Here’s the first in our new series: the Healthtech Leader of the Month. Each month, we’re interviewing a C-level leader in the field and distilling their wisdom into top tips for entrepreneurial success in the field of healthtech, encompassing medical devices, digital health, and patient-centered healthcare.

For our first post in the series, we spoke to Matt Likens, CEO of GT Medical Technologies. Let’s dive in.

GT Medical on a Mission to Eliminate Recurrence of Brain Tumors with GammaTile Therapy

GT, a Rosenman Innovator, headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, is developing and marketing GammaTile Therapy, a tile-based radiation technology employed to prevent brain tumor recurrence after surgery. After a second FDA clearance in January 2020, the company is just over a year into full commercialization, engaged in a host of additional clinical studies and investing in manufacturing and R&D.

Listen to our podcast episode with Matt Likens for more details.

See how GammaTile Therapy works: view on YouTube.

From Corporate Ladder to Startup CEO: 3 Lessons Learned

Matt Likens has been CEO of GT since 2017. GT Medical is his third startup. Prior to taking the top position at GT, Matt was CEO of another startup, Ulthera, Inc., which he led to a $600 million acquisition in 2014. Before Ulthera he had led another startup, making the transition after 23 years and ten different positions of ascending responsibility at Baxter International.

Here are a few lessons Matt would like to share with you:

Lesson #1: Don’t be satisfied with success.

Success isn’t final. You need to make progress every day to succeed in whatever you’re working toward.

For Likens, the desire to make something great has fueled his work and ascent to his current role as CEO. The innate desire to continue to improve is ingrained in many startups and entrepreneurs, and GT is no exception. Additionally, not resting on success is critical to making progress and actually accomplishing steep goals.

Lesson #2: Follow the Golden Rule.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In our interview with Matt, he said this was his guiding principle in everything he does in work and elsewhere. Treat your colleagues at work how you wish to be treated regardless of their title.

Matt himself has never liked being told what to do. “I’ll go out of my way NOT to do that thing,” says Likens. Instead, he’ll challenge thinking and ‘what has always been done’ to do better work. “So when I challenge my team or work with anyone else, I keep that in mind, and reciprocate.”

Creating a great product is only one piece of the puzzle. Culture and how you get the work done matters, and leads to better results. Not convinced? Gallup studies support up to an 85 percent increase in net profit with a strong organizational culture.

Lesson #3: There’s no such thing as overnight success; make progress every day.

When you take things one step at a time, you feel more in control. Incremental daily improvements add up to transformative changes over time.

Whether you’re in a marathon or running a Bay Area startup darling, there’s no such thing as an overnight success, Matt says. Making progress everyday can feel like you’re not doing much, but consistency trains and builds those muscles for big change.

Battling Brain Tumors with Earnest and Best Practices for Entrepreneurs: Final Thoughts

Although you may not get your dream job immediately after school, and your startup is unlikely to have explosive overnight success, there are many ways you can make progress each day to create the company you want to work for and do the work you want to do. As entrepreneurs at heart, startup founders and executives must exercise patience and focus on their goals to succeed.

Create a startup culture that you’re excited about and can give room to your talented employees to do their best work. This helps you achieve big, hairy goals as a team that you’re all proud of, and the business will follow.

When you’re trying to create a new standard of care or a new anything, don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and work alongside that talented team of yours. And once you succeed, set more goals for yourself and your team to continue to move forward and make strides.

Be a Better Healthtech Entrepreneur: Join Our Vibrant Community

Sometimes it can feel like you’re all alone in your mission to bring better health technology and outcomes to patients and medical professionals alike. Plugging into our global community of entrepreneurs is just one easy way to get the support and resources you need to accomplish your biggest, hairiest, and most audacious goals.

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