Perhaps November seems far away but for us, the clock is ticking; and it’s ticking fast. As we are preparing for the 1st US Annual Medical Devices 3P Forum, I had the opportunity to have an interview with one of our exceptional speakers. Dana A. Oliver, Senior Director of Research & Development for Medtronic. I had the pleasure of talking to Dana yesterday and I immediately understood why our conference director was so enthusiastic about having him on board. Dana is a passionate professional with one main vision: to pass his knowledge to other people who want to become better leaders.

Tell me a little more about your background and career.

I am a kind of “rags to riches” business success.  I grew up the son of a career military father with little to no disposable monies where neither of my parents attended college.  The expectations were to be a good person and find a profession.  In short, I worked full time during the day and attended night school at Northeastern University, Boston, MA for ten years while receiving partial reimbursement from the businesses I worked for, with the remainder supplemented by myself.  I began as an entry-level minimum wage draftsman working my way up until my present day career as the Senior Director of Research & Development for Medtronic, the world’s largest medical technology company.

I manage multiple R&D organizations across the country with over 100 scientists and engineers.  I have 25 US Patents and I have written two self-help business books; “Mantra Design – Innovate, Buy, or Die!” and “Mantra Leadership – Don’t Become the Emperor with No Clothes!”

What were some of the biggest lessons that have impacted the way you work?

Business and leadership are about people, and if you have the wrong people on the bus or the wrong leaders in place, success will be elusive.  The combination of emotionally intelligent innovation leadership and superior human talent will pave the way to success.  I hear too many leaders talk about the importance of people. But they don’t take the time to hire good ones, take an interest in their careers, lack the abilities to mentor and grow them, and most importantly they often don’t truly empower them.  Leadership is not hard, people make it hard.

Superior leaders have an eye for human talent; they listen and empower their employees.  A leader’s time is multiplicative and it’s their greatest sacrifice as well.  While their job and position is important, it’s less important than their teams.  Leaders are the vision and the spark of a business, but the team is the catalyst for success.

Why is emotionally intelligent leadership so important?

Simply put, business’s and people are better served with resonate leadership.  After spending 30 years in business and research and development, it’s amazing to me to see how little emotionally intelligent leadership takes place in business.  Most leaders are obsessed on their own self advancement, but leadership is about people.  I come from truly humble and modest beginnings where genuine respect is important to me.  Given my background and personnel experiences, I write and speak about the paradigm shift to emotionally intelligent leadership and when it’s used, it can result in as much as a 30% or more increase in team productivity – business’s win, people win and leaders win.  Even if a business has a killer strategic plan and equally effective infrastructure, without resonate leadership, it can never be truly great! Think of it as having all 3 legs to a stool, 2 legs by themselves is not stable.

What do you believe is the #1 takeaway of your presentation for those attending the event?

I write and speak about the importance of emotionally intelligent innovation leadership. I have tried to share my mantras and best practices that have helped grow a division of Medtronic from $100 million to approximately $2 billion in annual revenues.  My books and the words I speak of are a culmination of my 30 years of experience that I have transposed into simple and thoughtful self-help guide books.  I am direct and communicative and not overly philosophical.  I speak from a position of success and pragmatism, “been-there, done that”.

Dana A. Oliver and more than 25 other speakers will attend EBCG‘s 1st US Medical Devices 3P Forum next November in Miami. Do you want to know more about our speakers and their topics? Request your agenda now and be part of the only American conference offering topics connecting project/program, product and portfolio management professionals. For more industry-related news and event updates, like our Facebook and LinkedIn page. For Twitter enthusiasts, follow us on Twitter and say hello to us using @EBCG_MedicalDev.