How do you get people at levels beyond what they thought possible?
A. You need to develop the culture of the organization that supports and rewards employee initiative. I have been successful in achieving this by communicating a clear strategy at all levels of the organization and empowering people to action, based on that strategy. I celebrate and recognize both the big and small “milestones” that move one closer to achieving the goals. Transparency goes a long way in developing employee trust and loyalty.
How has your early life experiences shaped your philosophy and career passion?
I had two great mentors in my career, my high school biology teacher, who sparked my interest in Life Sciences and one of my bosses early in my career, who exposed me to the “business” of Life Science. My biology teacher was very driven, expected a lot from her students, and was always available to help, even after high school. My boss was an excellent coach, who taught me not only the business mechanics of budgeting and cost analysis, but the people management side as well. He was a great motivator, influencer and diplomat, always able to “bring people together” to solve a problem. He taught me to be flexible as the “world and business are constantly changing… and to adapt and change with it to be successful.”
How has your experience with prominent, multicultural life sciences companies shaped the way you conduct business?
Business is all about relationships and people. When I took over a global CRM implementation project, I worked with people from many cultures and functional areas. It is important to invest time personally with the team, get to know them, and build that relationship so that the team can function cohesively. That may mean speaking more slowly due to language barriers or understanding differing cultural business practices — not only the “American way.”
Looking back at your career, what are you most proud of ?
I am most proud of the corporate culture I was able to influence as President of Tecan US Inc., which led to amazing results in many areas. I communicated clear strategies, empowered employees, recognized and celebrated accomplishments, and supported an employee atmosphere where people enjoyed coming to work. It is sometimes the small things employees appreciate the most — an occasional lunchtime cookout or after work intramural sports teams. It is these that contribute to employee loyalty and when asked to go the “extra mile,” they are more than willing to.
What is the secret to executing on strategic plans during post-merger integrations?
Successful post-merger integrations can only happen with clear timelines, goals, complete employee transparency and communication throughout the process. Organizations are only as good as its employees. Mergers are usually scary times for employees at any organization as they are filled with uncertainty: management changes, possible relocation or job terminations. It is important to include employees from both companies in the process of functional integrations to ensure the merged processes are fully understood. Finally, treat employees as people during this time. Develop and encourage relationships between the teams, so that employees can begin working together as quickly and efficiently as possible.