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Who's Managing Who?

I recently lectured on the fundamental steps needed to be a successful leader when you move from the floor into a leadership role. I was surprised how many emails I received after the lecture on organizational charts. I shouldn’t be that surprised, but yet I was. I know that most veterinary hospitals have never even considered creating an organizational chart. Even in some of the largest veterinary organizations organizational charts are missing. And yet, they are a

key fundamental necessity of all well-run businesses.

What & Why

An organizational chart allows staff to understand their role within the hospital. It ensures there is no exclusion of key individuals during decision-making processes, provides for the exclusion of inappropriate personnel at other points, and ensures that everyone knows whom they report to.

Without a clear organizational chart, employees are left to decide with whom they seek answers from, whom they need to seek approval from, and whom they talk to when there are issues. When new employees join the hospital they can easily see who they need to go to and why.

For leaders, an organizational chart is the first step in avoiding circumventing. Often a doctor is placed into a medical director role or a veterinary technician is given a supervisor title and then the team keeps going to the practice manager and ignoring the newly appointed leader. The team often claims “I didn’t know I was supposed to ask them.” Having an organizational chart that is posted can reinforce old habits of all employees going to just one person for help or advice.

Lastly, as the hospital grows the organizational chart can help to increase work efficiency. By visually seeing that the CSR manager has 30 direct reports it can lead to a discussion of why supervisor roles may be needed. The chart can grow as the hospital grows.

How to Create an Organizational Chart

How you organize your hospital structure is up to you. There are several different charts that could be used, but hands-down the largest one used is the hierarchy chart. If the hospital is large there may be several organizational charts. It may have one that displays top leadership only and another that displays middle leadership and eventually one that displays the team members in the hospital.

Each individual employee does not have to have their name in the organizational chart, but their job should be displayed. Ideally, leadership should have their name listed in the chart. This helps new employees learn about the team and who leads them.

From there you can build it out as small or large as your hospital needs. In the below example, you can see that the practice manager only has three people reporting directly to them: the medical director, veterinary technician manager, and front office manager. (Wouldn't that be nice? Just 3 people!)

The medical director, veterinary technician manager, and front office manager are on the same equal row, meaning they will need to collaborate. (Imagine that! Collaboration!) In looking at the model, if a veterinary technician were to go directly to the practice manager, that would be a break in the organizational chart structure. The veterinary technician should report to the veterinary technician manager.

The current structure in a human hospital allows for a hospital administrator, medical director, and director of nursing (chief of nursing) in almost every organizational chart example. As the tiers descend in the chart, you can find nursing supervisors, department managers, etc. Really, the sky is the limit!

I encourage all veterinary hospitals to create an organizational chart for the reasons listed above. Happy org charting!

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