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Issue: 72 - Dec 15, 2014
Game Changers
By: Dr. Phil Zeltzman
Dr. Phil Zeltzman1

In the 20th century, according to Andrew Hewitt, business results were gauged by maximizing profits. People were treated like resources. The idea was to get the biggest output for the smallest cost. Minimizing your environmental footprint was done only if it translated into cost-savings.

In the 21st century, continues Hewitt, the goal of business in the best companies will be to maximize benefits. In this new era, employees are treated like human beings. They are empowered. Companies have a positive impact on the world while minimizing their carbon footprint, because “it’s the right thing to do,” not only because it’s profitable. Companies strive to have a positive influence on employees, the environment and the society at large.

Andrew Hewitt and his team created, a web site that profiles companies that reinvent the world and redefine the rules of business around “fun, fulfillment and fairness.”

If the S & P 500 served as a benchmark for the 20th century, Andrew Hewitt hopes that his GameChangers500 list will be the yardstick for the 21th century. .

Companies that are Game Changers include Etsy, Google, Zappos, Patagonia, Life Is Good and Method.

How could you become a game-changer? Here are 9 best practices that define a game-changing business.

Section 1. Why you are in business (Maximize benefits, not just profits)

The idea is to “clearly define your mission (…) to help determine your direction, and developing metrics to measure your progress.”

Section 2. What your business offers (Products or services that create a better world)

  • What is the depth of your impact? “Your product or service help people and/or the planet thrive, often through the introduction of innovation.”
  • How can you scale your impact?

“Your product or service is designed to scale to larger regions, often through industry collaboration, partnerships, open-sourcing, franchising or other models of dissemination that help you expand your possible reach and your positive impact.”

Granted, that is tough to do for a single veterinary clinic, but certainly not impossible.

Section 3. How you run your business (Positively impacts people and the planet)

  • Provide an exceptional work environment, one that is “fun, inspiring and evolutionary, beyond the beige cubicle.”
  • Empower your employees by embracing “autonomy, generous benefits, constant learning, employee leadership, and recruitment based on strengths, shared values and a passion for the mission.”
  • Realize that everyone wins: “customers, suppliers, distributors, investors, and the community.”
  • Build an earth-friendly office by “choosing eco–friendly suppliers, minimizing waste, water and carbon-based energy.”
  • Favor eco-design: “designing your products, services and manufacturing processes to be carbon-neutral, zero-waste, and non-toxic.”
  • Replenish the planet: use “your business as a platform to spread environmental awareness and to support environmental causes.”

Clearly, it’s tricky for a single animal hospital to change the world like a Google or a Zappos could. Yet size doesn’t matter.

Game changers are eager to change the world, but they understand that the first step is always to change themselves. They find internal motivation (a.k.a. purpose, mission or core values) in order to create external change.

Andrew Hewitt’s definition of a happy work life is to “contribute your strengths to work that inspires you and that aligns with your values.”

If you prefer to visualize this definition in pictures, imagine 3 circles: One represents “your strengths;” one is “work that inspires you;” and the third circle is “work that aligns with your values.” The more the circles overlap, the happier you will be in your job.

How much do these 3 circles overlap in your life?

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ


Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a mobile, board-certified surgeon in Allentown, PA. His website is He is the co-author of “Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound” (