The Secrets to Success 

I’m often asked about my success rate in helping physicians transition to nonclinical careers. And my response always acknowledges three key characteristics: I work only with highly intelligent, hard working and committed people, i.e. physicians, and it is those characteristics that asset them apart from so many other people. My job is to point them on the right path, their roadmap, and make sure they have enough gas in the engine to get to their destination. 

However, those who are successful have two key attributes that underpin those basic physician characteristics I rely on. First, they think they can and secondly they appreciate the exponential value of successful networking.  

They think they can. Most physicians come to me saying they think they can work in pharma or biotech, etc…, but the successful physicians also think they can do other things. They have confidence in their core knowledge coupled with their “on the fly” learning ability. And, importantly, they come to recognize the difference between clinical decision-making and business decision-making. As one client commented after being in a successful transition position, “No matter what I say or do, no one is going to die.” It’s a simple as that. So, thinking you can is a matter of realizing most “experts” have little more knowledge they you have, they just have more practice experience. You need to acquire some of that experience, but don’t expect it to result in a certificate or a degree, it’s just knowledge, practical, usable knowledge. I’ve written before about trusting your own knowledge and I really can’t stress the importance enough. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE. I will also suggest you read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, David and Goliath – particularly the section regarding Jay Freireich, MD’s quest for an effective treatment for pediatric leukemia.  

Second is the power of networking. Networking is not idle conversation. It’s a business meeting with a beginning, a middle and an end. It has an objective – more networking. Any meeting that results in no follow up is idle chatter. The challenge presented to me by most clients is, how do you drive “next steps” while networking. Think of it as a patient interaction. How do you derive next steps when examining a patient? You ask questions. In the exam room those questions come easily – almost automatically. In business networking, they can be more difficult.  

Here are 12-steps to Successful Networking:

  1. How long have you been doing this?
  2. Where did you get your practical knowledge?
  3. Do you see important educational underpinnings to do what you do?
  4. Where do you go to expand your knowledge and insights?
  5. What do you read?
  6. Do you belong to any organizations?
  7. How operationally helpful are they?
  8. What is their major value?
  9. Should I belong to this/these group(s)?
  10. Who do you talk to when you have questions?
  11. Would you introduce me to them?
  12. Who else should I be talking to? 

You simply can’t ask these questions and not end the meeting with a list of next steps. And, as you listen to the answers, “how and why” will be inevitable follow ups – and from that you will learn how much you already know about the topic.  

Success is within your grasp. Belief in yourself is the fuel that keeps you going, and networking is the elixir that enables the cure.