Lessons on leadership from the leader of an amazing company

On Thursday I interviewed Brian Garish. He has perhaps the most inspiring job anywhere — running the largest general veterinary practice in the United States with more than 19,000 associates across 1,000 hospitals. His philosophy is that pets make people happy, and happy people can drive a better society.

Banfield has many ideas that we all can learn from, including how they pioneered preventive care back in 1988. Imagine if the 5,000 acute care human hospitals in the U.S. focused more on preventative care. It could lead to a new business model, and, in addition to helping society, could help hospital economics where the margins are often just 1%.

What really impressed me is Brian’s passion. He had dropped out of college and was stocking store shelves at Walgreens. Through a mentor he learned about the power of culture, and that “everyone controls the culture no matter what your position.” Ultimately Brian became inspired and completed college when he understood the importance of learning at a new level.

When I asked Brian the key to leading a great culture, he shared …

“Strategy doesn’t work without empathy. People are starving for transparent, compassionate leadership.”