Category Archives: leadership

Lie to me. But do it with some EFFORT.

6 ways to impress me

There are a several people whom I have the utmost respect for, and then there are people who have impressed me. The difference is important. I have had the (debateable) pleasure of coming across people who have impressed me, but that I don’t respect at all. I still learned from them, and I wouldn’t want to be without the experience. Sometimes NOT learning from a situation is the best lesson of all. Here is how to impress me:

  1. Be true to who you are

Like the guy at Johnson & Johnson who didn’t give a rats about the fact that his spiky hair and colourful socks made him stand out from the rest of the ambitious crowd. Over 10 years ago, this was quite a talking point in corporate and conservative blue chip companies. He told me to never ever let work change what I liked about myself. Good advice that I wasn’t always strong enough to follow, but now something I won’t ever compromise on, and certainly never forget.

  1. Do good

If you can do good, you should. Simple as that. I don’t care in what format: give someone change for the supermarket trolley, compliment a stranger, build a children’s hospital, found a charity, give your time and knowledge. Pay it forward, and you’re my hero. Teach your children (or someone elses) the joy of giving.

  1. Work hard at what you have committed to

There are a LOT of things that will make you great at what you do, and talent is only one of them. Be on time, study your topics, be polite, be coachable, keep deadlines, look for solutions, help your colleagues. If you’re unhappy, get out.

  1. Be brave

Are you afraid? And still doing it? Then you rock. I am not saying that those who just do things without being worried about it aren’t brave – I am sure they have areas where they have to be courageous as well. I am just of the firm belief that true bravery is best proven by those who are terrified…and do it anyway. I met an inspiring woman called Marta on Thursday who told me her next meeting was to donate blood; her way of getting over her fear of needles!

5. Lie well
I can’t stand bad liars. I know this is a weird one…most people don’t being lied to, but I actually don’t mind. People lie for all sorts of reasons, and it would be arrogant of me to think that I deserve honesty that may be uncomfortable or painful for people to share. That’s fine. But I do have one request; if you’re going to lie to me, put some effort in. Half ass lies that are easy to spot, where the liar really has neither skill or finesse. See Point 3.
6. Find your element
When I see someone who is passionate, knowledgeable, engaged, excited and “in the flow”, I always need to take a deep breath. It is SO powerful to see someone who have found their place, their space in the universe. Nothing is as attractive as when you watch that magic happen, and the force coming from individuals like that is pure power. “Find something more important than you are,” philosopher Dan Dennett once said in discussing the secret of happiness, “and dedicate your life to it.” How you arrive at your true calling is an intricate and highly individual dance of discovery. See Point 4. Last time I saw someone do it was when I watched a candidate in an interview with me last week. I think I may have to hire her.
Thanks for reading.
Angela
Angela Spang at BBF UK Reception at The Compleat Angler
Angela Spang at BBF UK Reception at The Compleat Angler

Part 2 of my mentoring questions: Selling stuff

I know how easy it is for entrepreneurs to be obsessing over sales — especially before you have any, and especially if you don’t know how to sell. And many entrepreneurs don’t. They are enthusiastic experts in their field, but rarely do they have the benefit of having gone through a career in sales and marketing (I consider myself VERY lucky that way, and that’s why I have decided to Pay Forward what I’ve learned.). 

 (Missed the first 5 questions? Click here)

The Anti Crow Rule

I asked my Twitter followers a while back if Marketing or Sales was harder to get right, and the majority said Marketing. I believe the two are closely linked, and if you get your marketing right, your sales will come. I strongly encourage having a clear image of who your customer is, and to segment your market. MAKE CHOICES and stick to them. I call it the Anti Crow Rule: stay away from the shiny objects! It is VERY easy to get distracted, and as an enthusiastic entrepreneur we are flattered and grateful when someone wants our stuff. Don’t get me wrong, do sell….just stick to your overarching plan. 

 

Bank people DO make good friends

If you don’t have finance experience, I strongly encourage you to collaborate with someone who can build you a solid budget, including cashflow projections. Not only will it save you eons of time, it will also ensure you won’t find yourself in a situation that you have a profitable business but no money o pay people or buy stock with. In addition, it will also make any bank conversations you will have a lot more productive. (I never borrowed any money to start my companies, but I do recognise that it is very common to have to do that. And even if you don’t need a cash inflow at the start, having your bank team well informed is a plus should you ever need their help and/or advice. 

 

I am done for tonight, but I do want to talk Exit strategy (because you need not just one but several, and I don’t mean just different versions of you selling your company to the highest bidder and taking off to Aruba) and what/when/how to abandon your plan. 

 

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(No spam, no selling of your data, no me selling to you. I #neversell and am just Paying It Forward. Why? Because I can.) 

Why I Sacked the Sales Rep

Medical Device world is filled with them. Two categories, with the same goal: sell stuff. Either the seasoned professional who has been around since “the good old days when we could all go drinking together” or the new, slick, shiny looking rep determined to prove themselves in their first job. Measured to 90% on their sales results, they are quick in, eager to make a deal…and will move on within 18 months.

A sale is impersonal and fleeting. It doesn’t on its own create a consumer. A loyal customer believes in you, not only your product. The days when we did a sale and moved on are long gone, and we need to let go and take a new shape.

Read more on communication here

Nobody likes being “sold to”!

I have never met anyone who likes the phone sales people who hang up as soon as they realise you’re not buying. Ever been in the position when you’ve bought something you didn’t really need or want, and walked away with a bad taste in your mouth? Well, in medical device world it is coupled with moral.

How on earth can someone with a Marketing or Economics diploma tell a doctor how to use a medical device? Makes absolutely no sense (unless we consider 7 years of medical school a complete waste of time…?).

Don’t chase a sale and make sure you know your facts.

In the medical device world, it is absolutely crucial that we remember where the responsibility lies for each role. Pharma and medical device should inform about the facts of a product…and be 100% accurate.

The customer has the responsibility for what product they buy, but also for how that product is being used and what the outcome is for the patient. Don’t aim for making a sale, and never EVER attempt to treat a patient. Aim to inform and educate. Once you shift your focus, the entire process will transition into thinking for the future, not just for today.

Changing the thinking and approach ultimately drives ROI because cultivating repeat customers is less time-consuming and less expensive than creating new ones. Focusing on your customer experience in EVERY SINGLE INTERACTION increases the likelihood that people will come back. If you want a good ROI, spend as much time and money on improving the customer experience as you would on conversion.

Related: 4 Vital Lessons Sales Teams Should Take from Customer Service

What keeps a consumer coming back for more?

For medical device and pharma it is obviously all about patient outcomes — this translates to managing expectations in the customer so they know what to expect. The medical device is only as good as the customer is, so education and information plays an enormous role in the end result.  And then, whether it’s convenience (making it easy and reliable) or company culture (donating products to charity), customers need a compelling reason to choose you time after time. Be clear, honest and objective. Never push a sale, but focus on observing needs and match it with your offering. And that is exactly why I made the decision to completely eradicate our sales team. I don’t hire sales people anymore.

Focus on what’s most important: create trusting relationships. It is more relevant, more cost-effective, much easier and a lot more fun!

Death of international scientific meetings

20 years ago international scientific meetings used to be a source of great learning for doctors and nurses, but also a lot of fun and a bit of a break from the daily routine.

The change in regulations made sponsoring less available (a good thing, for many reasons) so fewer people could afford to go. And of course, a trip half way around the world (in some cases), being gone for most of a week, with hotel fees and registration costs makes it a big investment. But…it was all worth it, and even necessary; This is where the greatest research was presented with the latest updates from the most experienced thought leaders.

Today the world doesn’t function like that anymore.

Social media and online news makes innovation and clinical data instantly available to anyone across the globe.

So why would doctors still fly around to meetings if there really isn’t anything new?

There is always a big win from meeting and discussing…but most international congresses are not designed that way. They are dinosaurs from the old times, when professors sit at podiums and a presenter stands at a podium and reads off data from a powerpoint presentation.

Health care professional attendee numbers are declining and so are sponsors. No manufacturer can spend a fortune paying for stand space, shipping expensive exhibition materials and paying company representatives to attend a 5 day meeting…especially not when so few of the customers are attending. And if they don’t  have anything new to launch (and why would they? Innovation cannot wait 7 months for the next international meeting), they are just showing the same things that they can show customers at home.

I believe we need to rethink the whole concept. Accept that the old days are gone, and so are the old ways.

Come on, brilliant marketing agencies and event organisers. Take us all into present time?!

How Lack Of Ego Drives Growth

It helps growth tremendously to not have to be right. I find it intersting that when new people join the team, it takes  a couple of months until they realise that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a different view than me.

It may be because I deliberately hire people who I think can do a better job than me. But if that is the case, I am either wrong about the individual (has happened, obviously) or they have worked for a long time without realising their full potential. So let’s for arguments sake say that everyone in the team has worked at 75% before they Image result for people growingcome here, and I employ 10 people. That is me theoretically adding 0.25 x 10 people to the team, just by making sure each person gets the space and support they need to spread their wings and fully contribute to the best of their abilities.

And the best thing? Those 2,5 extra people doesn’t cost me a thing — quite the opposite. Employees love not being told to swim in their lane, and the environment we have is tremendously encouraging. I couldn’t ask for a more dedicated team.

This is working really well for us, and I wonder what else I can do to further improve it? Any ideas or suggestions are welcome!

Who goes there? Your Twitter followers?!

Twitter followers come and go for me. Sort of like tide.
I am competitive, so I like the ups, and I am trying hard not to take the downs personally. After all, it is not a goal in itself for me to have followers on my twitter or blog. I sell nothing, want you to sign up for nothing and basically have no interest in your money at all.

I am however keen on helping. Sometimes, only sometimes, I have felt that amazing feeling you get when you see something click for someone. They just saw things in a different way, from another angle, and it made them better. If I can do that, I am happy. But I digress.

audience following why

Point is: do you know who your followers are and why they are following you? Perhaps that question is worth a thought not just for twitter, but for real life as well. And then….how can you help them?

Remember that movie “Pay It Forward”? Call me naive, but that’s what I am doing.  What do you think? Am I just a bit too blue eyed?

 

 

Packing bags, moving to Ireland?

The CEO of an award winning Medical Device company is considering expanding to Ireland or Germany after the EU referendum

Angela Spang, CEO of medical device provider JUNE MEDICAL, is contemplating a move from London to somewhere else in Europe following Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

Spang is concerned that Brexit will make it harder for her to obtain innovative products from across the continent for her company. Fast paced and award winning JUNE MEDICAL has already grown over 100% since it was founded in 2013.

“There is a huge demand for high-quality medical device and any advantage a company has in accessing innovative products is a huge factor,” she told XXXX. “Mutual recognition for regulatory approval provided access to European wide launches — this is a powerful engine for growth that may now be removed.”

Access to European funding and access to European markets for her own new products will also influence Spang’s decision, she said.

Potential new office locations for JUNE MEDICAL include Ireland and Germany but the company won’t be making any hasty decisions. “We’re monitoring what impact this has over the next 1-2 quarters. If we see a big change in the availability of products or dramatically changed terms, then we will consider alternative geography for investment and growth.

She added: “It doesn’t change our current commitment to the UK, but could change our growth plans significantly.”

Introvert broadcasted to 365 million households

So I’m an introvert. One of those who, if invited to a party will come up with a list of reasons why I can’t come, even though I do like you and your friends a lot. It is just that to me, meeting new people takes a lot of energy.

It doesn’t mean I don’t like people. Quite the opposite; I find humans absolutely fascinating, and I spend hours every day thinking about why we do what we do, how we can do it better and how we are motivated. Perhaps it is because I invest a lot in the relationships I have, and more fleeting interactions are not for me.

Related: Swedish leadership — like ABBA?!

Two weeks I was asked to do a live TV interview, on a show that is broadcasted to 365 million households. Funnily enough, that is an event that really makes me excited! Put me in a car with someone I hardly know and I will try to climb out after 5 minutes, but live TV!? I’d love to!

Of course I was a bit nervous, those famous butterflies had a little race just before we went on air, but overall? Calm as a pot of soured milk. (Swedish expression)image

I would do it again if I could!

 

IKEA or ABBA — what’s Swedish leadership style?

Apparently Swedish leadership is a science in itself.

Is there anything called Swedish leadership? Methods and approaches differ between countries and cultures, but is there some traits that are more common?

The science project “Swedish leadership challenges from a global perspective” was started 2013, and the purpose is to try to define Swedish leadership.

According to some, Swedish leadership is democratic, with delegation and trust as central themes. Perhaps some of that comes from the Swedish employment legislation where for example one cannot get fired simply for stating different opinions or bring forward other ways of doing things. It is certainly not an option in all countries to openly question managers and leaders, and hierarchy plays a vital role in many cultures. The team approach in Sweden very much puts the boss at the same levels as everyone else, and leadership is adapted accordingly.

Personal traits in successful leaders

There is plenty of evidence for what personal traits makes up the successful leader: passion, self insight, drive, team spirit, clarity, involvement and courage are not in any way unique for the Swedish leadership — it unites leaders from all over the world.

Us swedes do seem good at (even known for?) heavily involving others in the decision making process. We like consensus, sometimes so much we delay making the decision. Involving everyone is great in theory, but it is a time insuring process. It also potentially brings an aura of uncertainty to the team if they’re not used to this consultative leadership style; “Doesn’t she know what to do?!”

It may also come across as less assertive, and sometimes this may be perceived as weakness. However, it usually doesn’t take long for people to realise that just because I want to know what you think, I don’t lack an opinion of my own.

Lack of ego?

Stefan Tengblad is a professor of Economy and does research on the topic “The Swedish leadership style”. According to Tengblad the Swedish leadership style has two corner stones: inclusiveness and lack of individual prestige. Research has shown that this increase companies competitiveness and creates better profitability as team members productivity, effectiveness and quality of work increase.

This makes for lively debate with a team that is more focused on finding a great solution that everyone can agree on, than having a “winner” of the debate. For me and my teams, this have sometimes been what takes the teams I’ve led from “Good” to “Outstanding”. The freedom of being open to share thoughts and ideas makes for a stimulating work environment, where people use their voices to start conversations, not finish them.

Many successful leaders from the small country in the north

Sweden has presented many successful leaders through the years. A couple of names who are usually mentioned are Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström who occupies a powerful position in the apparatus of the EU, Ingvar Kamprad, Swedish entrepreneur and founder of IKEA and more recently singer Zara Larsson who has turned millions of young girls into a united group of strong females who stand up for themselves.

I will ask my team how they would describe my leadership. I am curious to know if they will say any of these things.

To be continued.

Mr Cameron, don’t take your ball home

imageDear Mr PM,

as a leader you state your opinions, share your reasons and fight for what you believe in. As a leader of this country, this is the time to honour the decision the people have made, and despite that being different from what you wanted, it is still your country.
When playing in a team, no matter if the strategy is different than what you proposed, you play your part. Different viewpoints are great, and you don’t take your ball and go home if your strategy doesn’t win. You play your part as well as you can, with the team that you’ve got.