Manage Like a Professional Golfer


This past week at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky I had an opportunity to witness the world’s greatest golfers compete at the highest level.  I had a blast this weekend, but Monday means back to work, so on the plane ride home this morning I started thinking about how pharmacy managers can learn from people like Rory McIlroy.


Many people tuned in Sunday evening to watch Rory take home his 4th major trophy thanks to 340 yard drives, big sand saves, and solid putting.  While his talent is remarkable, the end result was years in the making as Rory has put in an amazing amount of work and preparation to get his game to the level.  In addition to his work hitting golf balls, his efforts in the gym are obvious as he added seven pounds of muscle in two months to add strength and stability to his golf swing.  While pharmacists may not need to be physically ripped to excel in their profession, working out our brains is critical to staying in “peak condition” as a clinician.  Staying current on pharmacy practice, new drugs and guidelines, and legal issues is the duty of every pharmacist.  As a manager, you have the added need to stay current on all performance metrics of your business and the needs of your employees and customers.  If you want to be the best manager you can be, then you need to put in the prep work and study up.


Walking with the most popular players (Rory, Tiger, Phil, Ricky, etc.) this weekend taught me that these guys have an uncanny ability to focus.  Even with 45,000 fans on the golf course constantly yelling and cheering the golfers are still able to hit perfect shot after shot.  The pharmacy is full of distractions.  While I doubt patients are sitting in your waiting area yelling “GO PHIL!” (as they do every ten seconds following Phil Mickelson on the course), many pharmacists deal with constant phone ringing, drive thru bells, and other random noises.  Pharmacists unable to zone out and focus often struggle to perform at a high level in busy environments.

Attention To Detail

When most amateurs tee off, they step up to the ball and swing away with little to no routine or purpose other than to hit the ball as far as possible.  The pros, however, are meticulous with everything about their game.  Just watch the 30 seconds or so before they swing and pay attention to how they approach a shot and every move they make.  This constant routine helps provide a consistent product, which in this case is a perfectly struck golf shot.  While pharmacists are great at paying attention to the details when verifying the accuracy of a prescription, many pharmacists do not pay attention to other details in their job that are very important as well.  Details such as body language, punctuality, and professionalism (just to name a few) can help set an example for everyone else in the pharmacy.  Being extremely knowledgeable about patient care is great, but if you dress like a slob and are rude to your patients or technicians, you may find it hard to be an effective pharmacy manager.  Think of the simple things like wearing professional clothes or maintaining a friendly demeanor as a part of your “pre-shot routine” in the pharmacy.

Joey Mattingly, PharmD, MBA is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy located in Baltimore, Maryland. Joey has managed retail and long-term care pharmacy operations in Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana. Leading Over The Counter is a blog of Joey's views and opinions on the topics of pharmacy leadership and management and do not represent the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Joey can be followed on Twitter @joeymattingly.

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