No magic bullet for mission statements

December 13, 2019
Brendan Howard, Business Channel Director

Brendan Howard oversees veterinary business, practice management and life-balance content for dvm360.com, dvm360 magazine, Firstline and Vetted, and plans the Practice Management track at all three Fetch dvm360 conferences.Brendan has proudly served under the Veterinary Economics and dvm360 banners for more than 10 years. Before that, he worked as a journalist, writer and editor at Entrepreneur magazine and a top filmed entertainment magazine in Southern California. Brendan received a Masters in English Literature from University of California, Riverside, in 1999.

There's no one perfect way to craft a veterinary practice mission statement. But Fetch dvm360 speaker Bash Halow, LVT, CVPM, tried to sell attendees on one easy way to get started.

WrightStudio / stock.adobe.comA veterinary practice mission statement?

“I think I wrote it 20 years ago,” said one practice owner. “I don't know what it says anymore.”

That's typical, Bash Halow, LVT, CVPM, told his audience Thursday at Fetch dvm360 in San Diego.

But a great mission statement can do so many wonderful things for a business, especially healthcare businesses like veterinary hospitals. A good mission statement can:

• Identify what separates your hospital from the competition

• Breathe vitality into your day-to-day operations

• Make leading easier

• Inspire everyone in the hospital to live up to everything they can be

In its most basic form, a good mission statement is a sentence or two that merges what your business does with how your business does it. It's not a vision statement, or where you'd like to be in the future. It's not every fundamental belief that the leaders and employees of the practice live, although those core values can infuse it. Rather, it's who you are and what you do.

“It starts with the mission statement, and then the end product is a dialogue,” Halow said. “It's the start of a never-ending dialogue with everyone about what you want to accomplish and how to accomplish it.”

Ideally, Halow said, a hospital should have a written mission statement, but he's been in practices without one and they were fabulous: “They didn't have a mission statement, and that practice owner wore that fact like a sandwich board. They lived their statement.”

After selling attendees on the power of a mission statement for leading, managing, training and hiring staff, Halow had one idea for getting started making one: Ask yourself: “When was the last time you had a great day at work? What happened? And why were those things important to you?”

That'll get you started.