Before I joined in 2008, I was not all that familiar with Radiometer or Danaher, but I knew I wanted to do something difficult but important. I’d spent about 10 years in the hearing instruments industry, which was similar in that we were using advanced technology and recovery to help people. I liked that Radiometer was making a difference as well.
As I learned more, I was also intrigued by the Danaher Business System (DBS). I’ve always been interested in continuous improvement and lean processes, but at a lot of companies, those are really just buzzwords—it’s usually not lived and breathed throughout the organization. With Danaher, though, while I didn’t know yet exactly what was in the toolbox, I could tell DBS was truly part of the culture. It really is central to the way everyone at the company operates—rather than just something you do when you have some spare time.
So what I really appreciated was the combination—interesting products and challenging technologies in a space that is hugely important for hospitals and patients—along with Danaher’s unique model and approach to running a business. I started out as the Vice President for R&D and expanded my role over several years to include responsibility for sales. Then in 2015, I moved into the role of president.
I think good leadership is about the “what” and the “how.” You have to set the direction and expectation—make sure everyone understands where we want to go and why. However, a good leader should do more than set a direction. They need to be able to connect and engage with their team. It’s not just someone who challenges and inspires the team, but someone who the team truly wants to follow. That’s critical. In part, that means being very open to feedback on what you can do to be a better leader. You have to develop your strengths, deal with your weaknesses and build a team around you that can complement those, rather than hiring copies of yourself.
You also have to be good at identifying and developing talent, so you have an engine that can fuel continued success. I think that’s always been a strong suit at Danaher—it’s one of the ways DBS helps us be better leaders—but increasingly so over the last 5 to 10 years. And of course, it’s a two-way street. An associate who wants to grow needs to show desire and ambition to make sure their leaders know it will be worthwhile to invest in them. But as leaders, we’re also responsible for understanding and knowing what we can do for our associates—how we can inspire and coach them to improve and support them so they can contribute more and develop their careers.
It’s usually a mix of short-term and long-term challenges. There are immediate things—like the COVID-19 outbreak, for example, which required a lot of adaptation to address impacts on not only our customers but our team. We needed to take care of the health and safety, both physical and mental, of our associates. At the same time, because Radiometer’s products are fundamental to the health care systems and to intensive care capacity in particular, we were seeing a lot of new demand—and we were facing challenges in our supply chain. It was difficult, and we’ve been far from perfect, but the team was really incredible. Thanks to a lot of creativity and innovation from everyone on the team, we were able to simultaneously accelerate growth and improve the engagement of our associates.
The long-term challenges for me are mostly around strategic clarity—understanding Radiometer’s runway and where we want to be in, say, seven years, and then setting the right targets for the team. It’s also about translating that strategy into action; we have to break things down into components, prioritize, and make sure we have the right talent on board to be able to implement what we want to do. It’s all a team effort—there’s nothing about my job I can or should do on my own—and I’m fortunate to work with a group of very strong, capable leaders.
For one thing, I am really fond of this team. The culture of Radiometer, and of Danaher in general, is very collaborative—people really want to work together, and we encourage everyone to reach out and ask for help. It’s also very apolitical. We’re direct, and we challenge each other to solve problems, but it’s always focused on the issue rather than the people and always with the goal of getting better.
As far as where we go from here, I think it’s a mix. There are things we can do better, whether it’s improving on-time delivery of our products, bringing products to market faster, or streamlining our internal workflows to make the team’s work more efficient. All the instruments we’ve shipped during the pandemic are one example: how do we make sure they’re not just sold, but out there continuing to be useful to our customers and continuing to benefit their patients?
There’s also so much more we can do for our customers—new areas we want to enter. Some of that is around product innovation and next-generation technology. Some of it is our digital agenda, getting more units connected to our digital platforms so our customers can gather and share their information more effectively and so that we can service them remotely. For instance, some of the innovations we’re working on will help doctors and nurses not only access their data but understand how to use it to support clinical decision-making. We have a strong strategic plan in place, and there are many adjacencies and areas we can naturally grow into as Radiometer evolves. That’s super exciting to me.