After starting his career on Wall Street in the heyday of the 80s, Jeffrey T. Slovin, now CEO of Sirona Dental Systems, Inc., understands how important teamwork, focus, and leadership are to an organisation. After years of advising other companies on mergers and acquisitions, Jeffrey moved into the business world himself, working in a number of industries before becoming president and director of Schick Technologies, Inc. in 1999. In 2005, Schick agreed to merge with Sirona and in 2013 Jeffrey became CEO. Sirona is publicly traded on NASDAQ (under the ticker SIRO), has a market capitalisation of over US$5.5 billion and over a billion dollars in revenues.
The CEO Magazine spoke to Jeffrey about how he turned around Schick Technologies and grew Sirona Dental, why innovation is so essential to its success, and what the future holds for the company.
The CEO Magazine: What makes a good leader?
Jeffrey: Growing up, I was blessed with the opportunity to play multiple competitive sports, which taught me what it truly means to be part of a team and to win as a team. I'm a big believer that teamwork, giving great effort, and building trust drive the success of an organisation. As a leader, I believe it is not only one's duty to put his or her colleagues in a position to win, but also to bring out the best in them. I view my role as more of a coach looking for ways to improve the individual and the team. I need to determine the right players, communicate a clear game plan, and insure that they're prepared and motivated to execute on it. That said, I also need to make difficult decisions, quickly and decisively.
Just like a team competing for a common goal, an effective leader creates a set of common values and a clear vision for the future. With this shared focus, everyone can make better decisions in the best interest of the group. In fact, I would argue that focus for an organisation is a significant competitive advantage. If you can combine a corporate culture of employees that believe in each other and support each other with a direct focus on the goals of the organisation, you'll have people who have accountability and strive for operational excellence. In the end, its the people that really make a difference. It is their talents, focus, and efforts that will drive the success of the organisation. Often, the best ideas come from your team. As the head of an organisation, listening is sometimes just as important and leading.