Mouhamad Zoghbi is a nurse by profession, has two siblings who are pharmacists and is married to a pharmacy assistant.
He is also a medical representative for a global drug manufacturer.
He has just written and published a book titled “A Prescription for Pharmacy”.
As its’ title implies, pharmacy may be a sick patient and the book itself is a timely set of values from someone whose culture is outside that of a pharmacist, but because of his own family and personal culture, he is able to deliver insights that pharmacists may not be able to “see” for themselves.
He has also delivered a timely publication because it comes at the end of a pharmacy cycle, where the major “core” – the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme – has reached the end of its life cycle.
Pharmacists everywhere are seeking to build a new aspect to their culture and adapt their “core” to create the fulfilling professional life they are all capable of and all aspire to, but have trouble in delivering.
This objective book from someone centred in pharmacy, yet still outside of it, I believe to be a very important book for all pharmacists who wish to re-establish their “roots”.
The following is a blog post by Mouhamad which leads to the book cover and beyond to an excerpt from the book.
‘The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.’
Almost every person or organisation needs to motivate others to take a specific action. Some want a customer to make a purchase, some are looking for support or a vote, and others want to push the people around them to work harder.
It is not particularly hard to motivate people to take the action you desire. Tempting incentives in the form of discounts for customers or financial rewards for your staff are used across many industries to encourage desired behaviour, while the threat of punishment and warnings is often used to discourage undesirable behaviour. In the pharmacy industry, we see such incentives on a daily basis as pharmacies create constant discounts to undercut the pharmacy next door. However, while these incentives entice customers to walk in for a cheaper price, they eat away profit and do not create loyalty between the customer and your pharmacy. They also create an environment where your team is under pressure to sell more volume, which creates more dissatisfaction among your team members.
However, as Simon Sinek writes in Start with Why, ‘Great leaders, in contrast, are able to inspire people to act.
Those who are able to inspire give people a sense of purpose or belonging that has little to do with any external incentive or benefit to be gained.
Those who truly lead are able to create a following of people who act not because they were swayed, but because they were inspired. For those who are inspired, the motivation to act is deeply personal.
They are less likely to be swayed by incentives. Those who are inspired are willing to pay a premium or endure inconvenience, even personal suffering. Those who are able to inspire will create a following of people-supporters, voters, customers, workers-who act for the good of the whole not because they have to, but because they want to.’
Such leaders are rare, especially in the health care industry where I believe they are desperately needed.
However, where they exist, staff are fulfilled, customers are loyal and communities are strengthened.
These leaders start by asking a simple question that revolutionises their existence, their pharmacies, and the way they lead. That question is – why am I in pharmacy?
The rise of the retail pharmacy
These pressures have transformed the face of the pharmacy industry.
Rather than remaining a customer-centric hub of the community, where pharmacists were trusted and respected, pharmacy teams treasured their customers and called them by name, and customers were loyal, pharmacies across Australia have transformed into retail establishments.
The moment the ‘community pharmacy’ became the ‘retail pharmacy’, we lost the true essence of the community pharmacy. The moment that customer numbers, upsells and the bottom line became more important than building a genuine connection, listening to questions and reassurance, the idea of the ‘community pharmacy’ lost its value.
At that moment, the ‘community pharmacy’ became replaceable with any large discount chain or supermarket.
With the rise of the retail pharmacy, no value is placed on the pharmacy serving a deeper purpose, the pharmacy nurturing its staff and providing a nourishing culture for them, or the pharmacy genuinely supporting customers.
Instead, the focus is making the sale.
Health is now a commodity and it is only available to the highest bidder.
And this focus impacts every area of the pharmacy.
The fall of pharmacy leaders
With the constant pressure to cut costs and squeeze every cent of profit from their customers, pharmacists and pharmacy owners find themselves in a state of constant stress to make ends meet.
The adrenaline rushing through their systems increases their heart rates, constricts their arteries and increases their blood pressure, leaving them tense and on edge as their bodies race to catch up.
This creates a situation where they feel like they’re constantly fighting fires.
They starve their capacity to serve and inspire because they are too preoccupied with balancing the books, gaining the highest market share, having the highest growth and creating the biggest discounts to lure in customers.
These financial pressures force pharmacy owners to think of customers as transactions rather than people, and they reduce staff conversations with customers to save time rather than improving the relationship between their customers and their team. They try to make the sale as quickly as possible rather than focusing on what the customer really needs.
In short, the pharmacist creates a culture that’s all about taking from the customer rather than giving value-added support.
Before long, the cracks begin to show.
Team members become disengaged and need to be constantly reminded to serve, impatience kicks in between the team members, trust breaks down, and soon every team member is only looking out for themselves.
In the end, the pharmacist is so focused on solving their current problems that the pharmacy as a whole lacks purpose and long-term business planning.
What they don’t realise is that this focus on fighting today’s fires only ensures more fires will ignite tomorrow.
The above excerpts will give you some idea of the quality of thought and detail that is being presented.
You are invited to share in the launch of this book which will be held on Saturday, November 14th from 9am-4pm.
Trains do arrive to Newcastle station which is a 5 minute drive from the venue.
Mouhamad will make sure you are picked up from the station.
Phone him on 045 052 8022.