Do you know your main personality trait as a vet?

We all tend to do the same things, but we all do them differently.

That’s because it depends on your avatar, says Alastair Macdonald, brilliant business consultant and strategic serial entrepreneur.

There are 4 avatars, which you can remember by the acronym CFPs: the Clinical, the Financial, the Professional, and the Social vet.

You can see where each avatar is positioned in the graphic.


The Clinical vet loves the art of clinical veterinary medicine and focuses on clinical excellence.

They can’t get enough CE. They could work in clinics all week long.

Everything reflects this focus on technical skills: meticulous attention to detail, the high quality of medicine, the efficiency and training of the team, the appearance of the practice, and the state-of-the-art equipment.

This last point makes the Clinical vet a bit of a geek or a techie.

Who wouldn’t want to be a Clinical vet then?

Focusing mostly on clinical practice has downsides.

The practice might struggle because of high account receivables, high inventory, and low profits.

Relationships with team members and clients are not the greatest, which results in a poor culture. There is often conflict between “front” and “back”.

In our graphic, the Clinical vet tends to be “low financial” and “high clinical.”


The Financial vet is in love with KPIs*, analytics, and spreadsheets.

A strategic thinker, the Financial vet sees the practice as a business entity driven by healthy profits and financial success, rather than a healthcare facility. This is important to sustain their (not-so-humble) lifestyle.

This results in a practice with high profit margins, low overhead, efficient systems, low account receivables, and well-oiled workflows.

The Financial vet understands the value of high-end or high-profit procedures. The only limiting factor is that on their own, they can only do and produce so much. To generate more, they need a team, including associates.

Yet the “team” tends to be undervalued, divided, and overworked.

Culture suffers.

Turnover is high: payroll is kept to a minimum because employees are considered as an expense.

Likewise, little is reinvested in the practice and its equipment.

In our graphic, the Financial vet tends to be “high financial” and “high clinical.”



The Professional vet focuses on SOPs**, systems, checklists, and processes.

Some consequences are positive: a growing, efficient, systematized practice with excellent onboarding procedures. Yet, the practice is merely a means to an end, for example, to fund investments.

Other consequences are negative:

  • the team is typically not cohesive
  • turnover is high
  • culture is not a concern
  • the practice manager is very demanding (in part to sustain the KPIs*) and tends to run the practice
  • customer service is often subpar, as are clinical standards.

Often overly serious, the Professional vet could probably use a bit of humor.

Not always in love with vet med, the Professional vet would be happy to stop practicing.

The Professional vet does not pay much attention to whether the community and the team like them. This is in stark contrast with our fourth avatar.

In our graphic, the Professional vet tends to be “high financial” and “low clinical.”


The Social vet is all about connection and generosity. The focus is on excellent patient experience, being respected in the community, giving back, making a difference, and deep social interactions.

This is the kind of vet with a following of raving fans and therefore, a large client base.

In addition, there is an emphasis on team happiness, high income, team morale, and loyalty, which results in low turnover.

Ironically, this may make it challenging for new recruits to integrate with the existing team.

Not at all motivated by money, the Social vet typically has a low production and underdeveloped clinical skills.

Inventory is typically high because “Doc” can’t say no to a rep who wants to sell stuff that will never be used.

All of this makes the practice less valuable.

Worse: the practice is a higher risk of fraud, embezzlement, and theft.

In our graphic, the Social vet tends to be “low financial” and “low clinical.”

So which type of practitioner are you primarily? And secondarily? How about your associates or colleagues?

Do you notice that you tend to work with colleagues who have an avatar similar to yours?

If you are a practice owner, it may be a good idea to partner a Financial vet with team members who have strong social skills. Likewise, a Social vet will need help from someone more assertive with treatment plans.

It’s important to note that one avatar is not better than the others. There is no judgment of character here.

It seems that to be truly successful, the perfect vet would be a blend of those 4 personalities.

If you cannot, then you may want to consider finding associates, team members, and partners who have the personality traits you lack.

Only then can you have “a practice that is profitable, well-regarded in the community, scalable, and that provides quality care,” concludes Alastair Macdonald.

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free Certified

* KPIs: Key Performance Indicators

** SOPs: Standard Operating Procedures