Advertisement
08/03/2022

For pharmacists, it's not just where you are going…

If we want to get to a better place, we need to define the place and lead the team there. Will it be easy? No, it will be difficult. And probably more difficult than you thought to begin with. But it will be rewarding. You will see your team come together in wonderful ways to advance to that goal.

I know it is hard to grasp, but here we are – in August already. If your family is anything like mine, there is a most important leadership decision to make each summer. The decision on where the family goes on vacation! Believe it or not, there is an important leadership principle that we can take from not just summer vacation, but any vacation that you or I may take. That principle is becoming very clear on just where it is that we intend to go. 

We have discussed before that leaders help someone at some time go somewhere or do something. Within the framework of a family vacation, it is figuring out when, where and what you will do on vacation. Many of us know when we are leaving, where we are going and what we are going to do when we get there.

This same principle applies to all areas of our leadership. Where are we leading people to? Where are we leading our teams? Where are we leading our patients? Where are we leading our families? Where are we leading ourselves? 

Sadly, I have found far too often that these questions have not been answered.  Frequently, when they are answered, they are answered very vaguely. For example, one organization’s leader tells the team they will be the best pharmacy organization. A noble goal, right? But how do we define that goal?   

Perhaps more frequently I encounter groups that haven’t even defined where they are headed. There is a continuous scramble to make it through each day and week – sometimes by the skin of their teeth. Have you ever found yourself in that position? I know I have. I spent a few years simply trying to survive. I had this dream that somehow, some way, things would (magically) change for the better. And maybe they would. Eventually. 

If we want to get to a better place, we need to define the place and lead the team there. Will it be easy? No, it will be difficult. And probably more difficult than you thought to begin with. But it will be rewarding. You will see your team come together in wonderful ways to advance to that goal.

Here is another lesson to consider: It’s not just where you are going. It’s how will you get there.

Example: I had a team working with about 1,800 independent pharmacies on a project. We knew where wanted to go (our goal), but we also had to figure out how we were going to get there.

Consider this: Suppose you have a nice, fast car. Let's take it one step further, let's say that it is the best car. The absolute best. But what if your goal is to get from North America to Australia? I don’t care how nice or how fast your car is, it cannot get you to Australia. You need a different "how." 

When Ferdinand Magellan sailed around the world, he had five ships, the lead one of which was the Trinidad. 

Maybe it's not as sleek or comfortable as your car, but we would be far better suited to get to Australia with the Trinidad!

We need to know where we are going, but we also need a reasonable way to get there.  With my team and independent pharmacies, we had to come up with a way to direct the pharmacies to the most impactful actions. We were essentially able to help these pharmacies find a way to navigate to the goal. As you can expect, some navigated more easily or more quickly than others, but the path was there.

Your path is there, too. You simply need to decide where you are going and come up with the best way to get there. 

What if you choose the wrong destination or the wrong way to get there? We will talk more about that next time.

Between now and when we next cross paths, take a few minutes to think of all the different places where you might want to vacation. That should be fun. Then take three minutes to make a list of how you would like to see your pharmacy improve. This activity might not be as much fun, but in the end it might be even more rewarding!

Until next time –

Jesse McCullough, PharmD

Connect with Jesse on LinkedIn

 

More Blog Posts In This Series

  • Pharmacy leaders – there's value in the pivot

    How many treatment algorithms have you seen changed over the course of your career? Several! And you know what? We will likely see some more in the coming years. Why did these changes happen?
    a man wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera
  • Pharmacy leadership limits can be good!

    Over the last couple articles, we have looked generally at the limitations we have as leaders. This is nothing to be ashamed of. It is simply a fact of life. We all have limits. Today, we are going to look at how limits can be good.
    a man wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera
  • How many voices are you listening to in your pharmacy leadership?

    When last we met, we began to look at the concept of seasons and how it applies to our leadership. Today, we are going to look at things from a slightly different angle. We have established that we are all leaders. We all play a role in helping someone at some time do something or go somewhere.
    a man wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera
Advertisement
Advertisement