5 Big Waves affecting the veterinary profession

What are the 5 Big Waves affecting the veterinary profession?

What are the 5 Big Waves affecting the veterinary profession?

Let me tell you a story….

At 01:00 hours on Boxing Day 2004 there was a massive earthquake in the Eastern Indian Ocean. This created a huge displacement wave on the ocean floor, which resulted in a tidal surge moving east and west across the Indian Ocean at 150 mph. This is relatively harmless in the deep ocean, but once it hits shallow water it creates a tsunami of devastating speed and size.

We’ve all seen the video footage of the widespread devastation and loss of life it caused in coastal communities from Japan to Africa.

Maldives arial viewThe Maldives; an isolated community of around 400,000 people was one particular area that was affected. Courtesy of hundreds of coral atolls in the Mid-Indian Ocean, the Maldives community actually felt the earthquake as it occurred. However, they didn’t pay much attention at the time and could not have known they needed to prepare for what was yet to come.

At 9.30am the tsunami hit causing huge damage to the islands – leaving 82 dead and 24 missing, presumed dead.

The Maldives is the lowest lying country in the world, on average 1.8m above sea level and nowhere more than a few hundred metres from the sea.

So why wasn’t the damage so much worse? Fortunately, the inhabited areas lie within protected coral atolls surrounded by reefs, which took the brunt of the tsunami force and reduced the size and speed to a much smaller, but still devastating tidal surge.

Since then some of the islands have rebuilt their infrastructure and community to a thriving tourist economy – not in the least due to the resilience and persistence of the people that live there. However, some islands are still abandoned and sadly have never recovered.

Tsunami assembly pointNow, I don’t want to diminish or trivialise the damage suffered in the 2004 tsunami but I do want to borrow the metaphor of the devastation major unexpected events can have on communities and industries AND also reflect upon the resilience of the people, their businesses and those affected by these changes.

The question I want to ask is: Do you, your business and your team have the personal resilience, the professional business skills and the purposefulness to withstand the changes to come?

I am Alan Robinson. At Vet Dynamics, we work to improve veterinary practice performance, leadership and teams, to continually enhance animal welfare and the lives of vets and their teams all around the world.

At the Vet Dynamics Business Bootcamp I would like to share with you, my thoughts and concerns about the 5 major waves of change due to affect our profession and the impact that is going to have on you, your business and your team.

Well, you might say, there’s always been change – so what’s new?

Yes, waves of change of various intensity have come and gone – and we’ve survived. What is happening this time is unprecedented and of a scale never seen before. AND the 5 waves I will be talking about are converging into the ‘Perfect Storm’ of change that is going to be either a profound threat to many OR a profound opportunity for others.

Which of these applies to you will depend on whether you have a ring-fenced buffer – like the coral atolls, and the elevation and a place of safety you can maintain above the coming change.

The 5 waves are not discrete. They will mix and merge as one giant tsunami of change.  There are essentially 3 external merge-trends and 2 seismic internal trends.

Wave 1:  is the Economy – what is it going to do over the next 5 years? We have seen the volatility of Dot Com, Global Financial Meltdown and the current mega boom. Add to this the current Geo-political cycle of Brexit, Trump, ISIS, Syria, Egypt and the EU – something has to give.

So what does this mean to you and your business?

Wave 2:  is closer to home as a significant inflection point in world demographics. The moving out of the post-war Baby Boom generation; the largest, most influential, most consumptive generation ever – ‘the pig moving through the python’. Transitioning into their legacy phase – what will that be?

They are being replaced as clients and employees by the GenerationX – the ‘lost’ generation and the Millennials, the ‘I don’t want that’ generation.

What does this mean as a fundamental shift in world view and human needs? Personally, commercially and as communities?

Wave 3:  is a duo of changes within our professional infrastructure.  They are Corporatisation and Commoditisation. No one really knows what these changes will mean however they will have an impact on:

  • Employment
  • Career paths
  • The division of clinical and management
  • Skill levels and polarisation
  • Consumer choice


There is a feeling that this will suppress the intrinsic motivators of entrepreneurial spirit that has up to now, driven vets and vet businesses to build quality clinical care, client experience, financial success and team performance.

Are we actually now driving business models that are swapping purpose for profit – and people for processes?

Wave 4:  with the above comes the fear of perceived Competition. Is this just corporates or are there other things to worry about? Is it the new practice, corporate or otherwise, the internet, lack of vets, regulation or bureaucracy that is going to be the competitive threat? There are three key principles to bear in mind:

  1. Practices fail from the inside – out (NOT because of competition)
  2. Most practices are too busy:
  • To practice good medicine
  • To deliver excellent customer service
  • To increase and sustain profitability

3. You do not need more clients – you need better relationships with your existing clients to be profitable

The solution to this challenge lies in identity and positioning.

Wave 5: is advancements in technology:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Robotics
  • Virtual reality
  • Biological Nano-technology
  • Communication
  • Education
  • And the actual value information


As vets, we are no longer the purveyors of veterinary knowledge – all this is freely available – we need to become the curators of information. To remain significant and relevant as a profession, we need to let go of the certainty and authority of ‘the white coat’ and instead become curators of wisdom within our community. The questions are: How difficult will this be? How is it possible? And can it be learnt? 

Perhaps the more fundamental question is, “Why should I care?”

Whether you are a start-up, want to stay in the game or want to exit with a legacy, these changes will affect you and you have a choice to make.

We at Vet Dynamics do care, and so we are inviting you to join us at our Bootcamp in May – a life and business re-boot.

We will explore all of these changes in detail and show you the choices you have and the consequences or benefits of those choices.

We will show you your own personal leadership style using the Wealth Dynamics profile, which is free to all delegates, and we will pinpoint where you are on the Veterinary Business Spectrum and give you the exact strategies and next actions required to build your protective atoll and the elevation you need to survive and thrive over the next 5 years.

Click here for more information or to book your place.

See you there!

Alan Robinson

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