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I'v recently been promoted from staff retail pharmacist to pharmacy operations manager of my company (8 store chain). I love the concept of routine one on ones - the problem is retail pharmacists have to legally be in the pharmacy at all times AND our company only staffs one pharmacist per location at any given moment. Getting interrupted can become frustrating and is often unavoidable (since patients need there medicine, doctor need to call in prescriptions, etc.).

Is it worth trying? If not, is there another model that may work for me better? My goal is to simply stay in contact so direct reports feel they know me and I know them.

Everyone, thanks in advance for any feedback!

-Anthony

Mark's picture

Anthony-

First, thanks for putting your name in the body of your note. Some folks want privacy, and we respect that always, but I really like being able to use someone's name, because I think they like it too (though of course some don't care).

Your point is an interesting one.

I take it these guys eat lunch in the pharmacy?

My recommendation, not knowing more (and frankly routinely (no offense) discounting statements like "always"), is to do the one on one over the phone. They'll be in the pharmacy. If you can go to them, even better... I don't know what your schedule is, and/or distances.

Phone one on ones work FINE. The only issue will be THEM choosing to be less available to customers. I know this sounds "non service oriented", but they're already doing this anyway, and are on the phone off and on all day...

Am I helping...?

Mark

RxMan's picture

Yes Mark, you're helping (we don't need to go into how much your other podcasts have helped! )

I was also thinking that phone 1O1s would be the best alternative. Believe it or not, most pharmacists to not get an "official" lunch break and just have to "eat when they can". Doesn't seem right I know! That's an entire issue within itself. Wal-mart and Target have recently started shutting down their pharmacies for lunch (1/2 hr).

My schedule is no problem at all. I do staff occationally when vacations are heavy, but that is less than 6-7 days per month. My dilemma is that the productive nature of the face meeting has so many uncontrollable variables for me (customers, doctors, emergencies, etc.) I can choose to ignore a phone call, I can hang a [i]do not disturb [/i]sign on [i]my[/i] door, but not theirs.

I don't want them to feel like they have to choose between our meeting and customer's needs. Great situation huh? Since you have not dealt alot with pharmacy (in particular retail pharmacy) I will also say that the "us vs. them" syndrom is very prominent in this career. It is my believe that this is caused in large part by things like lack of communication with direct reports (in this situation, pharmacy team leaders).

Thanks,
Anthony

Mark's picture

Anthony-

So, go with phones, make it about them, and try to deliver as much value as you can by following up on their concerns as quickly as you can.

Wal-Mart has been a client of mine, as well as other retail chains, so I'm very sensitive to the customer vs. meeting concern. I've spent THOUSANDS of hours in retail stores, and while I'm sure I'll be killed for saying this, I know I'm right: the customer focus is 90+% of the time a screen for not wanting to think about doing things better, being a part of a larger organization, getting feedback, etc. Customer interactions for many are fairly easy, and are very important to the org... and they hide many, many sins. Under the circumstances, you don't have a choice between "you and the customer"...

Keep us posted!

Mark

RxMan's picture

Will-do Mark, thank man!!

-Anthony

RxMan's picture

Update on O3's in the retail pharmacy arena. I've decided phone is the best and (really) only way to do O3's with pharmacists. However, my next issue deals with the content I can talk to them about. It seems to me that the power of the O3 is it provides an environment for you and your direct report to discuss issues of all types. However, my only option is to do it by phone - [b]with other staff around [/b](technicians that work in the pharmacy). I feel I can't maximize the potential of doing O3's because different people with vary on what they will discuss with co-workers around. I don't want to make someone discuss an interdept issue or miss something because they won't discuss it when people are around. Any advice!

-Thanks,
Anthony

Mark's picture

Anthony-

Yes, I can see where that would be a problem. I'm not sure whether you mean people around YOU, or around THEM, but either way, it does dampen things.

Do the best you can, and consider pushing yourself to more regularly get out to see them face to face.

Mark

RxMan's picture

Will do Mark - thanks for the input. It's a tough situation, but I'll make the best of it (in the name of effectiveness!).

Oh, and I was referring to people around[b] them [/b]vs. around me. I'm in an area where I can speak privately.

Thanks again,
Anthony

compharm's picture

RxMan,
I am in a similar situation with some retail pharmacies spread across a 3 hour drive in South Florida. How have the 1 on 1's worked out for you? Can you give me some insight on what happens when Dr's are calling in Rx's, or a patient needs counseling? Aren't you being constantly interrupted? Each pharmacy will typically only have 1 pharmacist per shift with no overlap...