I don’t know where the time has gone, but somehow Canale Communications turned nine years-old earlier this month! It has become our custom to spoil ourselves on our corporate birthday and this year was no exception – we celebrated with a private jet adventure to Santa Barbara for a day of sunshine and wine tasting.
While the spoils are important, so too is taking the opportunity to reflect on key learnings made over the years. Below are nine lessons learned in nine years of building CanaleComm. In my opinion, these are relevant to the life science industry as well as any entrepreneur building a company.
1. Love the people you surround yourself with. I work with a group of highly motivated and inspiring individuals on a daily basis. Whether it’s simply walking through the office or enjoying a glass of wine in Santa Barbara, I get so much fulfillment and joy out of the people that I’m surrounded by each and every day. And given that we spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our own families, this matters more than anything.
2. Nothing is as important as your own credibility. It doesn’t matter if you’re a service firm in which your products are your people, or if you’re a drug developer in which your products can save people’s lives. Being honest in the face of crisis always pays dividends in the end.
3. Change is the only constant. This applies to everything, from managing a multigenerational workforce to examining the ways that the life science industry has evolved over the past few decades. Leaders have to transition their thought process and adjust it over time—it doesn’t matter what the subject matter at hand is.
4. Keep your mission at the center of what you do. If you didn’t have to consider fundraising and seeking investor interest, how would you structure your company differently? Do that. Always be driven by your mission—even when it seems challenging to focus on anything other than your next milestone. You will always perform at your greatest when this is the central focus of your company’s drive.
5. You can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. Don’t try to be someone—or something—you’re not, even if it is the most-talked-about trend of the moment. If you’re presenting a false value proposition, you will eventually get called out on it, whether that’s three months or three years down the road.
6. Life is too short to work with jerks. Negative people are a drain on time and morale, and it’s just not worth the added expense. See Lesson 1.
7. Don’t burn bridges. I am a true believer that what goes around comes around. As anyone in the industry knows, the biotech world is small, with just a few degrees of connection separating all of us. Even when you may be incredibly frustrated, don’t make a rash decision that may haunt you in the long run.
8. Shit happens. And this especially rings true in science. Our industry has seen failure after failure over decades, regardless of disease indication or drug type. And that’s okay, so long as you identify what may have caused that failure, and you are able to move on from it.
9. A whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Diversity is crucial not only from a racial and gender perspective, but from a general talent perspective as well. In order to build a successful, well-run team, a broad spectrum of different skillsets and interests needs to be brought to the table. Unique perspectives allow any problem to be viewed from all sides, not just one.
I know our ninth year is going to be the best one yet! The number nine is significant for many different reasons. In certain philosophies and cultures, ‘nine’ represents completeness, as it’s the highest single-digit number. And while our work at CanaleComm is nowhere near complete, I do feel a sense of wholeness and fulfillment at the incredible journey these past nine years have been. Cheers to many more to come!