Almost 10 years ago, I left a successful career with a great multi-national, life science company to learn and grow in the high growth (and high risk) mid-stage and early-stage life science marketplace. Over the decade, I led a few companies to successful exits and also experienced a few very painful failures.
Looking back, there are a few clear learnings on this journey from leaving a great, multi-national company and moving into the more entrepreneurial side of life sciences. Even though my view of business has been from the lens of healthcare, the relevance of these lessons in leadership cross markets and industries.
The intent of the next several Weekend Reflections for Leaders is to share the major learnings from this journey.
The first of these learnings is the importance of building a business based on a set of fundamental principles or values to guide individuals and teams in how we should treat each other, our customers, and fulfill our responsibility to the marketplace and the communities we impact. Clearly defining the importance of principles like respect, trustworthiness, teamwork, innovation, quality, support, and kindness form not only the foundation, but create the guardrails to build a business that can effectively handle the inevitable cycles of tremendous success and painful failure without destroying itself from within.
These principles or values, along with clear defining examples that are reinforced by team members and measured routinely, begin to build a culture that is healthy and sustainable for the long term.
Large companies spend a considerable amount of time and resources on outlining and reinforcing a set of values to guide the company. These values are often one of the most appealing aspects of building a career with a great multi-national company. There are certainly examples of when large companies have lost their way and “company values” just became a wall chart, but for the most part, the most admired, long lasting companies form a set of values that becomes the hallmark of their history.
The clarity and purity of financial metrics that drive an exit valuation (i.e. life-changing payday) in the world of venture capital and private equity run businesses can often challenge the importance of a broader set of principles to guide the business for the long term. When a life-changing financial outcome for individuals in a high growth, early stage company is close at hand, the principles meant to build the business for the long term can sometimes come off the rails.
For today’s senior executives and top talent, leading by example and strictly adhering to specific guiding principles is critical to building a long-term healthy business whether it has 100,000 employees around the world or starts in a garage with 3 people and some folding chairs. Working with a set of universal, self-evident principles to guide behavior is essential.
What if I were to ask you, “What is the most difficult leadership challenge you are facing today?”
What would you say? Here are a few resources to help:
- Download FREE resources at www.harvesttimepartners.com
- Contact me. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (M) 269-370-9275