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Community Pharmacy Owners: What is Your Level of Awareness?

Posted by Benjamin Coakley on Thu, Dec 05, 2013 @ 09:01 AM

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Our team at Waypoint has made it a habit to utilize a strategic coach in almost everything we do as a company.  The reason for this is we attended a seminar many years ago and the speaker was discussing "working on" rather than "working in" your business.  He clarified the difference by using an example of a CEO of a major children's clothing manufacturer. 

This CEO's company was doing great, but he knew it could do better.  He called in all the top executives to a round table discussion about how to improve the company.  When he realized that he was getting the same answers over and over again, he decided that they needed to bring someone in from the outside for a fresh and different perspective. 

Later, when he was asked why he made the decision, he simple noted, "We breath too much of our own air around here."  What he was saying is that you can be so caught up working in your business that it clouds your judgements when working on your business.  He essentially became AWARE of issues within the company that were keeping it from maximizing its potential.

The same can be true for pharmacies, pharmacy owners, and employees of pharmacies.  Running a community pharmacy is a demanding endeavor.  This is even truer today with all the third parties, PBMs, etc.  It is easy to get into the routine of working in the pharmacy and not on the pharmacy.  They say that ignorance is bliss.  Well, it is our experience that ignorance can lead to bad habits and money walking right out the front door of your pharmacy.  One example of this is we had an owner tell us in the past few months, that he had an employee robbing him blind and he never knew it.  He said that when he decided that he was going to start being AWARE of what was happening in the pharmacy, he quickly discovered this.  The extent of the fraud is yet to be determined.  This is an extreme example of what can happen if you are not aware and actively working on your pharmacy.

We also have found that lack of awareness can be an impediment to moving through the Community Pharmacist Lifecycle.  Identifying where you are is always the first step to creating a plan to get where you want to be.  The more quickly you assess your current situation and the more efficiently you move through this lifecycle, the more rewarding your life inside, outside and after pharmacy will be.  Unfortunately, this requires you allocating some time to working on your personal goals and on the pharmacy.  We will leave working on your personal goals to another blog.

To determine if you are spending adequate time working on the pharmacy rather than in the pharmacy, you need to ask yourself the right questions.  Below are five important questions to ask yourself.  If you answer no to any one of them, then you may want to consider looking for a strategic coach that can help you work on the pharmacy.

  1. Am I fully aware of the things happening around me in the pharmacy? 
  2. Have we ever received an outsider's perspective on the pharmacy?
  3. Has anyone ever assessed the experience we deliver to our patients?
  4. Is there a clear process for how I spend my time inside and outside the pharmacy?
  5. Does my staff understand the goals and mission of the pharmacy?

If you answered no to any of these questions, then we recommend you take action immediately.  We have included a link to a very valuable tool to help you get started with this.

My inspiration for this blog came from another blog about self awareness.  They use the example of starting to exercise and becoming aware of your body.  The more aware you become, the more you notice your flaws.  This can and will happen in your pharmacy.  This is not a bad thing.  This can be very constructive and help you make tremendous improvements to the pharmacy. 

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Where does this wisdom come from?

The content of this blog is inspired and verified by our experience helping independent community pharmacists enjoy financial independence during and after their life in pharmacy.

When a pharmacist reaches out to us for information and help, we endeavor to give them as much free value as is possible. In addition to providing educational, self-assessment and strategic planning tools (like The Helping Community Pharmacy Survey), we invite qualified pharmacists into our formal discovery process.

The first step of the process is completing The Inspired Goals Workshop. This 90-minute session enables us to deliver a detailed and personal Inspired Independence Blueprint. The blueprint provides a personalized roadmap for achieving your goals and enables you to fully understand the value of joining The Inspired Independence Program.

If you wish to learn more about any aspect of our work, the free value we offer, or to be considered for The Inspired Goals Workshop, visit our web site at or call 843.873.4420 and ask for Ben or Matt Coakley.

At Waypoint Pharmacist Advisors, we take care of you!

Topics: community pharmacy owner, community pharmacist, community pharmacy independence