Many start-ups have succeeded, yet, there have been many that suffer from what TSB calls the, "I can't get out of my own way syndrome." It's the endless enigma, Ego. The primary reason this occurs is because the individual(s) that started the venture does not have the necessary skills to run a company. There is a difference between developing a product and motivating people to execute. One takes engineering, scientific and listening skills (hopefully), while the other takes someone with a defined vision, knowing how to engage and inspire people, create accountability, build a plan, generate ideas and produce results. Essentially, it takes team work and empowerment. Resistance in a leader seriously compromises one's ability to embody the character traits and perform the functions of a leader and manager. What you learn in the spine business is that many times the job really doesn't go to the most qualified person. It can be argued that the best leaders are those that truly have the ability to think out of the box. Why? Because life's experiences have built a box around most of us. You become more fixed in your beliefs, habits, reactions and behavior. Most people are too busy, distracted, stressed out, unfocused and ungrounded. We are too mired in the past or the future. But it takes more than just thinking out of the box, it takes someone with integrity, clarity, transparency and the ability to be open-minded. The problem in most of these small companies is that the person(s) that started the company usually resists other ideas.
With that said, why do investors and board of directors look for people outside the industry? Could it be that they lack the ability to really gauge someone's skills? These individuals usually come from finance with no industry or people experience, or are even surgeons from our industry. As TSB has written on numerous occasions, it seems that we can't get out of the box in this industry because we are constantly rewarding people that bring the same tired principals and experience to the game. What once worked at a DePuy, Danek, or Medtronic fifteen years ago, or even one year ago, is not going to necessarily work at an early growth stage company because of the difference in culture, dynamics and minimal product portfolio. In addition, a leader at a small company is not a leader per se, but a worker bee. An early growth stage company needs leaders that have the capacity to wear multiple hats in the course of building the business. Just look at some of the companies that we have profiled over the last year. Seven layers of senior management for an organization that generates ten to fifteen million in revenue? Tell me that this isn't Einstein's definition of insanity.
So the next time you are looking for a candidate to fill a position ask yourself the following questions:
Does the candidate know their values and beliefs?
Is the candidate self-defined?
If hired, can the candidate develop a vision for the organization? Remember at that point the candidate may not even know what you have in the Intellectual Property pipe line.
Can the candidate connect their vision to a strategy and execute?
Is the candidate flexible and forward thinking?
Will the candidate be inspiring and credible, meaning do they know the business?
Is the candidate focused?
Do you think the candidate will be accountable yet be willing to take risks?
Will they facilitate personal growth to the team and its members by empowering them?
Can they be a thought leader?
Can they create a collaborative environment?
Does the person have a genuine interest in people?
Are they eager to learn and lead?
Do we ourselves know what we are looking for?
Do we ourselves have a defined strategy?
TSB is sure that our readers can come up with some more questions, but let's face facts, this isn't brain surgery, or, for that matter spine surgery. All it takes is a little time and preparation to find the right person for the job. Maybe Drue is right, you're better off letting someone with the DeAngels' experience handle the search for you. TSB wants to know what our readers think?