Advertisement
09/14/2022

Hairstyle, lifestyle, and workstyle – pharmacy style

If you have ever seen a late-night infomercial on television, you may have encountered a product that was so amazing and so easy to use that all you had to do was “set it and forget it.” While that phrase may sell product in late night infomercials, it most definitely does not apply to the pharmacie
Jesse McCullough
Founder, Keystone Pharmacy Insights
Jesse McCullough profile picture

Who is the hardest person you have to lead? For most of us a couple of names or faces likely come to mind. They may be co-workers or patients. Some people will mention family members. If you are anything like me, you may grudgingly realize that the person who looks back at you in the mirror is the most difficult person to lead. 

Today I am going to share an idea with you that many people take for granted. To do this, we must first connect the concepts of lifestyle and hairstyle.

When you think of a definition for lifestyle, we can probably agree that lifestyle is simply how someone lives his or her life. When I was a kid, there was a television show called “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and you could see how some very wealthy people lived. 

While we may be able to agree on that definition, I do not want to stop there. To take the next step, consider a definition for hairstyle. Again, we may quickly agree that hairstyle is how a person wears their hair. But let’s go a little bit deeper by going back to the difficult person to lead who looks back at us from the mirror.

Most people look in the mirror and style their hair into a hairstyle. Aha! That is the definition I ask you to consider. Hairstyle is more than how you wear your hair – it is how you style your hair! It is how you intentionally craft and orchestrate your hair to look a particular way. In the same way, consider defining the word lifestyle as how you intentionally style your life. Many people may struggle to understand this, but not you!  Your lifestyle is how you style your life. 

I was working the pharmacy in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (of groundhog fame!) and my colleague was telling me about the time he saw Whitney Houston in concert. He spoke of the experience and how he paid a few extra dollars to sit closer. This is a fantastic example of how you can style your life. Some people will go to the concert and sit far away from the stage while others choose to sit closer. 

So, if we can style our hair and if we can style our lives, can we also style our work?  Absolutely! 

This is a concept that I did not grasp for far too many years. My workstyle bothered many of my counterparts. In those days, what I was chasing was productivity and efficiency. The most obvious way to affect this was with how the pharmacy was set up. If you have ever seen a late-night infomercial on television, you may have encountered a product that was so amazing and so easy to use that all you had to do was “set it and forget it.” While that phrase may sell product in late night infomercials, it most definitely does not apply to the pharmacies – even though many have passively followed that advice.

You don’t just set your pharmacy and forget it. You must constantly be improving your pharmacy. At least, that is my philosophy. 

There are many ways you can lay out your pharmacy to optimize productivity. I have been in pharmacies that arrange their drugs all alphabetically. I have been in others that have a separate section for antibiotics, topicals, liquids, and so on. One is not right while the other is wrong. They are simply different ways to style your work. The questions we must continually ask ourselves as leaders include: “Is this style working for me?” and “How can I improve things?”

One of the things I did was regularly assess our “fast movers” section of the pharmacy. You may be familiar with this idea, though you may use a different term or mechanism.  We had shelves near the dispensing stations where we would keep the top-selling drugs so they were easily accessible for production. In some pharmacies where I worked, we would use robotic solutions to tend to these fast-moving drugs. This philosophy worked well if it was regularly styled. Some pharmacies simply did not do this. Others practised this regularly and intentionally. As a result, they operated much more efficiently. 

Productivity is a still a challenge today, especially in the face of workforce and supply chain shortages. If we also layer on the challenges of medication safety and therapeutic optimization, the call becomes all the more clear for us to consider our workstyle – how we style our work. This will require us to constantly assess and improve how we do things. This will require regular change. This requires us to lead our teams and the communities we serve well. Everyone deserves to be led well.

How are you intentional about your workstyle? Let me know by messaging me through LinkedIn. 

Until next time –

Jesse McCullough, PharmD

Connect with Jesse on LinkedIn

 

More Blog Posts In This Series

  • How to make a better mousetrap (the Law of Complexity)

    Something that captured my professional imagination many years ago was the idea of measuring quality in the pharmacy industry. How do we know if medications are being used appropriately?
    a man wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera
  • Lifestyle modifications and medication adherence

    Many people, including myself, believed at one point that patients were very much like a cup. The education provided would be like the liquid filling up the cup. Once the cup got filled to a certain level, like a switch, the patient would begin to do everything correctly.
    a man wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera
  • When is the best time to "plant trees" in pharmacy?

    Pharmacists face leadership challenges from every angle. Staff, customers, prescribers, vendors, and you cannot overlook family. Pharmacists are challenged to lead all these groups (and others) and they all have different requirements.
    a man wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera
Advertisement
Advertisement