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Bob Lester, DVM

Column: Creative Disruption

Dr. Bob Lester is a former practice owner and a founding member of Banfield Pet Hospitals and the Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine. He serves on the NAVC board of directors.

Dr. Bob Lester is a former practice owner and a founding member of Banfield Pet Hospitals and the Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine. He serves on the NAVC board of directors.

choices

Unintended consequences

Creative Disruption

You might be tracking the wrong key performance indicators. Try a few that focus on the pet, the owner and your employees.

Did you hear about Wells Fargo? For years, the company served as a role model in the banking world for exemplary customer service. Wells Fargo set a goal, or key performance indicator (KPI), to sell eight products to every customer. To accomplish this, they created the “Eight is great” motto, which incentivized employees to cross-sell […]

ocean

Come aboard!

Creative Disruption

The veterinary industry has a lot going for it, starting with the historic role pets play in everyday life. Staffing issues and the cost of care deserve attention, however.

Sailors are familiar with the phrase “fair winds and following seas.” The saying refers to ideal conditions for steering a ship. Our profession is enjoying both fair winds and a few rough seas. With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about our profession’s tailwinds and headwinds. Ever the optimist, I’ll start with tailwinds, which in […]

mentoring

It was meant to be

Creative Disruption

“Mentern” relationships between baby boomers and millennials allow for the exchange of knowledge and the smooth handoff of the veterinary profession from one generation to the next.

As I and millions of fellow baby boomers begin to see more of life in the rearview mirror than out the windshield, I often find myself reflecting: Have I served my family well, did I give back to the profession I dearly love, and where the hell are my glasses? It’s become abundantly clear that […]

technology

Bricks and clicks

Creative Disruption

Veterinary medicine will be in a world of hurt if it doesn’t embrace new and better ways of serving pets and clients.

Pet owners call your practice, make an appointment, drive to your hospital and wait in the lobby. We see them once a year if we’re lucky. By some estimates, half the pets in the U.S. won’t see a veterinarian this year. We then have maybe 20 minutes to address the presenting complaint and hopefully squeeze […]

Lincoln Memorial University

The future has arrived

Call it distributive education or community-based learning. Either way, veterinary students want it and benefit from it, and so do affiliated practices.

Today’s educational consumers, especially those pursuing advanced professional degrees, are motivated to select colleges that meet their expectations and better prepare them for a career. And frankly, through access to data, technology and social media, these students are more informed in the decision-making process than ever before. You might ask, “What are those students’ expectations?” […]

family

Life first, work second

For today’s young veterinary professionals, an excellent quality of life is a must-have. Practice owners need to embrace a new employment model if they want to hire and keep the best and brightest.

The game has changed in the world of veterinary employment, and to succeed in today’s market, practices need to play by new rules. Job applicants are looking for different things from an employer than in years past. For that reason, practices planning to hire and retain great new talent must understand two basic principles: There […]

One step at a time

Creative Disruption

The veterinary profession must and can do better with well-being. An incremental approach would get us turned around.

I am a big believer in innovation. Breakthrough ideas are inspiring, exciting and energizing. I look for opportunities to challenge the status quo; there’s always a better way to do things. That said, I try not to underestimate the power of incrementalism — one step at a time, bit by bit. While it’s not as […]

Choose optimism

Creative Disruption

The veterinary profession is awash in change and opportunity. You should be excited to be part of this era.

I tell students every chance I get that there has never been a better time to be a veterinarian. I believe it. Dr. Google, rising competition, Amazon, consolidation, increasing complexity of running a vet biz, struggle to get cats in the door, staff turnover, accounts receivable, compliance and grumpy clients — I get it. Painting […]

Let’s get personal

Creative Disruption

Understanding when the white coat is off or on is a key to successful personal and professional growth.

Most of life — family, activities, community involvement, growth — happens when our white coats or scrubs are off. In my experience as a mentor, mentee, coach, educator, friend and sponsor, I see most organizations focusing on the white-coat-on (i.e., professional development) side of the ledger while short-changing the far more important white-coat-off side. I’ve […]

Opportunity knocks

Creative Disruption

Millennials spend more on veterinary care and pet services than any other generation, so what are you doing to embrace them?

For decades, baby boomers have been a dominant force in our profession both as consumers and colleagues. No longer. Millennials — hereafter referred to as PetGen (you’ll see why) — are now the primary pet-owning demographic. Thirty-five percent of U.S. pet owners are members of PetGen, which grew up with the internet and smartphones and […]

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