June 18, 2018
Inside: Pharmacy managers and owners can’t afford to ignore this one surprising trick to improve pharmacy management. It’ll help improve your pharmacy business right away.
As a pharmacy owner or manager, you have a lot going on.
Between managing employees, counseling patients, dispensing prescriptions, overseeing operations, and making important business decisions—and that’s the short list—you’re probably wondering how and why you’d add anything else to your task list.
But if you’re like the majority of people in the U.S., there’s still one thing you’re not doing enough.
About a quarter of American adults haven’t read a book in whole or in part in the past year. In 2016, the percentage of American adults who read literature was the lowest in three decades, according to the National Endowment for the Arts.
Reading, especially reading about topics outside your industry, may seem like the least worthwhile activity to add to your ever-growing list.
But it’s more important than you think. Especially for your leadership, your management, and your business.
Take one of the most successful business leaders in the country, Warren Buffet. When asked about the key to success, he said, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”
Of course, reading about pharmacy and about management can help you manage your business better. But reading books unrelated to pharmacy can do as much good—if not more.
Deep, broad reading will make you better at pharmacy management. Here’s why.
For many people, reading a book about an industry or a topic that doesn’t directly affect their day-to-day can feel like a waste of time. They have plenty of tasks to do, news to read, and industry changes to keep up with.
But reading books and articles from other industries can uniquely improve your work at your pharmacy.
“For one, there are lessons to be learned from how other industries and professionals handle challenges that impact any business, such as employee relations, customer acquisition, and marketing,” said Shakira M. Brown, Business Consultant and CEO of SMB Strategic Media LLC, a boutique brand communications firm. The firm helps small businesses get to the heart of why customers buy their goods and services by helping them clarify their message.
“By tapping into a vast knowledge base of other professionals/industries, pharmacy managers can discover solutions to problems without the expense of paying someone to help them.”
Running a pharmacy business requires skills and knowledge in many areas. Reading books on topics outside the pharmacy industry can provide insight into your business in unique ways.
Consider reading topics like:
For example, a book like “Crucial Conversations” can have as much relevance to your pharmacy business as “Good to Great” because you not only need to understand how to grow your business but also how to relate well to people. If you know how to create a flawless business plan but don’t know how to have difficult conversations with employees or patients, your business will suffer.
Reading widely can also inspire you. Biographies of great men and women, stories of success, and other narratives can spark thoughts and ideas you wouldn’t get from anything else.
Reading provides insight and knowledge.
One study concluded that high literacy results in “more world knowledge in addition to the abstract reasoning skills.”
More general knowledge will help you solve different situations within your pharmacy business. You’ll solve a more diverse set of problems and come up with more innovative solutions.
“The more ideas you consider and understand, the broader the ability to contribute to the organization’s objectives,” said Jon M. Quigley, a principal and founding member of Value Transformation, a product development training and cost improvement organization.
“Managers are held to a different expectation than employees. Constant reading and exposure to new ideas can perhaps improve the ability to meet the demands of the situation.”
Empathy is an essential characteristic of an effective leader.
When you understand the feelings of others, you can:
And, data shows that empathetic leaders are more likely to earn pay raises and promotions.
No books cultivate empathy quite like fiction. Studies link reading literature to an increased ability to interpret the mental states of others.
When you read literature, you interact with the inner lives of other people. It helps you imagine what it’s like being in another person’s shoes. This basic practice, the studies show, improves empathy.
And increased empathy leads to improved social skills. In the same study on the effects of reading fiction, participants who read the most fiction scored highest on the measurements of social acumen.
When the World Economic Forum asked CEOs for one book that made them better leaders, the co-founder of successful running apparel brand Janji didn’t recommend a business or a leadership book. He recommended a novel.
“‘East of Eden‘ really nails the human condition,” he said. “It taught me we’re all looking for acceptance—which I think has made me more empathetic.”
Talking like Shakespeare probably won’t inspire your employees. But a broad vocabulary enables you to find the right word at the right time.
Finding precise words to describe something makes your communication clearer and more effective.
You won’t get that range of vocabulary from anything but the written word. According to a USC Berkeley study, “The categories of adult reading matter contain words that are two or three times rarer than those heard on television.” And these aren’t pretentious words that no one else will understand. “They are words that are necessary to make critical distinctions in the physical and social world in which we live.”
So, reading will sharpen your vocabulary and make you a more adept communicator.
With industry consolidations, PBM tactics, and a changing economy, the pharmacy industry likely feels uncertain today.
In uncertain times, reading can do wonders. One study found that people who read fiction showed an increased tolerance for uncertainty.
They were better at thinking creatively and engaged with more ideas. The others were more likely to need quick closure.
Reading can help your health mentally and physically.
Managing a business can cause a lot of stress. But studies show reading can reduce stress better than most traditional methods of relaxation.
Opening a book for just six minutes can reduce stress by 68 percent, according to one study. Reading slowed the participants’ heart rates and eased muscle tension. They reached even lower stress levels than before they started the experiment.
So, next time you’re feeling stressed, pick up a book.
Start reading more today and become better at pharmacy management.
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