Q & A
Please explain how you view your own leadership style?
Visionary – I create a vision of where we are going. I then cascade beginning with developing a Mission statement for the organization, and then work on building the structure and processes on how it gets done. I create a detailed understanding of the desired state and do a deep dive to assess the current state and then look at the path forward resources needed and structure to get towards creating the desired state. This is how I communicate our purpose to the organization. Also, I work to create an inclusive and collaborative environment and develop consensus around our purpose. I lead by example.
What experiences have influenced your leadership style?
I have a belief in what I am doing and focus on bringing change by demonstrating passion and focus. My experience is centered on moving people by motivating them to take on challenges. I have learned that leadership is also about self-improvement, coaching, guiding and tapping and developing talent addressing a purpose in mind. I have found that working collectively as a team is far more effective in getting things done. I have an internal belief that anything is possible, with good planning, the right resources focus and commitment; I am an optimist. I also have a strong sense of purpose combined with a strong family history not only in transformational change but in exploration and military experience and leadership that moves me.
Do you find that you need to change your leadership style depending on different circumstances?
I do not change my basic or core leadership style. I am consistent but do adapt quickly to new aspects of challenges and benefit by applying situational awareness and leadership.
How do you think your followers view your style of leadership?
My followers perceive me as being high-energy, passionate about what I do, very strategic, having a strong belief in what I do, that I'm inspiring and motivating. They know I care about them and am also demanding, yet fair and willing to trust at the same time.
As a leader, how do you get your people to follow you?
I believe if you are a good leader people will follow you. I specifically take time to get to know people well both personally and professionally, get to have them talk about and understand their motivations, aspirations. I then work to align them, their roles, their teams their goals so that they can succeed. Again, I think it is important that I lead by example in this respect.
How do you encourage your followers to do their best?
I tap into people’s motivation. I explain and get buy in to the goal, very importantly and motivate them to succeed. I challenge them and provide an environment of inclusiveness and empowerment. I then align the rewards, resource and measure and provide feedback as they move to the agreed upon picture of success.
How do you reward and recognize followers when goals are achieved?
I compliment and recognize frequently; on a 1:1 basis and also in public when the opportunity avails itself. I also provide financial incentives, offer promotion, display more trust and empower them.
How closely do you monitor your followers’ activities for irregularities, which may have led to poor outcomes? How do you handle problems? Specifically, do you typically wait for problems to occur before taking corrective action?
I measure and monitor key performance indicators . I want to see if they are having problems, the right resources and speak directly to them to seek information. I do not wait. I always challenge team members to creatively solve and always have contingency plans. I also readily ask others for their opinions and for solutions.
Given the following change-oriented leadership models, which model best describes your style of leadership and why? More than one style may be used to describe your leadership style.
• Transformational Leadership – Leaders identify the needed change, create a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executes the change with the commitment of followers.
• Charismatic Leadership – Method of encouraging specific behaviors in others by way of eloquent communication, persuasion and force of personality
• Visionary Leadership – Translate vision into reality and energize followers with purpose and meaning
• Authentic Leadership – Approach to leadership that emphasizes building the leader’s legitimacy through honest relationships with followers which value their input and are built on ethical foundation.
• Servant Leadership – Are focused on service to others by looking past their own needs and goals and assist in growing and learning.
I believe I am a visionary and a transformational leader. I always seek out how to make improvements. I believe change is important and should be built into the DNA of an organization. I make my vision a reality by getting buy in, participation and inspiring and never engaging people towards this purpose.
Is transformational leadership a common form of leadership in the medical device industry? Is transformational leadership valued in medical device organizations?
Yes, transformational leadership is a common form of leadership in the medical device industry. It is a competitive environment and companies need to make leaps in what they do and how they do it. For this to occur, organizations and leaders need to be transformational.
What leadership attributes enable you to enact change?
I provide a vision, demonstrate passion, show understanding, display trust, and have a knack for hiring the right people and building high performance teams. I plan endlessly, communicate frequently, establish trust and engage the organization completely in the change process. I believe very strongly in Complete Organizational Alignment and organizing all aspects of the business either directly or indirectly in this process of change. I believe in that process you have to be prepared to adjust and adapt along the way but be consistent, lead by example.
What is your change management process?
I explain the vision and the goals needed to support the vision.
Specifically, I have been fortunate to have been trained and use the High Performance Managment System and adapt many other processes such as Kaisan and force my self to be brutally honest in understanding the current state of a company both the good and untapped opportunities and the bad such as road blocks redundancies, poor processes, structure etc. I then spend time exploring and defining the future state / Vision. I then plan extensively, insure we have the right resources to insure success, especially the team and or people who will implement the vision. It is important to maintain focus, be committed and to have a relentless nature and lots of passion about reaching that goal.
I believe the process requires you to be consistent, listen carefully to your team, support and lead by example, be adaptable, admit mistakes and move on. And insure rewards, recognition and compensation are aligned with the change management goals.
In leading major change initiatives, what are the different ways you have overcome the natural tendency of most people to resist change? Was a vision presented? How was the vision communicated to all concerned? How were employees involved in the change process?
I give people the opportunity to participate and align. If a person is a bad fit I look at other options to participate in the organization or we figure out a mutual plan to transition out. I feel that most people want to succeed and they have purpose and sometimes this may not be self evident. So I do take time in this process, people are very critical to an organization. I therefore challenge myself, explore and spend quite a bit of time on this especially on communication. Sometimes the fit is just not there and I move on. When creating major change, it is vital to have a vision and communicate the vision from the top all the way down the organization and get alignment. Once the vision is created and shared, I tap into my people’s motivation and inspire them to act. I also can redirect them to keep them on-track and minimize other competing priorities to ensure the change happens as it should. I strive for alignment around the goals throughout the entire organization.
Have external consultants been involved to support change processes? Can you describe their role?
Yes, external consultants have been involved. Their role has centered on coaching and facilitating the change process. They have gathered the necessary information needed for key decision-making and validating assumptions. From a coaching standpoint, they have offered options to expedite implementation and execution and to assess at all available options.
Tell me about one successful change effort you led and how you did it.
I developed an organization over the course of 3 years from flat growth to 31% growth while transforming the entire organizational structure to become a market leader. After the transformation, the organization sustained 15% growth year over year for the past 10-15 years. This transformational change took two years of planning and resourcing. All leaders of organization were involved in the change management process. While optimizing and building on our strengths and opportunities such as brand, customers, sales organizations- we also identified and addressed our weaknesses and threats -product, talent and knowledge experts, culture, lack of processes and IT tools. I did not seek 100% perfection in the change process but kept an open mind to new ideas, continually planned, measured executed and continually adjusted in the process and did not compromise on our goals.
Tell me about one unsuccessful change effort you led and how you did it.
On one occasion I was hired as a CEO by a very large organization as part of a new global imperative in healthcare. I was given very specific goals for the future and to build an organization as such. The board was committed and initially aligned however was forced to change those goals significantly mid-way through the execution process. This change in part was because of the 2008 recession and a realignment and consolidation of global corporate goals ultimately and unfortunately lead to the failure of this specific business.
Can you describe what you learned from your previous experiences regarding the process of creating change?
A lack of a value proposition to the change with an unclear understanding of how to implement and poor communication and poor leadership is a recipe for disaster. Constantly changing the end goals of a transformational change while in mid-stream can create silos, erode confidence and trust and lead to wasted time, loosing talent, higher costs and ultimately chaos. Poor planning and with poor resources can also lead to failure. One has to have a very honest understanding of the current reality and present state of the business before understanding implementing the necessary and effective changes to get to the desired state. Planning, alignment, communication, willingness to adapt (accept change) and resource planning, measure everything are critical for success.
How has globalization shaped you as a leader?
Most companies I have worked with are multinational. This allows me to appreciate that one size does not fit all. I have learned that being in the global arena its important as an organization to have a common purpose in mind and trust and collaborate with local stakeholders and knowledge experts is very important. I very much appreciate the experiences I have with people from different cultures as an opportunity to learn more.
Can you tell me what characteristics are found in competent global leaders?
Competent global leaders are passionate, communication effectively, are knowledgeable about their industry, display courage, are persistent, self-aware, sociable and self-aware. Typically, global leaders have the 10,000 foot view, are strategic, are aware and sensitive to subtleties of differing markets, countries and cultures and have a talent to translate global opportunities to local and the organizations success.
When faced with a new cultural environment, do you fit in quickly?
Having been born in Ireland and travelled extensively in Europe all my life and living and working in the US, has made my very adaptable. I am also respectful and have a good sense of humor. I have a fundamental belief that everyone is good. I’ve also worked and developed in multiple differing-cultures. One size does not fit all.
Tell me about a time where you had a challenge with someone from another culture. Were the challenges due to a lack of effective cross-cultural communication?
I had difficulty with a foreign colleague. I found the personality and mindset to be pretty inflexible. I wouldn’t say this was due to a lack of cross-cultural communication and not understanding clearly their point of view and goals. We eventually boiled it down to simply not listening carefully havinga differences in opinions on approaches. We respected each other’s positions agreed to disagree and this eventually allowed us to reassess the situation and find a common approach to meet our common goal.
How has globalization created change in the medical device industry?
Globalization in the medical device industry has expanded innovation and challenged our ideas. This has forced technology to adapt for different economies and cultures. We are challenged to still make high quality products but now at a lower price. With globalization, there are different needs and qualities needed by the customer. Our goal to meet or exceed their expectations. Also, globalization has clearly impacted the supply chain. We are more reliant on global players to be contributors to our success. Overall, globalization provides opportunities for growth.
What are the challenges facing senior leaders in medical device organizations?
Biggest challenges we face are on reimbursement and in general the ever-evolving landscape of balancing care givers needs vs insurance company dictating care. Also, we must seek ways to lower the cost of sale to maintain an appropriate level profitability to insure reinvestment and still provide quality and innovative products. I do find the idea of paying for performance important and leaving room to support new cutting-edge technology that reduces the long term direct and indirect cost of healthcare.
Do you see a need for having more women serving in senior leadership positions? Please explain.
Historically most people in senior leadership positions have been male. In companies I have worked for, over 95% of Board and executive leaders have been male. This exclusivity does not benefit an organization. Great leadership is not gender specific. Diversity in experiences and perspectives are critical in bringing innovation and can lead to better decision making. So yes, I do strongly feel that women belong in senior leadership positions.
What steps have you taken to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace?
I prevent sexual harassment by offering training and leading by example. I confront situations of harassment and terminate immediately. I have a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment.
Tell me about a leader you worked with who you greatly respect. What are the characteristics of this person that make them an effective and motivational leader?
I have two that really come to mind. Both were visionaries and very knowledgeable in their respective fields. They both had high E Q, were willing to take risks and were very inclusive. When working with them, I felt I was part of the process, my opinions were valued and was also learning all the time. They simply got things done and executed extremely well. They were fair, determined to succeed and provided feedback and direction when needed. At the same time, they were collaborative and humble. They accepted when they had failed and were willing to admit their mistakes.
What types of formal leadership training have you received? What about the training had the most impact on your learning and leadership development?
I have received formal training on situational and executive leadership. The greatest impacts of these trainings have enabled me to be more collaborative, appreciate different personalities and has improved my critical thinking. Most importantly, I appreciate those who are motived and committed. I don’t typically believe in titles or hierarchies and find it important to tap or discover talent and be able to motivate and inspire people. I find it’s important to find and have a purpose in what we do and as a leader my job is to help them identify and fulfill that purpose.
Please explain what experiences have contributed to your leadership development.
As a young man I was fortunate and had the opportunity to work with and in some form or fashion lead people, either as a scout leader, captain of a team, athletic coach or being coached as a world class athlete or or part of a team or as a volunteer. I started working early and was given a lot of responsibility. I experienced early success and also had failures along the way. This happened at so many levels individually and as part of an organization. These were life lessons and experiences that I always remember and learnt from and have as part of and have shaped myself and have become part of my professional leadership skill sets in the medical device arena.
More specifically, I have worked both on the care delivery side in hospitals and the supplier side of medical devices companies. This has allowed me to appreciate the importance of teams, be part of high-performing teams on both the clinical and project leadership sides. I have also developed and led teams, varying in orientation to resolve complex and transformational challenges. Having the opportunities to be a activator of evolution and develop my leadership expertise has given me more confidence and improved my instincts. All in all, I am comfortable with the unknown and the value importance of the people who I work with and lead in the process.
What specific activities or events have been most beneficial in helping you become a more competent global leader? How did you become more competent? Have any activities or events focused on cross-cultural awareness or communication? If so, have these experiences had an impact on your cross-cultural communication?
Taking on diverse challenges has been beneficial in developing my global leadership competency. Interacting with different countries and cultures and putting myself in different situations has been invaluable. This has made me more adaptable and appreciate different point of views. I have not had formal training on cross-cultural awareness or communication. What I have learned has been through my experiences. I have worked for German, Japanese and Chinese corporations. I have substantial experience facilitating between different cultures to get things done and achieve goals. I have found the regardless of the culture, it is important to find a common goal.