Would you? Would you make the major-league effort required to change your schedule, commit to the expense of airfare and lodging, and time away from your family, to meet up with people you haven’t seen in 25 years – people you really only saw 3 times a year at annual meetings…just for a few cocktails and some laughs??! That’s exactly what 25 of us did. People came from as far and wide as Florida, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Georgia, California…even Switzerland!!! Really. But why?
First a little background. We all worked for Microvasive, the Urology and Endoscopy medical-device division of the privately held Boston Scientific Corporation. At the time, five divisions (of which Microvasive was one) totaled $125 million in sales. Today, BSC is publicly traded (BSX) and revenues are reported at over $7 Billion. Just a little bit of growth. And we represented a major part of it in the early years!
I was privileged to be one of the Microvasive “originals” and worked shoulder-to-shoulder with some amazing talent on the front lines, contributing to the phenomenal BSC sales growth. Our leadership deftly hired top talent from the likes of Proctor & Gamble, Xerox (my “alma mater”), General Mills, and Black & Decker. Not your typical medical-device sourcing pools. But great sales-training grounds and points-of-attraction for success-oriented hungry achievers!
#1 TALENT/“PEOPLE”– Be sure to include highly-regarded intrinsic qualities in your hiring process. Our leadership believed those qualities would provide the solid foundation on which the BSC house would be built! With already-instilled qualities like hunger, passion, and motivation in place, driven-to-succeed reps were able to dig into training on product/industry knowledge with fervor (within 3 weeks of leaving Xerox I was in an Operating Room on my own!)! What intrinsic qualities are important to your organization?
Our leadership team was incredibly passionate! They believed. They lead by example. They delivered on their promises. They were fair. Every action pointed back to the mission and goals. They had very high expectations. They were consistent. They were open – to feedback, push-back, ideas, dialogue. And they believed in having fun and celebrating successes.
#2 LEADERSHIP/“VISION & EXECUTION” – In The Truth About Leadership, Kouzes & Posner cite the Top 10 Leadership Qualities, and basically, it is the same list! In Drive, Daniel Pink outlines Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose, and how essential they are in motivating people. Our leadership lived and breathed these concepts long before the books were written!
As I was pulling together “the reunion”, I had the good fortune of many pre-party conversations and emails. In talking with the National Sales Manager, Dave Budreau, he told me a great story about Peter Nicholas Sr., co-founder of BSC (who just recently retired!). Because those were wild and crazy times: Insane growth [point-of-reference: when I joined, they had just purchased a urology device company – the existing team was combined/revamped/refined to hit the streets with 30-40 reps – within 1-2 years we were at 60+], super tight/bonded team; BSC had just gone public, things were changing! Peter popped his head out in the hallway and said “Dave, how in the world are we going to hang onto this amazing culture?” He knew. It made all the difference in the success of this explosive-growth company.
#3 CULTURE – The culture/vibe is a must-have! What adjectives would your constituents use to describe yours? What is your company “reputation”? Does it align with your mission/goals? Make this a deliberate and intentional part of your leadership.
I once heard it said the “3-legged Leadership Stool” was made up of: People; Vision/Strategy; and Execution/Operations. I’m going to suggest adding a fourth: Culture. Special shout-out to Jay B. for promoting the culture-of-excellence out in the field, and consistently demonstrating these leadership qualities in his day-to-day activities.
“Leadership” is why 25 people braved the cold, late February, from all over the country, to meet for a 3-hour Happy Hour…it was the ultimate!
Special Feature: Listen to our hilarious Party Promo! (voiced and produced by Frye Sound)