Axe throwing and the value of building strong workplace teams

by By Katie McClean

9 min read

Quick. Who’s your favorite team? Don’t think. Just answer.

I’m guessing your mind jumped straight to sports. Am I right? Perhaps your hometown Major League Baseball team or your college’s basketball team. Maybe your kid’s track team or your local high school’s football team. Or maybe a team from your past – one you played on years ago – still stands out as one of the best.

While many of us think of sports when asked this question, we should also consider the value of workplace teams. The team that helped deliver my daughter was exceptional. The team at our favorite restaurant runs like a well-oiled machine. And the team at my eye doctor’s office is so good, I refuse to find another office closer to home.

So, who’s my favorite team? My current team of co-workers at VetSuccess takes the top spot. Our team has many of the same characteristics I appreciate and respect when I think of other teams I admire: dedication, cooperation, a passion for their work, solid communication, flexibility, and an openness to adapt, grow, and improve.

Katie's work team posing in front of axe-throwing targets.

Building great teams require great leaders

There’s no cookie-cutter approach to building great teams. Nor are they easy to create, especially in an extremely busy environment like a veterinary practice. [bctt tweet=”Making a great team requires an insightful leader who celebrates successful collaboration”] as well as individual achievements. VetSuccess is lucky to have that in our founder, Martin.

When you consider that every employee has a different work style, communication style, and set of idiosyncrasies, being a great leader can be bit daunting, but if personality traits are properly fostered, even the folks at opposite ends of the spectrum can get along and advance the business.

Hard work combined with bonding time equals fun work

Creating a top-notch team takes hard work but there’s no reason that work can’t also be fun! I believe that when we, at VetSuccess, take part in activities together, we naturally start to become a better team. When I go to lunch with my colleagues, I get to know more about them that day than I did the previous day. That matters. When we have our team retreats, we are all acutely focused on working hard and playing hard! This sparks constructive discussions, productive arguments, and a lot of laughter. All of this cultivates growth and advancement toward our common company goals.

The team that plays together stays together

Most recently, our entire team participated in a team building event. We went axe throwing! Who knew that throwing axes could be so much fun?!

A gif of someone throwing an axe at a target.

Three things struck me about the day:

  • We have a lot of competitive people on our team.
  • Even though we are competitive, encouragement was never lacking from any team member.
  • The downtime between axe throwing was just as much fun as the axe throwing itself. It gave us the chance to chat over beers. (Yes, they allow you to drink and throw axes!)

Team downtime can’t be forced, but if you don’t create occasions that allow for it, you’ll miss out on opportunities to foster trust, fun, creativity, commitment, and understanding. And when those opportunities happen, magic happens. When magic happens, clients notice. Pets notice.
A hand holding up a beer in front of targets.

A strong team is one in which every player’s contribution counts

Helen Keller famously said, “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” The standard of care you provide to your patients and the quality of work we provide to our clients is only as good as our respective teams allow.

One thing is certain – you, as an individual, cannot run your businesses on your own. From the moment a client and patient walk through your doors to the moment they leave, interactions with your team at each and every touchpoint make all the difference. When the hand-off between touchpoints is strengthened by memories, laughter, collaboration, learning, trust, and hard work, the sum is certainly greater than its parts. A happy, team-focused business makes for happy customers.

Team building doesn’t have to cost a lot of money

Team-building initiatives can involve your pets, volunteering, lunch-time trivia (we play a lot of games at VetSuccess), or a dinner out after work. Especially for animal lovers, Paws for a Cause offers a number of fun team-building activities. Want to have some team fun while simultaneously lowering your practice’s lapsed patient rates? The VetSuccess Forward-Booking Staff Meeting in a Box includes a staff engagement game that’s not unlike Bingo. Give it a try. It’s free!

Regardless of what you choose, [bctt tweet=”team activities nurture a positive and productive work environment, both of which are essential”] to your company success. So go out, have fun, drink up, eat, play, laugh, create, collaborate, communicate, grow, and bond. Your entire team will be so glad you did.

Katie McClean is the COO for VetSuccess. She manages general processes for VetSuccess and oversees the client services team. She also works closely with veterinary practice groups, implementing the VetSuccess Dashboard as a dynamic and customized data offering for owners and executives.

Katie McClean

Katie McClean

Katie McClean is the Managing Director for VetSuccess. She manages general processes for VetSuccess and oversees the client services team. She also works closely with veterinary practice groups, implementing the VetSuccess Dashboard as a dynamic and customized data offering for owners and executives. Katie can be reached at [email protected].

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