3. Taking culture seriously
“I spend most of my time focused on the culture.” —Michael Mahoney, CEO of Boston Scientific
Mike Mahoney has executed one of the most successful turnarounds in recent history, righting the ship at Boston Scientific over the past 6 years, dragging the company from sagging sales and foundering stock prices to one of the best-performing medtech companies over that period.
When we met at DeviceTalks in 2015, he told me that he didn’t turn around the company simply by cutting costs and issuing edicts, but by building people up and making them believe in themselves again.
“We did some structural things, we enabled the organization to move a little bit faster by expanding the number of reports and the speed of the company. We did a lot of simple things on just reinvigorating what it means to work here,” he said.
I guess taking culture seriously isn’t some sort of revelation but, honestly, having the empathy and patience to implement a winning culture is the most difficult thing for a leader to implement, especially when there’s so much pressure on producing results. So, what does that really mean? It means that you, as a leader, have the confidence to empower people to make their own decisions.
This was a point that John Brown made to me as well.
“Early on, I was insistent on making all of the decisions on everything, and then it struck me about 3 or 4 years down the road that I was the obstacle,” he said.
So, there you have it: 3 pretty simple lessons from three pretty complex and successful leaders. I can’t promise you they’ll make you as successful as they are but, at the least, they may make you a better person to be around.
As for DeviceTalks, we’re beginning our 6th year of shows across the U.S. on June 26–27 in Minneapolis-St. Paul, the heart of the medtech industry. This year, we’ve added an engineering track to go along with our incredible leadership program, so I hope you’ll check it out and join us.
Take a look at our site www.devicetalks.com for more information.