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5 highlights from Kevin Lobo's interview on Western Michigan University's "The Jungle"

Updated: Jan 5

In a recent podcast interview with Dr. Doug Lepisto and Dr. Derrick McIver of Western Michigan University’s (WMU) Haworth College of Business, Stryker’s Chairman and CEO, Kevin Lobo, dove right into what it’s like to lead a Fortune 250 company in the wake of a global pandemic.

On the podcast, “The Jungle,” which according to WMU focuses on “the emotions, practices and lived experiences of leading and strategy-making in an uncertain world,” Kevin shared his leadership approach and tips. He also talked about how we’re keeping the fabric of Stryker’s world-renowned company culture strong in this time of crisis.

Here are 5 highlights from Kevin's interview on "The Jungle"

1. Focus on your health

Kevin has found that sheltering in place has helped him focus more on his health by eating right and getting regular exercise. He used to travel frequently, but now that he's not spending as much time in the air, Kevin takes advantage of his home gym and has an easier time balancing his snacking habits.

2. Communicate early, communicate often

When asked about how Stryker keeps its culture intact during the pandemic, the number one area Kevin pointed to was regular, transparent communication. Whether it's more frequent one-on-one check-ins with members of his leadership team or his weekly company-wide iPhone video messages to all employees, Kevin boils it down to engagement being the key. "I want someone to complain to me -- which has never happened in my career -- that I'm communicating with them too much," Kevin said. "It hasn't happened yet."

3. Be calm and deliberate

As a leader, "everyone looks to you to be calm, deliberate, and have a positive outlook when a storm is brewing," Kevin said. Doing so can instill confidence and thoughtfulness in your teams, enabling them to carry out complex decision-making processes.

4. Play to your organizational strengths

Speed to market with a product is essential, and that expertise was on full display when Stryker's Emergency Relief Bed went from concept to reality in just seven days. Kevin highlighted the benefits of Stryker’s decentralized business operations in light of the bed's production, noting that the Medical division had the latitude to innovate quickly based on current customer needs.

5. Embrace technology - now and into the future

A common thread running through the interview was how technology has enabled many aspects of Stryker’s business – not only during COVID-19 but also in aiding strategic decision-making for the company’s future business processes. As one example, Kevin mentioned that although most of his leadership team was already working virtually before the pandemic, virtual communication tools have enabled more efficient collaboration not only for his team but across the entire organization. And in another example, Stryker may see reduced levels of employee travel well into the new normal, reducing costs and increasing productivity -- all made possible by technology.

Check out the full podcast episode – including Kevin sharing his favorite teas to drink and his spirit animal.

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