A conversation with:
Linda Sanders

Cultivating the Next Generation of Leaders

The healthcare industry is a complex ecosystem that requires not only innovative ideas but influential leadership and unique perspectives to drive transformative results. Amid the continually evolving healthcare landscape, the intersection of healthcare, technology, and entrepreneurship is of paramount importance. In an enlightening episode of the med+Design podcast, we had the pleasure of having an involved conversation with Linda Sanders, an executive coach, entrepreneur, and business consultant noted for her passion for driving transformative results.

A Glimpse into Linda Sanders' Multifaceted Journey

Known for her dynamic approach to leadership, entrepreneurship, and personal growth, Sanders bases her principles on a "bias for action" mantra. Her journey, trailing through three decades of experience leading cross-functional teams at Fortune 500 firms, startups, and academic institutions, showcases a commitment to bridging healthcare, technology, and entrepreneurship. 

Sanders’ journey spans from her foundational days at IBM, impactful roles at UNC Chapel Hill, to advisory positions across various startups and established organizations. Here, she consistently presented an unwavering commitment to fostering leadership and innovation in the healthcare arena.

The Interplay Between Entrepreneurship and Leadership

Leaders often grapple with a deluge of challenges, encompassing everything from leadership development, interpersonal relationships to transitioning into new positions. A great leader has a vision, integrity, accountability, and humility. They're transparent, communicative, and promote inclusion and diversity in their teams. Particularly in crises such as the pandemic, a leader's ability to display empathy and invite the team's input proves invaluable.

From Sanders’ viewpoint, leadership also encompasses the willingness to take calculated risks and embrace the unknown. One fundamental aspect of her coaching often involves encouraging individuals and startups to hone their focus, take meaningful actions, and to be authentic, transparent, and humble along their journey.

Navigating the Dynamic Intersection of Tech and Healthcare

The intricate relationship between technology companies and healthcare is a subject of intense debate. Whether it's wearable devices, robotics, or nanotechnology, the integration of technology in healthcare is critical. Sanders suggests that technology companies with aspirations to venture into healthcare should have in place the right knowledge base by including physicians and healthcare providers in leadership roles to understand patient needs fully.

Charting the Path for Budding Entrepreneurs and Future Leaders

For budding entrepreneurs and future leaders seeking to make their mark in the healthcare and technology space, Sanders encourages them to embrace all opportunities, be willing to discover new things, and speak to others about their experiences. Additionally, she suggests seeking out mentorship programs and local organizations to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their chosen field. 

In conclusion, the interplay of healthcare, technology, and entrepreneurship presents a broad spectrum of possibilities. The key to navigating this interdisciplinary space lies in innovative leadership, a passion for driving transformative results, and a focus on understanding and meeting patient needs. Linda Sanders' journey serves as an inspiring testament to the potential of transformative leadership in the healthcare landscape and the boundless opportunities waiting to be unearthed at the intersection of healthcare and technology.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Jared: Hello everyone and thank you for joining us for another insightful episode of the med+Design Podcast, where we spotlight the journeys and innovations of healthcare's most influential leaders. Today we have the privilege of hosting Linda Sanders, an executive coach, entrepreneur, and business consultant with a passion for driving transformative results.

Linda's mantra, bias for action, encapsulates her dynamic approach to leadership, entrepreneurship, and personal growth. With over three decades of experience leading cross-functional teams at Fortune 500 firms, startups, and academic institutions, her expertise is truly unparalleled. Linda's journey is a testament to her dedication to fostering leadership and innovation.

From her foundational days at IBM to her impactful roles at UNC Chapel Hill and her advisory positions with various startups and established organizations, she has consistently showcased her commitment to bridging the worlds of healthcare, technology and entrepreneurship. Her unique perspective shaped by international assignments and a deep understanding of cultural nuances offers a fresh take on global business connections and leadership.

Throughout today's conversation, we'll delve into her vast experiences, explore her vision for the future of entrepreneurship and healthcare, and uncover the strategies she employs to mentor the next generation of leaders. So let's get started. Welcome, Linda.

[00:01:16] Linda: Ah, thank you, Jared. What a delight to be here.

[00:01:19] Jared: We're very happy to have you. And so we alluded to IBM a little bit in the intro and really, how did your early experiences, including your time, at IBM shape your journey towards executive coaching and startup consulting. And what also inspired that transition out of IBM?

They're such a established behemoth into diving into the more risk-on world of startups and entrepreneurship.

[00:01:41] Linda: As I step back and just look at my, I guess my life's journey in a way, I was very fortunate to be brought up in a family that basically said, you can be whatever you want.

And so I think just having that foundation of support and encouragement and encouragement for taking risk and trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone, help lay a foundation and just some things as I think about. I used to, I still play a lot of sports, but, team sports. There's some coaching, some support, some activities, encouragement going into college whether it was with service organizations or social organizations.

Then as you said, I went to work for IBM right out of college, and that was a wonderful experience and I spent as you said, a couple of decades there. And during that time I had the privilege of being in many leadership roles. And one of the things that they did so effectively was individuals who were going into leadership roles.

You got immersed, you went off to your first line manager class, your second line manager class, your executive classes and to really hone and think about what leadership means and how to lead people, and how do you incent others and how do you work with others. So all of those experiences led me to basically, become a better leader.

And I just, it just resonated with me. In terms of working with and developing people, I love to see people grow from maybe where they're not as confident to feeling comfortable in taking steps and having their voices heard, recognizing they have a seat at the table. So I worked with a lot of wonderful individuals who, hopefully I played a little bit of a positive role in their journeys as they move forward and whatever their journeys wound up being.

So I would say, life's experiences certainly corporate experiences. I also worked for Texas Instruments and they also had a similar philosophy, but what got me really and so I think I had some of the maybe basic DNA in me for entrepreneurship and the willingness to take some risks and start up businesses.

And I think having worked with a lot of acquisitions in corporate America and also been responsible for strategic initiatives, where you step back and you say, Hey, you're working with a lot of business partners who are reselling your software, what are they having to do with their business models? What approach do they need to be taking?

What are some of the risks that they're taking, and how might we help de-risk? Or how might we present a shared risk model to go forward. So I think all of those elements gave me somewhat that level of confidence to then say, I'm gonna branch out on my own. And I guess one other factor would've been I decided to go back and get my executive MBA at Keenan Flagler Business School at UNC.

For those of us who are here in Chapel Hill, you're pretty familiar with it. And that was back in 2006, 2007, and the entrepreneurial focus was one that just really resonated with me. And as a consequence of that, I've had both the privilege and the opportunity to be a coach at business school for executive MBAs who are thinking about, boy, I might wanna start up my own business.

So I have the pleasure of working with them on an annual basis. And Ted Soler is one of the leaders in that space. Over at Keenan Flagler Business School. So that was probably a pretty lengthy answer.

[00:05:49] Jared: Yeah, it sounds like a fun career that you've had so far so impactful as well. And something that I've seen that I also mentioned before was your tagline of bias for action.

And I think that's just so interesting, what does it, mean in your words? And how did you come up with it? And then just how have you integrated into your teachings as well?

[00:06:09] Linda: Yeah so Jared, I wish I could take credit for coming up with it. I'm actually a friend of mine a couple of years ago, he had it on his business card and I said, oh, I love this because this is so relevant to coaching, executive coaching because it's all about getting people to take action based on the goals that they wanna set for themselves. And it might be very small steps, or it might be a little bit longer stride, but it depends upon where the individual is. So I asked him, I said, do you mind if I borrow that? But it's really having a preference and a tendency to be proactive. It's really being intentional. It's that speed over perfection, but it's intentionality. It's not just, oh, I'm just gonna go get this done. I'm getting it done, and maybe I'm being more deliberative, more thoughtful in my approach. Whether it's decision making, 'cause we've all been in situations and worked with others or worked with others where it's oh gosh, I wish she would just make a decision here.

Or are we in analysis paralysis? So it's really stepping back and saying, okay, as I look forward, I try to jettison the word perfect because what's perfection? I don't know. If I can at least put a context in place and frame an opportunity and say, here are the things that we need to do. Here are the

dependencies that we have to move forward and take action. Because if you don't take action, you're not gonna be learning. You need to get out there. Gee, I think this will work. Not sure, but let's try it. It's a little bit like the MVP, the minimum viable product when someone develops a product that they wanna take to market.

We think based on customer discovery and the needs of the market, that this is what the MVP should be, but we're constantly reshaping it. So it's that iterative process. It's the bias towards action is really just a statement that let's keep moving forward and at the same time, let's be intentional.

Let's learn. There are gonna be those lessons learned, there are gonna be some best practices. There are gonna be some things that you go, oh my gosh, that was a crater. I didn't know if it was there, but I'll learn from that and hopefully I won't, repeat that.

[00:08:36] Ty: Linda, I just wanna say that I've seen the impact of your coaching here in the triangle, both personally from our conversations and your mentoring, that I'm so grateful for some of the students I've worked with of yours who have like really benefited from your coaching.

And then also like some of the more mature startups where years on they've made pivots as a result of the guidance you've given them. And you've just made a tremendous impact on the people that you touch. And so anyway, I'm just, grateful for you and I think your coaching is tremendous and so thank you.

[00:09:05] Linda: You're very generous and kind with your words. Thank you.

[00:09:08] Jared: I think that's a really good setup as well for where we're taking the direction of the conversation as well. And, so Linda, what are some of the most common challenges that executives are coming to you with and are there some common challenges that you see or does it vary greatly based on their experiences, their available resources, the strength of their team?

And, I'm sure that list could go on and on.

[00:09:29] Linda: Yeah so I've had the pleasure and continue to have the pleasure of working with leaders. They might be in the C-suite individuals who are in middle level management, first line managers, individual contributors, high school students, college students.

So it's just a wonderful swath of individuals. But when I think about the leaders, so in companies, and this could be startups, it could be large corporations or mid-size corporations it's often leadership development. So someone might be moving into a new position where they needed a certain set of skills in their prior position, but now they're moving into a new position and that might be needing to get comfortable with those skills.

It might be. Interpersonal relationships. Sometimes a lot of people struggle with interpersonal relationships because they're used to being command and control, very authoritative and versus stepping back and really listening. So it, it really varies on the individual and it's really up to them.

Executive coaching is really about me as your executive coach partnering with you, going through a very thought provoking and deliberative process hopefully inspires you to maximize your personal and professional potential. And that's basically the definition of the International Coaching Federation, which in the coaching world is the gold standard of executive coaching.

And I'm accredited by ICF and I've gone through, when I decided to get into executive coaching a few years ago, I thought, let me reach out to some of my friends who are executive coaches and really understand what they've done and really what's important and, making sure that you're a certified executive coach.

So I've been through a couple of certifications with NC State and then also with Berkeley. I wanna make sure that I'm delivering and maximizing the value that I deliver to, the clients that I have the privilege to work with. So I just vectored off from leadership, but the range of issues and challenges changes constantly, even for the individual.

We might start off with someone saying, boy, I'm not doing a really good job of delegating to my team. And then we might explore that. And then once that individual feels okay, I'm in a better place. I'm doing a better job of delegating, we've worked through why I might

not have a level of trust or confidence or, I need to give people an opportunity, I need to enable and then empower. So once we get past that, there might be something else that they say, okay, now I need to take a look at strategic planning, which is vectoring off maybe from my personal development and my self-reflection, but now I'm shifting maybe more into a business mode of coaching.

[00:12:38] Jared: So it is just a wide gambit and I think that's just really what business is at this, at the end of the day as well, especially for a smaller team something like, Trig here. We wear a lot of hats. And a lot of, startup founders who have to wear lots of hats. Based on your opinion from your experiences that you've had,

what are some of the greatest barriers to success for ambitious entrepreneurs that I would say are in their sort of like pre-seed stage and it's a really bootstrapped team. What are some of those things that you've seen that have just led to are those roadblocks that are glaring for teams like that?

[00:13:10] Linda: I've often seen startups or pre-seed companies go, oh, I've got so many great ideas. Lemme this and this and this. So focus is really important. Doesn't mean that you don't keep those other ideas in the parking lot, right? And say, let's not lose track of all of those wonderful ideas.

But really, who are we? Why are we here? Ask the why. What do we intend to do? Where are we gonna focus? And then what do we need? Because like you said, Jared, you know the barriers, there can be an enormous number of barriers to bootstrapping, right? Financial barriers, you've only got so much money.

So how am I going to use that as I am going in and I'm validating my market as I'm going in and doing that constant discovery? Do I really know what my value proposition is? What makes me so unique? What's the competition doing out there? The market validation is so important. I think time management too, because if the pre-seed companies aren't careful, they find themselves pulled into a lot of areas that

they can get distracted sometimes. And that's again, where the focus is important. And that's where, finding maybe the right members of the team who you want on your team. Advisors or mentors who are willing to work with you and help. And that's where the network is really important too, I think.

Expanding that network and continuing to cast the net wide. And I've personally found, having been a co-founder of a couple of companies people are pretty generous with their time. You also wanna be very respectful of their time and not abuse, but people are willing to help out and share a point of view.

Just be real thoughtful in terms of what your ask is. And then, I think that lays a good foundation for you. But I think the barriers really depend upon who the leaders are, what their experience is, what their willingness is to embrace a level of risk. And then just that focus.

Don't give me 10 things. Maybe give me two or three, and then tell me which one's the top one and why.

[00:15:43] Ty: That's such a great point. The expression you hear is that startups don't die of thirst for want of opportunities. Rather, they drown from too many opportunities that shift their focus back and forth between we're gonna pivot to do this, we're gonna pivot to do that.

And there's not a single overriding thesis that helps drive them and they eventually just run out of momentum because they struggle to execute.

[00:16:03] Linda: Yeah, absolutely. And pivoting isn't bad. But really it's the iterating. You wanna iterate and then the pivot is gonna be, oh my gosh, something really consequential.

There might have been, a major shift in the market for whatever. It's like when Covid hit. That provided a major shift in so many markets that businesses had to step back and go, we're gonna really have to pivot. Restaurateurs, people aren't coming in. But what can we do? We can deliver, or people can, drive by like merits.

Here in, in Chapel Hill.

[00:16:36] Jared: We actually got a real interesting question from one of our audience members Travis Clark. Nice to see you here. And I thought this would be a really interesting one 'cause I also wanted to talk about the intersection of tech and healthcare as well. And for everyone listening in, the question is, can you talk about any experiences you've had with tech companies breaking into the healthcare industry?

He asked because he's heard others say tech companies will not be successful in healthcare unless they embrace clinicians, doctors, nurses, therapists, and bring them into the C-suite and executive boards. He is really curious of how companies strategically develop their structure to start solving new problems with these different industries.

[00:17:12] Linda: Wow. Number one, thank you for your question. I'm not sure I know all the answers to this, but I can certainly share some points of view. I think, the intersection of technology and healthcare is critical. We're seeing whether it's wearable devices, it's nanotechnology.

There are so many things that can and are being done, robotics. I think technology companies who want to get into healthcare. That's where it's good to say, do I have the right knowledge base? Do I have people in healthcare who know healthcare who can help? Because there's gotta be a need and based on that need then you can do research and say is this needed by all medical institutions whether it's academic institutions or, hospitals or whatever. So I think technology companies going off and developing for healthcare, I suspect a lot of them who might be doing that have the talent on board. It's gonna depend. I don't know if I really answered his question, so certainly ask another question if you want.

[00:18:31] Jared: Yeah. We also had another one that was also around the medical field and, essentially clinicians and they've established an unmet need based on their own experiences. But they've never been entrepreneurs before. They've only, worked as clinicians their entire career.

What steps do you really think folks like that need to take to better set themselves up for success as a early stage entrepreneur working in business for the first time, I guess seems to be something that you're leaning towards just as learning about it for first and foremost, getting probably good folks around you as well to help guide you.

[00:19:05] Linda: Yeah I think if someone has said, boy, I've identified an unmet need. There's an opportunity to step back and really provide some clarity. What's that need? What's the problem you're trying to solve? What's the magnitude of the problem? And then how many other individuals and institutions might be experiencing this?

So I, I think getting that level of clarity, then maybe that's where the market research can also be used as a validation point. Reaching out to your network. It might be reaching out to Ty and say, Hey Ty, this is what I'm thinking. I see this big opportunity. You are in the medical device space.

How would I go about moving forward? And there are a lot of organizations and businesses or individuals who work with startups or people who are thinking about starting their own businesses. So I think there's an opportunity to do some exploration as an example. One could be I-Corps.

So if you're associated with an academic institution and you're saying, gee, I think there's this medical device, or I think there's a problem I've identified and there could be a potential solution. Seeking out I-Corp, which is part of the National Science Foundation. And most higher education institutions have an association with I-Corps and they

run a six to eight week program that really focuses on, what's the problem you're solving? What's your value proposition, what's your USP, that customer discovery, because the customer discovery, which should be ongoing is what really provides that added validation and just, talking to 10 or 12 or 15 or 20, potential customers isn't gonna do it.

It's like the a hundred plus ultimately is where you wanna be getting to.

[00:21:15] Ty: Yeah as you were talking about this and to Travis's question about technology companies moving into healthcare. I think that's a major shift and it underscores how important it is to have kind of a deep understanding of the industry.

And so I think it is a shortcut to make sure you are fully embracing clinicians who are experts in the healthcare field. You think about an analog to this is Ron Johnson, he was an executive with Apple and had been at Target and so we had all of the success in building up retail for Apple stores and then shifted over to become CEO of JC Penney.

And he tried to take the formula that worked in one domain that made him very successful. And then the formula he tried to apply for the JCPenney customer base led to a pretty I guess like a significant change that basically alienated a lot of the core loyal JCPenney customer base. And so just because you're successful in one domain, and I think a lot of technology companies have that, that then trying to shift into healthcare, I suggest to proceed with caution and wanna really make sure, Linda, to your point that you've gone through and really validated that the work that you're doing or the thesis that you have actually resonates.

Because healthcare is a complex space. It's not just a business, it's a public good. And there's a lot of people that are in the space that are there for I guess like caregiving reasons, not necessarily for financial reasons. And it is something to make sure you're coming into it with a good degree of authenticity, that you truly are trying to help people and that's a major part of the ethos of that space.

And so anyway, just to touch on that. Yeah.

[00:22:58] Linda: Yeah. Ty, that is so important and you're your example of Ron Johnson and JC Penney's is a wonderful example. And one of the things that I've read that they didn't realize or didn't appreciate was the value of coupons. And that so many people used coupons. There's this psychological barrier that you've gotta get over, okay, I'm taking away coupons and I'm creating a different store format. That's what people want. They've been conditioned, the marketplace has been conditioned and appreciating that, okay, maybe we would don't wanna have coupons, but there might be a way of really weaning yourself if in fact that's the right thing to do.

So one go to market model isn't necessarily going to fit another go to market model.

[00:23:49] Ty: Making a pivot like that is risk-on for sure. And yeah, certainly as the executives you work with, I'm sure like trying to navigate that. Netflix was able to pull off a pivot like that at scale, but there's equal is an equal number of companies who haven't been able to make big adjustments like that yeah.

[00:24:06] Linda: Yeah. I imagine that the number of companies who haven't made it is maybe even greater than equal.

[00:24:12] Jared: Yeah. And speaking of having to make these adjustments a lot of companies have had to adjust their business model now that we're not in this time of free money anymore. Interest rates are very high. Money is much more expensive than it once was. And In your eyes, is this a good time to start a new venture?

And, how are successful entrepreneurs navigating this environment where access to capital is just not what it once was, say five years ago?

[00:24:37] Linda: Yeah I'll tell you I've never known that there was free money out there.

I would say, with interest rates having gone up I think there has been more caution in the angel networks and the VC space. Not that there wasn't caution before, but I think people are becoming more deliberative and they're looking for a return. Don't just give me an idea.

Show me the pipeline of opportunities that you potentially have. I really wanna know about the market size that. Tam, Sam and Zomm, and where are you really going to target? And then who's that beachhead customer and why? And what are the price points that you're looking at? Help me understand what kind of price elasticity this product or portfolio of products might have.

So I think there's a lot that people need to be doing. I think there are certainly money out there if you have a good opportunity. So it's really going to be how do you position and package yourself? It's your pitch deck. It's your level of experience as the founder, the co-founders it is who are your advisors, right?

Where are you focused and are you focused? And then how do you expect to get there? What are those critical milestones? So I think investors are really looking, so what's your exit strategy in what period of time have you made the right assumptions coming in? What's that implementation plan look like for the next 12 to 18 months?

What are those business dependencies? How does that tie out with your pro forma statement? Do you really have the right business model? And who are the partners that you're leveraging through this process and why? Then how are you defining success? So there's a lot of things that I think as entrepreneurs, we owe it to ourselves and we absolutely owe it to others who are making an investment in our company because we have a fiduciary responsibility and most people who make investments would love to see that 10 times. Now the majority aren't, a 10 times exit on your money. And there are a lot of failures along the way, but that's where I think, the entrepreneur needs to be transparent. Here are the issues that we have.

Frankly, this is where we would appreciate your input as investors, this is where you could help us. Can you help introduce us to people in this space that would yield significant value for us?

[00:27:30] Jared: That's fascinating. So it, it almost seems during a time when access to capital becomes a little bit more tight you just have to be sharper.

Your business ideas have to be better. It seems like you just have to be far more competitive than what you would've been. You're right. There's no free money out there, but during times when, cash is more flowing with those lower Oh, yes. rates.

[00:27:49] Linda: I think this is embracing the challenge, if you have the conviction, the passion, you've done your homework, you're demonstrating, you're continuing to do your homework.

Yeah. This could be viable. But get some outside support too. Tap into people like Ty, who know the med device space, who can give you some real good input and guidance if he has time. That is.

[00:28:14] Ty: We always welcome those conversations. Yeah. So I wanted to just, so one I'm religious about if anytime somebody recommends a book, I immediately go and get it.

So Brian Spencer made a contribution here. So he said, Travis, I agree with Linda. Of course we all should. But in addition, look at the Cleveland Clinic way by Toby Cosgrove. And so I'm gonna go order that book. Successful healthcare companies bring in physicians and other providers into leadership positions.

Providers offer a unique perspective on patient's journey for tech or any sector, look at the problem that you're solving and who is benefiting from its implementation, provider type, and patient. Once identifying your focus group, there are many online forums, networks, and professional societies that will welcome entrants that are innovating in their space.

So yeah, if you're adding value, people will welcome you. And I think tying back to that point of really if you've got something that's a conviction play that you've really been able to validate, Linda, to your point, that you know, if it truly is an opportunity, you'll be able to find the resources.

But you have to do your homework and really have proven it out in order to get to the capital. There's no such thing as an overnight success. It's usually years of work put in before you see some of the breakthroughs that happen.

[00:29:25] Linda: Yeah. And a litmus test might be, would you invest in your own company?

If you step back and you say, let me take myself out of the position I'm in today, and rather than an inside looking out, let me be outside looking in. What would be my expectations? What would be my return? Are they communicating as effectively and as timely as I'd like them to? Because that's one of the other things that, that I found and when I was a co-founder of a clinical stage company, people were awfully gracious in providing support and I felt it's important for us to provide everybody who has been so kind in sharing information. Provide a quarterly update. Now, it wasn't like four page Word document, it was a half a page email that was bulletized in terms of here's what we've accomplished, here are our next steps. This would be our ask if you can introduce us to others and again, thank you for your support.

[00:30:28] Jared: I really like that. That would be a really humbling thing to do is ask yourself, would I invest in my own company? I'm like, so what happens? Yes or no? Oh gosh. That would be really interesting to delve into. And something that I've been really wanting to ask you as well is talking about as an executive and as a leader really what's the importance of cultural competency in, regards to empowering, effective global business successes.

And I'm also curious of like, when in your career did you discover that this was so important and I guess hone it in for yourself as well.

[00:31:01] Linda: Wow. I think cultural competency should be a way of life for businesses today. Whether it's individuals, whether it's systems, whether it's organizations, we're working with people from diverse cultures diverse backgrounds diverse belief systems, and we all get richer by having diversity. And so cultural competency is essential for business. It promotes understanding, awareness. It can further strong dialogue. It can actually open up a lot of potential opportunities on wow. I didn't realize that about this particular group. Might there be an opportunity that we could, pursue together?

So the social collaboration, I think there are an enormous number of benefits. And, we're a melting pot around the world. We're a global economy and having an appreciation and understanding of the needs of others and how we can collaborate is so important. And you know where I've seen that, I've had the privilege of living overseas a couple of times eight years in Australia as a youngster growing up.

And my mother was a believer, we're we live overseas, we're gonna have an opportunity to see parts of the world and not necessarily stay in four star hotels. Gain insight and culture by staying in the hotels or motels that were more unique to the particular country that we were in.

And so I think there were some real insights that I personally appreciated. And then I've been on an international assignment in Tokyo when I was in corporate America and have just managed and led teams across the globe, which I just love because it's that learning, it's those insights.

It's an appreciation on every culture, every individual has a perspective and value that they bring to the table, and we should embrace that. We might not agree with everything they say. They might not agree with everything we say, but by at least having that conversation in a respectful manner, we can hopefully move the ball forward in delivering value and creating offering solutions and products that drive positive outcomes. And especially in healthcare. It's not, I shouldn't say, especially in healthcare, we're talking more about healthcare today. Some of these devices across the nation should be ubiquitous no matter where we are.

[00:33:59] Ty: We were talking about the startup growth and trying to figure out is there really value there? A running debate that I've had has been when is the appropriate time to reach out to strategics who might potentially acquire the company?

If you're thinking about what's the end game for it? I'm just curious to hear your take on that as far as engaging with the end goal in mind for the startups and I'm curious how you've thought about that.

[00:34:24] Linda: I would probably say no time, like the present.

So always thinking what could that exit strategy be and why, but then who might that be and why would they care? So then maybe you start to create a list on here's who potential partnerships could be, here potential acquirers, and why. Maybe I've developed an inhaled therapy and I have secured a patent and, there's some pharma who has an inhaled therapy and their patent is going to expire in two years, and my patent might give an extended life to their patent if they were to acquire and do, some creative engineering or patent prosecution around that. So I think just stepping back and thinking about, okay, what do I want to have happen? Do I wanna exit this at some point in time and why? And then, Who might be the people that I need to talk to.

And I think this is where, continuing to expand one's network and get other people's points of view. Because in some cases, someone might say, Linda, you're totally wrong. You need to wait until you have a product that actually, has a strong pipeline.

You've seen a strong revenue stream. Your margins are great, you're expanding in to markets, you're gonna make yourself a lot more attractive. Yeah that's a good answer. So I would probably say, it's gonna be dependent. There's not a one size that fits all. But I think you do need to think about your exit strategy.

As you're thinking about your business, is this something I really wanna grow? Because that's also going to affect how you're going to define yourself. Are you gonna be a C corp? It's better to be a C Corp than an L C from an acquisition standpoint. Or according to, what I've heard from the legal community.

I think there are a lot of factors that thinking about things up front can help set the foundation for you going forward.

[00:36:35] Jared: I wanted to pick your brain and get a little bit existential as well here. I just really wanna hit you with the all time question of, what makes a great leader?

Can anybody become a great leader? Is it a personality type? Is this something that's inherent within people? When I think of leaders there's this one I think of in the news. If you've heard of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes and how

[00:36:57] Linda: she had no read the book Bad Blood,

[00:37:01] Jared: right?

She literally didn't even have a product and she just talked her way into all this money and she didn't even go to college. At the end of the day, it's fascinating how she was able to through her own leadership skills, get something outta nothing. Of course, it ended up being this whole thing that, fraud and on all the works and jail time.

But to me I think it's just really fascinating of what leadership skills where it can take you whether or not it was valid from the beginning or not, in her case.

[00:37:27] Linda: Yeah. So actually Jared, you hit on an interesting point and an example, are those, is that a leader or is that someone who's been effective as an influencer?

And many leaders are good influencers, but are all influencers, leaders. So I think that's something for everybody to think about. Now, there are a range of characteristics for leaders and a great leader I think, has a vision. He or she has a clear sense of direction.

Knows where they're going. The second that I would say is integrity. And in the case of Theranos, you could probably argue that Elizabeth Holmes integrity might have been misplaced. But you're honest, you're transparent, you're trustworthy. I think that there's a level of accountability.

As a leader, you hold yourself accountable. Transparency is another characteristic I think of very strong leaders. You communicate effectively, you're transparent, you let people know what's going on, and then humility, I failed, I screwed up. I'm sorry.

That is really important. And then I think, it's I love leaders who have a sense of humor and have some level of self-deprecation can poke fun at themselves. And that kind of, I think that ties to humility too. But there are just so many things, good leaders communicate well.

They enable their teams and they empower their teams. I think they do a good job of providing a safety net, but they encourage the risk taking. And so that safety net is there to, help catch if they need to. And then a couple of things that I see with coaching a lot, it's being authentic.

You're showing up as you really are. And your willingness to listen. And a lot of people don't listen. They might hear, but are they really listening? Are they playing back to their teams? Here's what I heard. Now, tell me again how you would prioritize those. What kind of impact would that have on the business?

So I think creating the environment on, where people. There's a level of inclusion and diversity. If you've got a diverse team, you're gonna be more successful because we live in a diverse world and having a lot of different points of view is goodness and a willingness to debate and take calculated risks.

So there's not just one winning characteristic. I think there are a lot of characteristics that lead to strong leadership that by demonstrating a lot of these characteristics, you earn loyalty and trust from your customers, from your partners, from your employees, from those you serve your shareholders if you're publicly traded,

[00:40:34] Jared: Absolutely.

I've got a great follow up question here from Travis again. He says, so what kind of leadership skills did you see successful leaders navigate in a crisis like the pandemic? Wow.

[00:40:45] Linda: So yeah I worked with a number of physicians and practices stepping back and listening, being very empathetic.

Ensuring that there was transparent communications, because you're right, the pandemic, big time crisis, major burnout. We've seen a major departure of physicians and nurses and many other healthcare professionals as a result of the pandemic, which is causing enormous stress. And

what worked well, were senior leaderships being empathetic, inviting their teams to be part of the solution. How should we solve this? What are the options that we have available? Inviting everybody to have a seat at the table. And then some of it was also leading by example, I know of physicians who are emptying trash.

It's whatever it takes for us to make this work because we're here to drive positive patient outcomes in a very stressful environment. And having that level of give and take, I think there is also setting boundaries. 'cause it's important for people to set boundaries too. Because healthcare workers can't work 24 7.

They need their downtime. There's a level of respect. I think one of the biggest challenges that we're starting to see in the healthcare space is some of the mental health issues and just the increase in violence that healthcare workers are starting to experience, which is also contributing to the exit of a lot of people in healthcare.

So then it's as a leadership team, what's the leadership team going to do? How do we manage that and create an environment so that people feel safer? And that's across the board.

[00:42:49] Jared: I have so many more questions that I wanna ask you, and we only have seven more minutes. I have a whole nother hour's worth at least. And golly. Okay. You know what? Let's, maybe that needs to be part two. I'm thinking that's the case. And so with this last seven minutes, I'm thinking let's go into sort of an and the advice side of things.

And one of the questions I had for you was around. What's a piece of advice that kind of comes up for you time and time again? Throughout your life, throughout your coaching career. As I'm sure it is just something you've noticed yourself saying it quite a bit as well and I'm sure it's just something that people, it must resonate with so many people 'cause you've had to say it so many times.

[00:43:24] Linda: The two pieces of advice are focus. So what are you focusing on and why.. How's that going to get you to where you want to be? And then what action. So life is about action, right? If we don't take action, we're not going to see ourselves moving forward. If we don't take action, we don't learn. If we don't take action, we might find ourselves getting more frustrated and challenged.

So it's focus and action. And I guess the third would really be embrace risk. Embrace the unknown. A lot of us and myself included, there are times as we'll go, gosh, I don't know about that. I really comfortable, do I really know that? Embrace the unknown.

Who knows what we'll learn, who knows who you'll meet? Who knows what opportunities might open and present themselves.

[00:44:17] Jared: I think that's a fascinating one is like getting over that fear of failure in business. Like people are just paralyzed by I don't want to be seen as a failure, but you don't know the greatness that can come from that.

And, the business opportunities that could blossom from something failing, quote unquote, and is it a even a failure if you gained opportunity, gained knowledge from it at the end of the day?

[00:44:38] Linda: Yeah so Jared, actually on that point, if I may, so this is one of the things that we as homo sapiens do, and we do ourselves as terrible disservice.

Sometimes we magnify, oh my gosh, failure. What's that going to look like? What does that mean? Oh I'm confrontation averse, I'm risk averse. Gosh, what if you just had the conversation with someone in a respectful manner?

Might things turn out okay. So sometimes it's just exercising a muscle and reducing, that magnification that I think we all do. And step back and I use the three R words sometimes with clients who, might be confrontation averse, respect. What if you get into a respectful conversation and then you have a chance to either respond or react?

Respond. You might be a little bit more intentional. Reaction, might be more emotional based, and if you're responding, chances are the temperature in the room will go down and you might actually be able to have a conversation. And see an outcome, and then it isn't viewed as much as, for being conflict based.

I really like your approach of the three Rs. Man, I just wish we had more time. Okay. The last question that we always like to ask folks is, for people that are budding entrepreneurs and future leaders, and they actually want to follow your path as well, as far as like the executive coaching side and they wanna be sitting in your seat one day, what advice would you give to them for that career path to be successful?

[00:46:21] Linda: Oh goodness. Embrace all opportunities, be willing to discover and try new things. If you enjoy working with others and you feel like you might have a little bit of a knack for developing people and coaching people and watch them grow, try that. It could be, whether you're coaching your kid's soccer team, or you're volunteering to be a mentor for high school students, or you're a mentor for college students or just, try different opportunities.

And then speak to others about their experiences too, maybe organizations that they've been affiliated with. So that would be for the mentoring. And then, from a startup standpoint there are always a lot of organizations, like I mentioned with I-Corps the people can sign up for scores and other program where there are mentors, whether it's your local university, local schools.

I've had the good fortune, and I know we're down to one minute here. I had the good fortune of mentoring a young high school student the past two years. Her father and I had mentored a couple of startups together and he asked me two years ago, would you mind mentoring my high school student and I thought yeah that's unusual, but sure, I'd be happy to well enriching for me. My goodness. This is a young woman who now has a patent pending for a reusable menstrual pad, and she was awarded a grant from MIT, she and her team, the high school team, but just incredible. And so there are just so many individuals and opportunities for people to get involved and support and share and work with others.

It really gets down to your own interests. You could probably do a bunch of Googling on your local organizations. So I would encourage that.

[00:48:23] Jared: Wonderful. Wonderful. Linda, thank you so much for your time today. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and hopefully everybody had a notebook out today.

There was a lot of great things that we learned. I really appreciate your time and we have to have you back. I have so many more questions.

[00:48:35] Linda: Oh, please do. I love it. Thank you. Thank you so much for inviting me to join both of you, both Ty and Jared, and I hope this has been a, at least a little value to

everyone who's either participated today or listens to the podcast. And certainly if you have an interest, reach out to me on LinkedIn. I'd love to connect with you and, if you wanna have a conversation, happy to set up a conversation.

[00:49:00] Ty: Wonderful. Thank you Linda, and also thanks for the great questions today and yeah thanks again Linda.

Appreciate, always appreciate your wisdom and guidance.

[00:49:08] Linda: Terrific. Thank you all so much.

[00:49:09] Jared: All thank you. Thank you. Bye bye.