Growing Gains, Not Pains

American Veterinarian®December 2016
Volume 1
Issue 3

If you’ve had the privilege of working for a growing practice, you know how challenging it can be.

If you’ve had the privilege of working for a growing practice, you know how challenging it can be. Chris Zook and James Allen, authors of The Founder’s Mentality, call this the paradox of growth: it creates complexity, which is a silent killer of progress. They say the following challenges increase with an organization’s size and complexity:

• Revenues growing faster than talent

• Increasing distance from customers

• Complexity of decision making slowing down the company

• Inability to choose focus and direction

• Difficulty mobilizing resources

Zook and Allen offer a clear plan for ensuring that growth is gainful instead of painful. In their survey of executives, 85% cited internal barriers, not external ones (eg, the market, the government), as the primary obstacles to growth. In response, the authors have identified the following traits, called the Founder’s Mentality, as the formula for overcoming the usual barriers:

• The owner’s mindset: We must operate with a clear sense of purpose at all times.

• Front-line obsession: We must always focus on our customers’ wants and needs.

• Insurgency: We must avoid complexity and bureaucracy at all costs.

Note that these are not the typical top-down directives that saddle senior management with most of the responsibility for corporate change. To be effective, these traits must be adopted by every individual at all levels of an organization. Each employee must be persistently mindful of the connection between his/her deliverables and the customers. This is the simple, but powerful, seed from which a business can grow with health and endurance.

In employing the Founder’s Mentality, the mission of American VeterinarianTM is clear: to provide veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary assistants with the critical news and expert insight they require to best care for their patients and serve their clients. I believe in this mission and in our associates, who fulfill it by delivering the highest-quality education and information to veterinary professionals. Maintaining this focus is key to ensuring we don’t fall victim to the barriers of growth. I hope you and your practice will join us in pursuing the Founder’s Mentality to grow personally and corporately, with the shared goal of improving animal health and client services.

To help you excel in your work, this issue includes information on cutting-edge care, such as “The Use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Small Animal Medicine,” and notes key connections between human and animal medicine, as in “‘One Health’ Framework Can Be Used to Identify Zoonotic Endoparasites.” We also want to assist you in addressing clientele challenges, as in this issue’s “3 Ways Client Service Representatives Can Build Client Loyalty.” We trust that this issue will support you in providing the best possible patient care and service to your clients, and we are grateful for the opportunity to assist you in these endeavors.

Thank you for reading!

Mike Hennessy, Sr.

Chairman and CEO


  • Zook C, Allen J. Barriers and pathways to sustainable growth: harnessing the power of the founder's mentality. Bain & Company website. Accessed September 22, 2016.
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