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Welcome to another episode of Career Diaries by Elemed, the podcast dedicated to discussing careers in the MedTech industry! In this episode, we had the pleasure of interviewing Steve C de Baca, Chief Patient Safety and Quality Officer at Philips. Steve shares his experiences with risk during his career, how receiving a company-wide corporate warning letter (CWL) warning letter was actually beneficial to his career, and so much more!
Let’s unpack what he said and see what we can learn.
📝 The Letter that Changed Everything
While working at Boston Scientific, the company received a corporate warning letter from the FDA, the first and only such letter ever issued. The letter was a serious warning that the company’s quality control systems were inadequate and a potential risk to patient safety
Several months later, Steve woke up to a call asking him to come into his manager’s office at 5 p.m., and he talked about his worry and lack of focus throughout the day as a result of this. When it was time to go to his boss’ office (and after a surprising conversation about baseball) the phone rang, and it wasn’t as dire as he initially thought it would be…
🏔️ A Mount Everest of Compliance Risk
As it turns out, this call was not a negative one – in fact, it was extremely positive! Steve was offered the chance to lead the same cardiovascular team mentioned in the FDA letter. He eagerly accepted the offer, saying that the situation needed a change in its processes. While exciting, it didn’t come without risks. Next time, he said how he wouldn’t jump “headfirst into the fire” and would “negotiate a better deal” the next time a similar opportunity came around.
Joining Philips was another risk Steve took – he said the company was the “Mount Everest of compliance risk” because of its complex history. He tries to see risks more as opportunities to advance his skills, rather than something potentially damaging to his career trajectory and development.
😰 Analysation Paralysation
Steve uses the term “analysis paralysis” to describe how some companies become so driven by fear that they don’t want to take risks in fixing broken things – so they sit back and do nothing.
Steve encourages people to break free of the mindset of analysis paralysis and fully embrace risks wholeheartedly, as this is crucial for authentic change transformation to take place. He points out that such a shift in approach can potentially result in inventive resolutions to enduring challenges.
🙋The Power of Asking Follow-Up Questions
Steve expects his team to take risks, but he never leaves them to do it alone. He coaches, mentors, and guides them, helping them to overcome their apprehension and find ways to tackle their challenges. He also emphasises the importance of asking questions, knowing that a simple one can often change someone’s entire mindset from apprehension to confidence. He also understands that taking risks can be scary, so he takes the time to build trust and rapport with his team members. He creates a safe space where team members feel comfortable asking questions and sharing their ideas, even if they’re not sure if they’re right.
🔥 Why is it important to take risks in your career?
It’s important to take risks within your career.
Taking risks can help you grow and learn within your role, benefiting your future career trajectory. When you step out of your comfort zone, you’re forced to learn new skills and see things in a new light – and not be bolted down by analysis paralysis. If Steve wasn’t willing to take risks, he might have never changed the team. Potentially Potentially, this could have set off a chain reaction, leading him to never join Phillips.
Of course, not all risks will have good outcomes, but if you don’t take any risks at all, you could be missing out on some great opportunities.
Risktaking can also help you achieve your goals, and help build your confidence and resilience. When you face challenges and overcome them, you learn that you are capable of more than you thought possible.
✍🏻 Key Insights
Steve’s story about receiving a company-wide corporate warning letter serves as a reminder that, even when things seem to be going disastrously wrong, there can be great opportunities for growth and development. In the case of the FDA corporate warning letter, Steve was able to use it as a springboard into a new position and role. He also put great emphasis on asking follow-up questions, a valuable reminder that it’s good to dig deeper and gain a better understanding of the risks at hand. By asking the right questions, we can make more informed decisions and reduce the likelihood of failure.
In conclusion, taking risks can massively benefit you – despite the seeming scary at first! Of course, not all risks will have good outcomes, but if you fall into the mind-shift of analysis paralysis, you can miss out on some incredible opportunities.
Steve’s career journey is strongly correlated with risk-taking, taking him to his current position as the “Chief Patient Safety and Quality Officer”.
But if you don’t take any risks at all, you could be missing out on some great opportunities that could catapult your career to amazing new heights.
If you want to hear more about Steve’s story and his thoughts on risk-taking, make sure to download and listen to the latest episode of Career Diaries by Elemed!