Is Change in Your Pharmacy Good or Bad?

RMSPOS Change Road SignOn some level I’ve always viewed a fear of change as something slightly comedic.  After all, from TV sitcoms to romantic comedies, to commercials, there’s a recurring theme that those who fear change are less enlightened than those who adapt quickly to changing circumstances. But according to a new article, Why You’re So Afraid of Change,  those who think they roll with the punches with the best of them, might actually be fooling themselves and those who admit that they fear change just need to adapt to a new way of thinking.  

I have to admit that on first read through I was a bit skeptical but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.  Our brains don’t handle change well for the same reasons that it becomes exponentially more difficult to learn a foreign language as we get older.  As I started to pay attention to how change affected me I found a number of situations where I really hadn’t handled an alteration to my daily routine very well.  So if the first step to resolving a problem is admitting that you have a problem I could count step one as completed.  “I fear change, guilty as charged!”  Step two?  Tackle Dr. Roger Gil’s steps for coping with change more effectively.  In my personal life, I know that this will be an ongoing challenge, but what about in business?

As I read through the steps a second and then a third time, it occurred to me that so many of these practices are relevant to today’s independent pharmacy.  The uphill battle against change occurs every day and whether we like it or not, technology and business practices are evolving.  So how can you apply Dr. Gil’s steps to your Pharmacy?

“Accept the inevitability of change and its resulting stress.” StressRMS POS stressed out woman in business is nothing new.  As an independent pharmacy owner, manager, or technician, stress is a constant companion and no matter how well organized your business is you are bound to encounter change.  In 2007 many pharmacies had to purchase POS systems for the first time to gear up for the IIAS regulations governing FSA card acceptance. This was an exceedingly stressful time for pharmacy owners, but after the initial panic, many pharmacies began to thrive with the new capabilities that POS systems provided.   

“Think of change like a software upgrade”.  In Pharmacy Point-of-Sale, this is definitely one of the most applicable principles.  Technology really is constantly changing, and in order to benefit from it, we have to realign ourselves to function in the new environment.  If you make a significant change to your pharmacy environment, you may even have to help your customers get through their own “software upgrade.”  Many RMS customers that have adopted EvolutionPOS tell me that once their staff and their customers got used to the new format, the possibilities suddenly became endless.  This new way of thinking took some time, and of course it caused some stress, but in the end, their pharmacies benefited.

“Allow yourself to freak out, but always consider the upside.” When Dr. Gil wrote this piece of advice, I’m sure that he had negative change in mind. However, there are changes that we don’t like in business and technology that can actually be to our advantage.  PCI compliance is a pain, there’s no doubt about it, but it helps keep your customers protected.  Changes to Microsoft Word in Office 2007 threw me for a loop when they added the “ribbon” menu.  I complained and stomped my feet, and then I took the time to get used to the new format, and now I wouldn’t go back to the old Office menu even if I could.  The same goes for the new release of Windows 8.  It’s a big change and I’ll admit that I didn’t really want to try it, but once I wrapped my brain around the differences (and found the shut -down menu) I began to adapt to the new platform.

I hope that keeping these principles of change in mind will help me both personally and professionally and I would love to hear what your results are should you decide to apply any of these practices.  Don’t forget, no matter how big the change, we’ll always do our best at RMS to help you through it.