Truly Invested Leaders
Why the most successful veterinary hospitals have leaders who lead from the heart.
Why is cultivating a healthy culture through mentorship pivotal for an organization?
Sprinkle: When I was the COO at PetPartners, there was a time when I visited 36 of our hospitals in three months. It was both incredibly grueling and an irreplicable learning experience that influenced the values that are the bedrock of Encore’s philosophy. I learned that the underpinnings of a successful hospital can’t be manufactured or reproduced easily because it isn’t about the numbers. The thing that the most successful hospitals had in common were impenetrable cultures and truly invested leaders who led from the heart. After starting Encore Vet Group in 2019, I thought to myself, “How do we reverse engineer an organization that breeds the highest quality cultures in our hospitals? If we can do that, the rest will fall into place.” Sixty-three hospitals in, and that hypothesis has been proven repeatedly, and I truly believe it’s what has led us to the explosive growth we’ve experienced over the past three years.
How was mentorship important in your own growth journey?
Sprinkle: My growth journey is a wonderful collection of people and experiences over my lifetime. The relentless pursuit of information and perspective has been critical to my path and has forced me out of my comfort zone over and over again. I think my position leading a veterinary community relied on a handful of great veterinarians that I have been blessed to work with over the last 20+ years. The time they have all given me to understand their calling, their fears, their challenges, and their dreams have taught me the most important lessons that drive my leadership at Encore. I also have the unique opportunity to not only be mentored by my dad in life, but also in business. Twenty years working side by side is something not many get to do with a parent.
How does a national organization foster strong local leaders?
Sprinkle: When we started Encore in 2019, we hired a director of education and training, Michelle Winter, before we even hired a CFO. That’s how important it was to invest in our local leadership. The training room in our corporate office is where the rubber meets the road. We bring in practice leaders from around the U.S. and train them on all sorts of things that matter within the four walls of their hospitals. Everything from inventory management to strategic leadership. It’s a sophisticated program meant to unite practice leaders and build a culture among hospital team members across the entire organization.
Additionally, our operational structure is set up to group similar hospitals into pods, so they always have a network of colleagues to call when challenges arise.
MEET THE LEADER
Lance Sprinkle was recently named president and chief executive officer of Encore Vet Group. He’s spent the last 20 years in corporate veterinary leadership roles, guiding veterinary finance, operations, and development teams.