Podcast Episode #6 – Leading with Purpose:

Leading with Purpose: Lessons from the Battlefield for the Veterinary Industry

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Leadership skills are universally applicable, regardless of the industry. On our recent podcast episode, we had an engaging conversation with Lieutenant Colonel retired Oakland McCullough. Oak shared insights into how leadership principles he honed on the battlefield can be effectively translated to the veterinary industry.

One of the key lessons Oak shared was about the scope of control. According to him, a leader can directly lead three to five people effectively. This is a lesson learned from his time in the U.S. Army, where even in a vast organization like the military, a commander generally communicates with three to five division commanders. Translating this principle to the veterinary industry, it’s evident that building a strong, compact team can yield better results.

A pivotal part of Oak’s leadership philosophy is servant leadership, which involves taking care of people and empowering them to contribute to the organization’s improvement. He emphasized the importance of having a clearly defined mission, vision, and culture for an organization. These elements give team members a greater purpose and direction, which in turn fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty.

Oak also touched on the importance of trust and communication in leadership. Trust, he pointed out, is the glue that holds everything together in an organization. Leaders must trust their teams and vice versa. If this trust is broken, the leader-led relationship suffers. Oak stressed the distinction between a boss and a leader, underlining that people are more likely to go the extra mile for a leader they trust and respect.

We also explored decision-making in leadership. Oak advised involving team members in decision-making processes to build trust and foster ownership within the team. He emphasized the importance of listening to and utilizing the knowledge and skills of team members.

Throughout the conversation, Oak provided numerous valuable insights into leadership and its application in the veterinary industry. By understanding and applying these principles, veterinary professionals can effectively lead their teams, build strong organizations, and contribute to the advancement of the industry.

Whether you are a seasoned professional or a budding leader in the veterinary industry, the lessons shared by Lieutenant Colonel retired Oakland McCullough are sure to be invaluable. Remember, effective leadership is about caring for people, empowering them, building trust, and fostering clear communication. With these principles at the heart of your leadership strategy, you’re well on your way to making a positive impact in your organization and the veterinary industry as a whole.

Host Information

Bill Buter – Contact Information

Direct – 952-208-7220


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