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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.

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 […]

The Goldilocks concept

Creative Disruption

How can we combine what independent veterinarians yearn for with the best of the corporate world?

Independent practices — mom and pops — have been the backbone of our profession for generations. They’re our industry’s baseball and apple pie. While we all know independent owners to be passionate, engaged in the community and superb health care providers, they also are notorious for being less-than-optimal business managers. Corporate practices have sought to […]

Put vets before pets

Creative Disruption

An unwavering commitment to your job can leave little time to take stock of what's missing from your life.

I ran this sentiment by several colleagues: “Vets before pets.” No surprise that each person’s first impression was less than favorable. It somehow sounded bad, uncomfortable, flat-out wrong. Perhaps it is. But nevertheless, allow me to explain. Our profession is wonderful; the value we add to society is unmatched. We are truly a double-
bottom-line profession. […]

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