Boyden Executive Search

A conversation starter to February 10th Feature Panel at DGE's Healthcare Leadership Conference, Lessons from the Corner Office: How to land that promotion

By Steve Nilsen
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Seeking career advice is not new. Neither is seeking insight from those that have reached that next step (and perhaps that corner office). What doesn’t get old is the concept of sharing stories of how exactly one did take that leap; what drove them forward and made them stand out from the crowd.

Despite twists and turns along the way, what remains true is that each story is different, there is no ‘one path’ and that the combination of knowledge, curiosity, and passion are necessary blocks on which to build a career. 

In a few weeks’ time, healthcare leaders (current and aspiring) will gather for DGE’s Healthcare Leadership Conference: Developing Next Generation of Leaders. I’m privileged and honored to join the conference Feature Panel alongside distinguished peers in the industry on the topic of Lessons from the Corner Office: How to Land that Executive Promotion. 

I'll be sharing the stage with AbiliTech Medical's Angie Zavoral Conley, UnitedHealthcare's Brett Edelson, Xontogeny's Chris Garabedian, and Delve Health's Wessam Sonbol. And in a conversation I will be moderating we will do exactly that: share stories, experiences, and insights to help guide professionals in their evolving careers.

But given how in demand this topic is, we thought, why wait?

Let’s get talking about this now with a question that’s top of mind for many professionals: In today’s competitive talent landscape, what can I do to stand out?”

Here’s what our panel of experts has to share:

“In my industry, med device, the best current and future leaders have a personal passion about their work. People who have experienced or have friends or family who have experienced the issue our device is trying to solve – limited arm movement – will be more engaged and valuable to our business. This passion fuels a curiosity and grit to dig deep when there are challenges and go beyond the task at hand to deliver the best solution we can. So my advice would be to really think about what’s not just professionally important to you, but what’s personally meaningful to you. The personal part will be based on something you’ve experienced that influences your work and your professional aspirations. An employee’s personal story that relates to what they do professionally is always very important for me to hear. Tell me your story and how it relates to your work -- and mine -- and you will have an edge over someone who hasn’t made this connection!”
– Angie Zavoral Conley, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, AbiliTech Medical

“With social media seemingly tracking our every move (good or bad), it is easy to lose yourself if you compare yourself to others. That won’t work – as you can only compare yourself to … yourself! You have to be authentic in everything that you do, and measuring success with yourself as the benchmark – where you were before vs. where you are today – will allow you to build on your strengths and realize your opportunities for growth. To support this, ask those you trust for honest and thoughtful feedback and act on it. When you have a better understanding of yourself it will allow you to continue to grow and be even more impactful in your work, which will help you stand out in the crowd.”
– Brett Edelson, CEO UnitedHealthcare of MN, ND & SD

“One way professionals can stand out as candidates for desirable and competitive positions is to prepare to become an expert on the business and how the desired role fits into the corporate goals. All with the goal of demonstrating how the right leadership can enable success in meeting those goals. If you are within a company, you can rely on corporate communications (both internally and externally) and in speaking to peers and colleagues for a better understanding of the corporate efforts. If you are seeking a role with a new company, there is often a tremendous amount of information in the public domain for publicly-traded companies (SEC filings, earnings calls, media coverage, etc.) to provide that context. Similarly, there is often information through public relations and media coverage of private companies. This should be augmented with a similar understanding of the company’s main competitors. If you excel at this exercise, it will typically prepare you for successful conversations/interviews in positioning you favorably for the position and will often be more preparation work than 90% of other candidates are willing to do.”
– Chris Garabedian, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Xontogeny

"Be authentic and drive towards what you believe in. Relationships are gold, cherish them, cultivate them, and keep up with them. Be passionate about what you believe in, show your interest in the topic and think different, think of what this passion means to you. Be positive, and stay positive during downturns, a person's attitude can turn impossibilities into reality. Think of where you want to be, understand your capabilities, strengths and weaknesses, and be honest with yourself in what you really want, and drive towards it. Our appearance is another unique way to stand out, linking what you believe in with a special style can certainly make you stand out in the crowd. Observe what others are doing to be unique, and build your own brand using your passion, your future goals, your body language, your dress code, and your positive attitude."
– Wessam Sonbol, Chief Executive Officer, Delve Health

And finally, my thoughts:

“‘There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don’t mind who gets the credit’ suggests a very selfless approach to success. The late Robert Woodruff, legendary CEO and Chairman of The Coca-Cola Company and President Reagan are often credited with this statement. Easy for them to say, right? They were already in the corner office and the oval office. The point is, however, that generosity and team spirit are critical attributes for being recognized for advancement. Show up, do the work, take the initiative and take on responsibilities before they are assigned to you. And bring others along on the journey. When all the other ‘boxes are checked,’ this will make the difference.”

We have so much more to share and look forward to the discussion next month. Join us on February 10th at DGE’s Executive Healthcare Leadership Conference: Developing Next Generation Leaders

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