Seven conflicting (and useful) answers to the question… “How can I succeed in the orthopedics industry?“
#1 Here’s how to succeed – Leapfrog to the winners.
Be opportunistic in your career. Find the early growing companies. Follow the serial CEOs who are successful. Once you find the right company, jump on to that rocket ship in any capacity that you can. Roles in these growing companies will give you faster trajectory in title, pay and responsibility. If you catch the waves of each exponentially growing company at the right time, your career will be catapulted over and over. Always be interviewing. Be open to any geography, and have you bags packed ready to go (minimize your life baggage). But most of all, stay on the lookout for the next early exponential company.
#2 Here’s how to succeed – Outwork everyone.
Carol Parks said that successful people are not more gifted. They just outwork everyone else. It’s not about money or connections. It’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone. Do the work of two or three people. Be the first one in the office and the last to leave. Over-deliver on your work. Ask for more responsibility.
#3 Here’s how to succeed – Become a great number two.
In your current company, figure out who is going to be a future CEO. You can sense the winners early. Hunt for and befriend those specific people who are on this fast track. Be useful to them. Always give and never ask for anything in return. Spend lots of time with them. If you play your cards right, your superstar friend with pull you into each of his/her new ventures. You will get a call to come join him/her in their new venture. Your valuable relationship will lead to your becoming a Manager, Director, VP faster than the crowd who do not have a superstar mentor or friend.
#4 Here’s how to succeed – Specialize
Go deep in your niche. Become the world’s expert in a smallest definable niche inside the industry. Be the best in the world in something that has value – early stage medtech fund-raising, Musculoskeletal genetics, Robot software, SaaS business models, Chinese sales and distribution, RTC clinical trial design… or anything that is super-specific. Eat and breathe your niche. Study, read, network, speak, publish within your niche. There will come a time when a promising orthopedic company “has to have” your expertise, and you will be the only one who “owns it”. You will have the leverage to name your own salary, and you will have no competition.
#5 Here’s how to succeed – Out educate everyone
Advance your career with education. The bigger orthopedic companies want people with advanced degrees in key management roles. Get the Exec MBA while working. Get a law degree. Get a 2nd or 3rd technical degree. Wherever you are, ask your boss to pay for your next degree. If not, join a company that will pay for your next degree.
#6 Here’s how to succeed – Start your own
Start your own company. You have strong skills in certain areas of orthopedics (sales, marketing, or engineering) and weaknesses in other areas. Don’t worry about your blindspots. This is the best time in history to start a new company. Talk to any surgeon, and he/she will tell you that there are thousands of great ideas for new products and services that are not being pursued. There are insane new technologies available (imaging, new biomaterials, haptics, genetics, 3D printing, robotics, AI/ML, augmented reality, etc). Business tools are mostly free today. Funding is abundant because there is some much wealth in the system. Whatever your weakness is, find co-founders who complement it. If you are weak in tech, find an Engineering leader to be your co-founder. If you are weak in sales, find a sales leader to be your co-founder. If you are weak in finance and legal, find a finance/attorney co-founder. Many have taken this road to success in their 50s, 40s or even in their 30s and become wildly successful. It just takes courage and initiative.
#7 Here’s how to succeed – Be chill and be happy
Why is Denmark the “happiest” country? Because Danes have low expectations. Everything is provided (healthcare, education, and other social benefits) so they don’t have to hustle. With your new low expectation philosophy, it’s not about the money, the titles or how many direct reports you have. Just clock in and clock out. Spend less money than you make. Bank 15% of every paycheck into untaxed longterm savings plans. Spend more time with your spouse and kids. You will never move. You will be able to put down deep roots in a single community and have livelong friends, while your peers are moving around all the time.
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