.
Dr. Andy Roark: That's Hedonic Treadmill.
Why am I talking about this? I'm talking about it because whenever we do things for recognition and appreciation, the Hedonic Treadmill works against us if we're the, if we're the employer trying to recognize our people. Because the first time you have bagel breakfast… or Friday lunch, everybody's this is amazing!
And then you do it every week. And three months in, people are like, Oh yeah, we have bagels for breakfast on Friday. It's just what we do.
And you don't get thank you notes after the third month. That doesn't happen. People don't even mention it. It's just, they expect it to be there. And, heaven help you if it's not there and they show up and they don't have breakfast because they thought you were going to have bagel breakfast and it's not around.
And so that's the hedonic treadmill. And I think that is a big part of why people feel this way or why they struggle with appreciation. I see the most… it's not the most common, but it's one of the biggest ones I think is I see this around holiday bonuses. When people will give holiday bonuses, and they're like, “ah ha guys, holiday bonuses!” The first year, people lose their mind, and the second year, some of the people lose their mind, and then, after that, there will always be people who say thank you. They will always, there were some people who always say thank you, and those are wonderful people.
Other people, it's not that they're not grateful, it's just, you know, it's not a new thing, they were thinking that they would get a bonus, and they got it. The other thing is, the other thing is when we do holiday bonuses, we say, hey, this is for your hard work, and they're oh, so I earned this.
And you're like, yeah kind of, but also I'm being generous. And then you're like, “are you being generous or did I earn this?”
And so, so now we're starting to get into those. But hey, that's my opening position on why we end up in a place where people. Do things for the staff and they feel like the appreciation return on investment goes down over time.
That's the hedonic treadmill. That's just things becoming the norm and not something that staggers them the way that it did the first time it happened.
Stephanie Goss: I, agree 100 percent with that. I'm glad you brought up the, bonus thing cause it's funny cause when we're recording this is near the holidays and there has been a lot of that. This question being asked in that exact same frame from practice owners, which is “I feel like I, I was so excited and so happy to give everybody this bonus and nobody said thank you.”
And when you dive into the conversation and the comments and people are like, “is this the first time that they got a bonus or is this a…”, and it's like you said, after it happens, it becomes the expectation. And so you're still looking at it as, “I'm really excited and this” is an, like you are, like, let me just pause for a second from a headspace perspective, recognize you as an owner and as a leader of a practice you are rewarding your team, and you are doing a good thing. And in the face of the lack of response, it can be really easy to feel like, what am I doing wrong? There's a lot of conversation about, my team is just ungrateful, and all of that. And I think it's really important to get into a good, headspace around it and recognize that when you do, when the thing happens, like, you said putting it into the idea of the hedonic treadmill, like that excitement goes away after a while.
Dr. Andy Roark: There's the other part too about what people react to. People react to the difference between what they get and what they expect to get. And so for instance, my wife is beautiful. She's beautiful. And, I have been married to her for 20 years. And when she walks into the room, I rarely stop and say, “My God, you're beautiful.”
I do sometimes, but I rarely do that. And the reason is because she's beautiful all the time. She's always beautiful. And, I guess the reason I'm saying this is because that condition still exists, but we just don't mention it if there's a long way to go to get to that point. We just don't mention it. The point is also being your staff can feel happy and appreciated and you give them a bonus and they go, thank you.
And they go on. The fact that they didn't jump up and down doesn't mean that they don't feel appreciated. They already felt appreciated before you did the thing. And it's you can't judge how people feel always by their reaction.
Stephanie Goss: mhm
Dr. Andy Roark: The first time my wife said, “I love you” to me, it had an impact on me that it doesn't have when she says “I love you” today after we've been married for 20 years.
It's just, oh, I know. I got it.
Stephanie Goss: Bet you're gonna, bet you're going to tell Alli she's beautiful tonight though.
Dr. Andy Roark: But I'm gonna tell her, “Hey, I told a few ten thousand people…
Stephanie Goss: Yeah, I told the world.
Dr. Andy Roark: That you were beautiful the other day.” Anyway, I don't want to drift, I don't want this metaphor to drift too far apart, other than to say, that's my point here. A lot of times people are like, I gave them bonuses, and they said thank you, and they went on, and I was like, that doesn't mean they're not happy.
That doesn't mean they don't appreciate you, or don't feel appreciated. They, it's very possible that they're happy in their job, and they feel appreciated, and this is another thing that you do, and it's one of the reasons they feel appreciated. They weren't moved to tears by it, because they're used to being appreciated, and that's not bad, but I think a lot of people put this weight on the reaction, and I will tease people or something, and they'll be like, “You know, we did this ice cream luncheon for the staff, and one person said thank you,” and I'm like, “what did you want, a parade? Did you want a celebration?” And they go, oh, “No, I didn't, I just wanted to know that it worked” and, I do get that, and I'm not trying to be a jerk I think we'll get into, we'll get into headspace, but when we get into headspace, a lot of it is about trying to understand, what are you trying to accomplish?
What are you trying to do here? I think we end up in this mindset where it's I'm going to do something nice for my team and judge, how well it went by how nice the things are they say to me after it happened. And I'm like, did you do it so they would say nice things to you? And they say, of course not. And I go, okay, let's, hold on to that for a second.
Stephanie Goss: Cause why is that your measurement of success?
Dr. Andy Roark: And I think that, that's gotta, that's gotta be it is how are we measuring success? It's always great to give people a gift and blow their mind and they gush about it and they write you a thank you letter and honestly? I will tell you if you want people to give you nice gifts, writing thank you letters and gushing is a good way to help continue to have that happen.
I, that's what I've taught my kids, and so that's just a life hack that you should file away. But it's not why we're trying to appreciate our people. And I think that in that comes peace. And we'll talk about it when we get into action steps, but the basic thing for me, I think is in headspace, when it comes to appreciating our staff, one, it's a journey, not a destination, right?
It is a continuous process. You, I don't think that you want to roll up and do one really nice thing for your staff a year and shock them to their core. I don't think that's where you want to be. I think you want to continuously roll along doing nice things for your staff and telling them they're appreciated.
So that they become like the spouse when you say, I love you and they go, yeah, I know. I think you want to, you want that to be a steady state. And not something shocking. So appreciation is a journey. It's not a destination. And a lot of people are like, I need to get my team appreciated. And then I'm done.
And I can mark it off my to do list. It's just, it doesn't work that way. And then the other part is, I think that we should realize that appreciation is something you should do because you want to do it. And if you can get your head into that place, everything else will take care of itself, in my experience.
Stephanie Goss: Yes. Yes, and I, would agree with that. I, think a big part of it is taking a step back and it's, hard because there's often a lot of feels. When you are the practice owner, having been in these shoes and like when you are the person who's paying everybody's paychecks, and you go above and beyond and do something, and you feel like you're not sure whether they appreciated it, or you don't know how it went, or your measurement of success, it didn't live up to that.
It's really hard to step back from the emotions that you might be feeling, and it's really, important to do it. It may take you some time, it may take some space, but figure out how to step back, because it is, absolutely crucial as a leader to get to a healthy headspace about how to appreciate the team.
Because it has to be because you want to do it, not because you have to. Because if you feel like you have to, it will always breed resentment for you and also eventually will breed resentment for your team. Because they will not be blind to the way that you are reacting for their lack of reaction or, lack of energy with the reaction or not feeling like there's enough thank yous, like that is the thing.
And when I talk to a lot of practice owners, a lot of them are stuck in this place where they feel like this is the thing that they have to do. Especially like when it comes to this conversation comes up a lot when it comes to like holiday bonuses, but also celebrating tech week or celebrating birthdays and anniversaries.
And, we, talk on the podcast about how comparison is the thief of joy. And as a manager, I know that to be no more true than when a tech week or any of those come around and all on social media is what seems like these grand displays that everyone else in the world, except for maybe you, is doing.
And the reality is, that is a very limited slice of reality that you're seeing, and you need to remember that. And if you're being motivated to do the things for your team because you feel like you have to. You are never going to get pleasure out of the scenario. You're always going to be disappointed.
And so you should just stop, you should just stop while you're ahead. And to your point about it being a constant state. I don't want to work for somebody who doesn't want to make me feel appreciated. Like I want to work for someone who makes me feel like they like having me as an employee and that I'm a part of their team.
And so I think it's really important to just find your zen and to your point, do it because you want to, not because you feel like you have to.
Dr. Andy Roark: Looking at Tech Week stuff on social media is kind of like if you believed car commercials around the holiday where they're like, yeah, “Lots of people get Lexus' with a bow on them”
Stephanie Goss: Right.
Dr. Andy Roark: And really that's a thing? And a lot of people, “sure super normal” It's it feels like that because there's some people who go hard in the paint and that's great but it's I you know, I it's I don't think it's healthy.
So so here's… knowing about the hedonic treadmill. I think a lot of people fall into this trap where hedonic treadmill in focus. They're like, great I'm gonna do tech week. I'm gonna do holidays. I'm gonna do a Valentine's thing and we'll do something in the summer and then we're gonna put it on repeat and we will continue to run it and it's the putting it on the repeat that sucks the life out of it from an appreciation standpoint.
Stephanie Goss: Yes. Because it's expected.
Dr. Andy Roark: That doesn't mean you shouldn't, that doesn't mean you shouldn't celebrate Tech Week every year if that's what you want to do. But people are going to stop gushing about it and at some point it will just become expected.
Stephanie Goss: It's tech week, when are we having our, when are we having our lunch?
Dr. Andy Roark: Yeah, exactly. It's that's exactly it.
And so, that's the problem. And again, part of this for me is I think the answer for a lot of this, unfortunately, is you can't put it on autopilot.
Like you, you have to engage. And that doesn't mean that you, the practice owner, necessarily have to do it. You don't have to be the one who engages.
You can empower your manager, or doctor, or someone. There are some people who are like, I love coming up with fun things for the staff, and stuff that's nice for them. And it's if you love it, it's not a strong suit of mine. This is not my language of love or appreciation. this is not a strong suit for This is hard for me.
And there are other people who are like, I am happy to plan the cookout or to come up with some ideas of things that we can do, put me in the game coach, and so you can, absolutely delegate that stuff. The other thing that I would say is. I think from a strategic standpoint, it makes a lot of sense to pay attention to what you're trying to accomplish.
What do you actually appreciate your staff for? Is it just showing up, punching in, and fogging a mirror? Is that what we're talking about? Or, are they actually doing things? And if they're doing things, you should target those things and have appreciation around those things. Even if it's just a handwritten note.
Which, by the way underrated as far as the value, but what are they doing that you appreciate? And you're like, I don't know, they just work hard. And I'm like, you're not trying hard enough. If you're just like, I don't know, they just, I don't know. They continue to show up for work. I'm like, ah, that's, there's, if there's not more than that, we're in trouble.
Stephanie Goss: I love that you said that because, and I'm sorry that I cut you off, the ultimate example of that is, is the Christmas bonus. Because so many people look at it and they're like, they worked hard, so hard all year and I just, I want to celebrate them. And, how crappy does it feel, to work so hard all year and then not get a Christmas bonus? It's like you've told them that is the reward for working so hard all year. And then if they work hard all year, but the business has maybe had a bad year and you can't financially afford to give them a Christmas bonus, are they wrong to then think, maybe we didn't work hard enough this year.
You know what I mean? If that's the reason that you've set right, or to feel let down. And so I think it's, I think it's really unhealthy. And so I think certainly we're, going to, I think, dive into this in action steps, but I think it's really important to, to figure out what is motivating you and tie that to what's motivating your team as well.
Dr. Andy Roark: The quintessential appreciation program for me is the Employee of the Month program. It's the Employee of the Month program, which I've seen implemented so many times. And it always goes exactly the same way. They're like, let's appreciate the staff. And the first month is a big honor because it's the first Employee of the Month award.
And by the eighth month or the twelfth month or the sixteenth month, it's pretty obvious you're going through the list and being like, who hasn't gotten this yet? And it's just a thing. I've just not seen it be, it is!
Stephanie Goss: Oh my gosh, I'm laughing so hard because as a parent, that's how I felt about the student of the month awards at the kid’s school.
Dr. Andy Roark: It is the student of month award! is! Who has not set the building on fire or shanked somebody? Let's that kid up because it's her turn, that's what the employee of the month program. It just naturally turns into that and I'm not dunking on anybody's program. I've seen it done really I've seen it done with nice pictures and like fun facts about the person and like I've seen that but at some point like when everyone in the building has gotten the award it loses its luster and again, I could see you making it work. If you were like here specifically is why this person is being recognized.
I am a big fan of the Uncharted Employee of the Month Award.
Stephanie Goss: Stop it.
Dr. Andy Roark: Which I give to myself 99 percent of the time. We have Uncharted Employee of the Month Award, I have received it almost every time it's been given except for like twice.
Stephanie Goss: I cannot believe you're actually talking about this.
Dr. Andy Roark: I, it's, a, genius in modern motivation. Is the Employee of the Month award that you only give to yourself.
And then, when you, but when you do give it to one of your employees, everybody's like “What?! That's amazing!” And that's how I think Employee of the Month programs should go.
Stephanie Goss: Oh, I can't. I can't. I think that this is a good place for us to take a break.
Dr. Andy Roark: Okay? You can ask me questions about my leadership philosophy. Or why you, Stephanie Goss, have never been Employee of the Month?
Stephanie Goss: I have, yeah, I was going to say, just so you all know, I have not. The only person on our team who has actually been Employee of the Month, besides Andy and besides Skipper Roark, who doesn't really count, is Tyler Grogan. So clearly the message is that only Tyler Grogan is the only one out of all of us who is capable of motivating Andy to take his own face off of the wall and put somebody else's face up.
Dr. Andy Roark: I think Maria Pirita is getting it in December. I think Maria Pirita is getting it. She was a force of nature at the Practice Leaders Summit. She has just done so much. And it's also her birthday month. And so I'm like, maybe it's time. Let's take a break.
Stephanie Goss: It's finally here! That's right. Our very first Uncharted Certificate. What's that, Stephanie? Well, I'm glad you asked. See, Andy and I had a conversation along with some members of the Uncharted team where we were wondering, what skills does a leader have to have? And we talked about the fact that as leader, you have the ability to shape your team's culture.
And there are some very specific skills that are needed, and unfortunately, those kind of skills are most often not taught to us. And so we sat down and outlined seven of the crucial building block skills that any leader should have, and we are putting it out into the world with our, in partnership with our friends at NAVC and VETFOLIO.
We have launched the certificate through VETFOLIO's platform. So it is seven workshops. That are all broken out into modules. We start with talking about building trust and relationships, how to set a vision for a team, and even more granular, how to figure out what your core values are as a human, as a smaller team within a bigger team, and as a practice as a whole, and then how to use.
those core values to make decisions, to communicate, to really run your practice as a well oiled in sync team. We talk about communication styles and using disc as a tool for how you communicate better and more effectively as a team. We talk about how to give feedback, how to do coaching, and that applies whether you're someone's.
positional boss or not. We have to talk to each other as human beings in practice. And so we dive into how do we do that and how do we do it in a way that feels less scary than it might feel to some of us. We talk about how to get team buy in, how to get everybody excited about ideas and initiatives in our practice.
We talk about how to set priorities and then how to achieve those priorities and get stuff done. I am thrilled that this is now available for all of you and there's much more where this came from. So head on over to unchartedvet.com/certificates. That's right. Certificate with an S at the end and check out the leadership essentials course.
You can get the link from there to that folio. You can buy one piece, you can buy all seven and get the certificate as a whole, but either way we are. So excited. And now back to the podcast!
Dr. Andy Roark: Alright. Let's actually land this ship.
Stephanie Goss: Yes, let's, action step this because I think that there's some, there are some really important pieces that are worth talking about here.
Dr. Andy Roark: Okay. Here we go. For me, action step number one is decide what you're trying to do. What is the point? What are we trying to celebrate? Are we trying to make them feel a certain way? Are we trying to make their, time in our clinic happier, better? Are we trying to, I don't know.
Are we trying to, professionally develop them? Are we trying to invest back into them? What are we trying to do? And if you can answer that question and say, this is what I'm trying to do and I am willing to spend the money and spend the resources to try to do this thing, then you're putting yourself into a good place where if you don't get a response from them, you shouldn't feel bad.
You said you wanted to do this, you wanted to give them a bonus, and you gave them a bonus. And, your desire to give them a bonus should not be contingent on whether or not they say thank you, or write you a card, or do anything, because you decided, I want to do this. And I have just found, in life, if you can choose to do what you want to do, and say, I'm doing this because I want to do it and the reaction of others is not what I care about.
You will be a happier person. If you do something for the team and you say, I want this to I want to do something really fun for them And then you do it and then you don't get the impression. They had fun. Don't do that thing again.
Stephanie Goss: Yeah. I, love that. I almost said I want to take it back a step before that, but I think that getting your head wrapped around why you're doing it is the, is totally the, first step. And then I think. I really strongly advocate for the second step being to your point, because you, talked about why are you doing it and why do you what are you going to put energy and budget and things behind it.
And I think that ties to the, second step for me, which is to recognize that acknowledging and rewarding your team saying thank you, appreciating them does not necessarily cost money.
Andy Roark: Yes.
Stephanie Goss: And I think for a lot of us as leaders, the first place our head goes to is I have to, give a gift. Whether it's a gift of an experience, like I'm going to take them all to the zoo, or I'm going to take them all out to a nice dinner, or a gift of money, I'm going to give them a bonus, I'm going to buy them food, whatever it is, the first place that our mind goes to is gift giving and doing something for them that is tangible.
And I think the second step for me is that you have to, if you are a leader, you have to put some time for yourself and your own professional development into understanding the languages of appreciation, because it should be a game changer for you. And it's really funny because I've talked to so many leaders and practice owners who are like, there's five steps.
Like, how hard could it be? I don't need to read the book. I don't need to, I don't need to spend time thinking about that. And I absolutely challenge bullshit on that because I'm going to lay down, I'm going to lay down, I'm going to lay this smack down. We're going to go camp tough love right now because the reality is, especially when it comes to tangible gifts, only 6 percent of the workforce actually prefers having gifts as their language of appreciation.
And that's where we get it wrong. So many of us, myself included, it was like, I want to do things to make the team feel appreciated. I'm going to buy them things. I'm going to buy them food. That's where the pizza party idea comes in. Let me take care of them. Let me buy them something. I'm going to hit up, the act of service along with the tangible gifts and I'm going to give them a pizza party, but it's bullshit because that's not how most people feel appreciated. And so for me, step number two is to figure out about the languages of appreciation and what it is for your team. Because, truly showing appreciation, truly making people feel valued, that's personal.
That is, it has to be. And that's why when you give everybody on your team a bonus, you don't get more thank yous.
Cause if everybody knows that everybody on the team is getting $50. How does that make me feel like I'm any different than anybody else on the team? But if I get $50 with a handwritten note from you, that tells me why you enjoy working with me and why you're so happy to have me on the team, I'm going to be more inclined to show gratitude to you because I recognize why you're appreciating me with a gift.
Even though the gift, the money, the reward is not my love language. I'm going to be more inclined to say thank you to you because it matters. It's personal.
Dr. Andy Roark: There's so much to unpack there. You touched on feelings that, that I've seen, usually around the holidays, is this idea of have you ever felt the obligation of gift giving when you're like, I don't want to participate this.
But I am locked in like I'm doing it.” I feel like that can happen, not just always, but it can happen with team appreciation where you're like, I feel like I have to do this and I don't enjoy it and I don't like it and it doesn't really mean anything for me. I'm doing this because I have to do it. And then the people who are receiving it, they know that too, and they get that vibe. And the whole thing is this craptastic thing that you feel like you're chained to. And so I think you're really hitting on that. I mentioned it in the first half of the show, but I'll come back again.
I really think that the handwritten note, especially if it's, got to be personalized. It has to be “Stephanie Goss, Let me tell you what I admire about you or the thing that I most appreciate about you and then you write it out. It doesn't have to cost money. It really doesn't.
It has to show appreciation for that person. And it is hard to do something to show a whole team appreciation. A lot of it really is, it's doing something, but then it's also what you do inside of that thing. Do you go around and shake everybody's hand and tell them, what you're thankful for or how, or, a time that you remember seeing them live up to our values as a team or a time that you were really proud to work with them.
Because if you go, if you have a pizza lunch and you walk and talk to every person and shake their hand and tell them that, and it's different for every person because it's honest and true. I bet you'll make people cry at pizza lunch. I think that will be something that really matters, but it's not about, it's not about that.
The reason that people, again, the reason that people laugh about the pizza lunch is just it became this turnkey, cheapest food we can buy, everybody eats, feel appreciated now. And you go, I, this, any personality to it just got, long sucked away I think that's a big part of it. You know the other thing is you talk about knowing your people and we joking about the Employee of the Month program.
If I gave you, Stephanie Goss, the Employee of the Month award on stage at the Uncharted conference in front of an audience, you would kill me.
You would absolutely hate it. You would be so angry that I did it. Because you don't like that type of display.
Stephanie Goss: He, he has, I, wouldn't kill you because you have done it to me twice and I have survived, you and I have both survived both times, but you're not wrong. There would be a strong reaction from me because that is not my language of appreciation.
Dr. Andy Roark: If I gave it to Maria, she would curtsy, she would pose, she would take, she would have photo ops with it, like, she'd, she'd be all about it, because she loves it, she would light up and glow with it. It's just, that's the difference in individual people, and the way that I would recognize one and the way I recognize the other is not, the same.
Now, people say, but Andy there is nothing I can do that all 27 of my employees or 35 of my employees are all going to like I would say, that is true. And, you can't be all things to all people, but my advice is to mix it up and make sure you're doing different things so that different people's needs get met and different people get seen.
And it's, it will be that somebody will say, Stephanie Goss will say, this thing we did in February really was special and wonderful and Maria Prita will say at the end of the year the holiday thing that we did was really magical. I loved it that there were just different things and they're going to resonate differently with different people and that's okay.
But that's also why you can't lock it in and say, w’e do a barbecue, like we do a cookout, and that's what we do.” Because some people, that's not what, that's not what they want. They don't want to come in on Sunday afternoon and grill meat. They're vegan or whatever.
Stephanie Goss: Yes. I think you hit it right, the nail right on the head because I think the place where I was able as a leader to find the Zen is to step back and look at both the team and the year as a wheel and stop looking at as if I just give them an amazing tech week, then every single one of my techs is going to feel appreciated.
It's bullshit. It's never going to happen because you have too many, especially when you have a bigger practice. If you have a hundred of them. You're never going to do anything that's going to make all one hundred of them happy. You might be able to, when you have two of them, do something that feels individual enough and makes them both feel special.
But if you look at it over the course of time and say, the thing that I choose to do for Tech Week might not, make Jamie and Tyler and Ron happy, but by the end of the year, I've done three different things to hit along each one of them, like you said, then everyone is going to find their place.
And so I think, but I think as leaders, it is so easy to look at what everybody else is doing and be like, “Oh, this is a box that I should check.” And to your point earlier in the episode, It's a one and done, if I just find that thing and I do that thing for the holidays or I do that thing for tech week, then everybody else is going to be happy and I've checked that box and I can move on.
And I think the action step for me is looking at it more like a cycle and recognizing that it's going to be a thing that you have to, nurture it, you have to grow it. It takes time and you have to be intentional about that. And it, and I really found peace when I stepped back from that and realized not everybody's going to be happy when I bring in, ice cream on a hot summer day. And I'm okay with that, because if I don't get a thank you from them for that, I can look at them as a person and say, “Oh, but you know what? If Sarah at my front desk likes spending time together, Sarah might be just as happy if I said, Hey, you want to come with me to get ice cream for everybody else?”
And we spend 15 minutes in the car talking to one another. And she doesn't care that we got ice cream and she doesn't eat ice cream because. She's vegan. She cares that we spent, 15 minutes in the car together because that's her love language. So I think it's, I think it's really important to look at it from, that perspective about making it individual and making it a cycle.
Dr. Andy Roark: Yeah, I completely agree. I think that's pretty much, that's pretty much what I got. I hope we reframe the issue a little bit. It's just a super common thing. It, to me, it really comes down to the headspace you can get yourself into. You have to keep in focus. What are you trying to accomplish?
And not get sucked into, how did my team react to it? And that doesn't mean ignore them because if they don't. If they're not having a good time, I want to know but if you can decide, if you can really think about, like why do I appreciate these people and how do I communicate that to them?
And, what am I going to do so that I feel good having done it, even if no one says thank you. I'm still glad I did it because I wanted to do it. If you can get those two things straight in your head, I think you'll be, I think you'll be fine. And then the third one I would say is, remember, this is a never-ending process.
It is not a checkbox and you're done. It is a ongoing process of having employees and having a team and maintaining a good culture is you have to keep turning the wheel. You just, you do, and turn it different ways and do different things, but it's got to keep going. You can't set it and forget it.
Stephanie Goss: Yeah. And I think the, last thing, and I'm gonna, I'm gonna lift lift the covers and show a little bit of the boring side, really of, managing and running a hospital and I throw both of us under the bus here. Like you and I are both squirrels and can get excited by shiny objects.
Dr. Andy Roark: Gonna lift the covers and squirrel…
Stephanie Goss: Stop it. Stop it. Here's the thing, especially if you have a big team, this is something you have to nurture and grow. And it's okay to make yourself a list and know who your people are. I'm not going to remember what all, I might, but I, you're not going to remember when you have a hundred of them, I probably can't remember a hundred of their favorite colors.
Or what their favorite food is, and it's okay to systematize it. And, the reason I want to talk about this is because I've had this conversation with so many managers that are like, “Oh, that makes it boring and not unique.” No, it's, that's bullshit. I can make it unique for each one of them because I have a system.
And so if you are someone who is like, oh, that's I want it to be a checkbox in one and done, like start with getting to know your people and then, keep track of that knowledge and, I'll give you, I'll give you an example. You and I just celebrate, we got to celebrate our birthdays together this year, which was, meant a lot to me.
And we did something different for your birthday and my birthday and I think we I was very touched because you got me a book for my birthday, and that hit on two very important pieces of my love language. One, because I love to read and you know that. And two, because it was very personal.
You found something that you thought that I would like, and you wrote me a note and Andy also knows. that while I don't like public praise, the written word of affirmation is really powerful for me. And so it was really, truly intentional. And I'm okay with knowing the fact that you are a squirrel.
And if you didn't have my birthday in your calendar, would you have remembered that it was my, was it my birthday to do something? You wouldn't have. And I wouldn't have been offended by that because I know that about you. And so, I think I'm the same way as a, manager. I felt so bad, am I actually going to plan to do these things for my team?
And how does, doesn't that take away from the intention of it? And I just, want to call that out because I, know I felt that as a And yet I would say that actually is what allowed me to make it more intentionally personal was to develop a system for myself to keep track of those things and it goes back to your reason Of why are you doing it?
Are you doing it to celebrate them as a person to celebrate achievements accomplishments like this system is tied up in all of that But I think it's okay to figure out how you're gonna keep that going.
Dr. Andy Roark: My grandmother used to give great gifts and my mom asked her like, how do you give such great gifts? And she always said, I listen. And I listen as well, and then, I write it down in a Trello board that I have. But it was funny, Allison was talking just this year in the holidays, and she was like, your gift game is really strong.
And it is really strong, because I have a system, I, I do, I have a Trello board with different columns for different people, and I, when people say things, I drop it in there, and then when I see things, I'll take pictures of it, and be like, oh, this person might like this, and it's not perfect, but compared to flighty Andy of the past, who ended up on Christmas Eve at Target, buying whatever crap was left over, I have come a long way, you I have come a long way. I have come a long way.
Stephanie Goss: Yes, same! This is why you and I are such good friends, because I've been there. Christmas Eve, Target, it's the worst.
Dr. Andy Roark: Yeah.
Stephanie Goss: Okay, so just to recap, because we wandered, a lot I think action steps wise, it seems so simple, but I really do think that it's that simple.
I think you said decide what you're trying to do, like why are you doing this? And then knowing your team, and knowing how they truly want to be appreciated, and it really, and then being okay with the fact that you can have a system, but I think that those things, as simple as they sound, like 20 plus years of experience managing a hospital, That's how I found Zen as a manager and got rid of any feelings that I might have, including resentment around the fact that I didn't feel like they were appreciating my appreciation of them.
And so I, I think that's, I think that's where you got to start and make it, you can make it fun, have fun with it. Like you should be doing it because you want to do it, not because you feel like you have to, or someone else is doing it so you should do.
Dr. Andy Roark: I completely agree. Alright, that's it. That's all I got.
Stephanie Goss: All right. Have a great week, everybody.
Dr. Andy Roark: Thanks, everybody. Take care.
Stephanie Goss: And that's a wrap on another episode of the podcast. Thanks for coming along with Andy and I on today's kind of crazy ride. We appreciate you. And if you are interested in coming along another crazy ride with us and you want to find out more about it, our brand new Leadership Essentials certificate that we just launched either the asynchronous version where you do it on your own through our partners, Vetfolio and their online learning management system, whether you want to come and do the certificate in person and live with our team, or whether you're looking for an option that fits somewhere in the middle head on over to UnchartedVet.com/CERTIFICATES. That's certificate with an S at the end to find out all of the information about the certificate as it becomes available. Take care, everyone. Talk to you next time.
Dr. Andy Roark: Stephanie's still laughing. Stephanie's still laughing.
Stephanie Goss: This episode was off the rails before we even started.
Dr. Andy Roark: Oh, yeah. I didn't even my name right to start the episode.