The Rules of Pharmacy Ownership


Rules and regulations are important, but standards of excellence are of greater concern.

Mastery of leadership principles leads to what I call “the governance of your pharmacy.” To that end, rules and regulations are important, but standards of excellence are of greater concern.

Every pharmacy owner creates rules and regulations for his or her organization. Although they’ll vary by pharmacy, a few you should consider include:

  • No smoking inside the pharmacy
  • If you have to be absent for a serious reason, notify the proper individual according to the procedure in your employee handbook.

Here’s a caveat: never create a rule that you can’t enforce. Sometimes, you’ll bend or break a rule, especially if you have a valued employee, but do so at your own discretion.

On the other hand, you may want to hold employees accountable for performance. To do so, you should implement standards of excellence, which are essentially permanent goals.

Here are a few:

  • Answer the telephone by the third ring
  • Always return phone calls the same day, regardless of closing time
  • Always acknowledge a customer’s presence within 30 seconds of his or her arrival

These examples are all about customer service, which should be first and foremost among the standards you address, though you can supplement your list with several more. I’d also admonish you to think beyond customer service because you can find numerous applications in other areas of your pharmacy.

Profitability is one example. It may not be something you’ll want to comply with, but it may be used as a guideline for your own thinking and strategizing.

Anecdotal Example

A pharmacist named Mark was almost ready to open his new dream pharmacy. When I asked him to submit a list of standards of excellence, he responded with a combination of a few standards.

Some were policies, other were strategies, and there were additional thoughts that had good rhetoric but no measurements. He’d made a good start, but when I focused his attention on how his standards would be structured, he came up with a list that was far more meaningful to his newfound pharmacy.

Standards of excellence are extremely valuable when you create your own dream pharmacy. In fact, they’re a necessary component for building success. I have 18 of them for my own small team.

The Pharmacy Sage can be reached at (518) 346-7021 or

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