// What motivates a Sydney-based med tech cofounder to hand out plastic business cards with eight lessons to strangers… and what are the 8 lessons?
Having owned and successfully operated several startup medical device companies – including Device Technologies, the largest privately-owned health device company in Australia and New Zealand – Peter Ord is on a mission.
He’s a big believer in the power of mentorship, having reaped the benefit of advice from some straight talkers over a 30 year career in tough, competitive environments.
Sharing is caring
So happy is he to share his wisdom, he’s even had his eight favourite life lessons printed on plastic business cards which he continues to hand around today.
“They’re not all my words,” he said, “but they’re great lessons that have served me very well over many years and I know people still get great value from me sharing them.”Peter Ord
Device Technologies started in 1992 as an idea shared between four close friends with big dreams and a complementary set of skills.
“I’ve always been in business with other people, but I also believe that someone has to be in charge,” said Peter, who was the fledgling company’s CEO, with the unanimous endorsement of partners Kevin Ryan, Bill Walker and John McQuillan.
Needing cash to grow their orthopaedic joint replacement business into new areas of medical technology, including the world’s first complete artificial heart implants, they put their family homes on the line and turned Device Technologies into one of the leading medical supply companies in the healthcare sector, with more than 100 brands and 700 staff.
Having stepped back from the executive management of the company, Peter has since focussed his energies on the business of business, as Executive Director and Shareholder of Coraggio, a national Advisory Board business providing peer-to-peer mentoring for more than 300 business leaders, and their companies.
8 Life Lessons
Lesson 1: Move out of the comfort zone.
One of the first questions Peter asks startup founders – aside from their cash flow and financial position – is how their business will differentiate itself in the market. How, in Seth Godin’s words, will it be ‘remarkable‘?
Lesson 2: Start imagining what you can do and get excited about it.
Founders have to paint the picture for the future and plan for it, Peter believes. If you’re turning over X today, how can you turn over 10X or 100X in a few years time?
Lesson 3: Find a hero who has commitment, courage and passion as well as the occasional flaw. As his my Dad once him: ‘You’re not very good at school, but you have potential!’
Lesson 4: Saying no to something before we investigate implies prejudice and prejudgement.
Be patient and have really good people around you. Never think you’ve got all the answers, and work hard at listening.
Lesson 5: Choose to do something uncomfortable that you may be wary of.
“When I joined (Corragio), I needed to talk to people who didn’t agree with me,” he said. “That’s where sitting with leaders from other businesses is helpful. They can call you out on the things that challenge you and then help you move through it.”
Lesson 6: You cannot build a reputation on what you are going to do, you have to do the necessary work.
A strong believer in teamwork, he also values having a captain who will make decisions.
Lesson 7: The person not taking risks feels the same amount of fear as the person who regularly takes risks.
It’s better to have a third of something that’s really successful, rather than all of something that’s a little bit successful.
Lesson 8: “The real secret of being different and successful is enthusiasm” – Walter Chayster
“Part of success in business is [having] fun,” said Peter of his time with Device Technologies. “There’s got to be laughter. Success isn’t about money, it’s about people. If you get people in the business feeling right and believing, money will follow.”
Wise words indeed.