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  • Carolyn Becker, CVPM, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CVT

Does It Matter?

One of my favorite questions to ask myself when managing people is, “Does it matter?” This simple question has the power to hit the pause button and really put things in perspective.


This query has become ingrained in my internal dialogue. I ask this question when faced with any situation in which I am trying to determine if there is truly a problem that needs to be resolved, or if my focus should be elsewhere. It works well with performance issues, conduct concerns, straying from protocol, all sorts of things.


As managers, we have a finite amount of time and energy. Before expending a ton of these precious resources fretting about how to deal with something, ask this question to help keep things in perspective. Some things do matter, and some protocols and policies exist to help prevent mistakes, to ensure consistency in our procedures, to protect our patients, and to deliver high class service to our clients. But there are other times when several different pathways will lead to the same goal.


Humans are unique, imaginative and inventive beings. There is often more than one way to achieve a result. As leaders, we want to nurture that creative spirit, and yet there are times when consistency is important. Asking yourself this question will bring focus to the situation.


Does it matter if the tech labels the blood tubes before or after drawing the sample?

Does it matter that a certain DVM likes to start rounds at the far end of treatment?

Does it matter if two of the kennel staff swapped shifts?


Some of these things do matter, and you’ll have to determine that based on your hospital culture and what is best for your practice. There might be more information you need to gather before you can decide what truly matters, and to what degree. What’s the impact on the team, on the patients, on the clients? What are the anticipated results if it is addressed? What are the potential ramifications of allowing it to be?


If it matters, then by all means, jump in. And if it doesn’t, well, let it go. Invest your energies elsewhere.


So next time you are faced with a potential issue, ask yourself, does it matter?

It might. Then again, it might not. At least ask yourself the question.

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