Written by Glen Martin, Senior Vice President, Kineticos

Is there value in having leaders that once “carried the bag”? Early in my career, I remember listening to executive presentations at national sales meetings. Executives that had “carried the bag” at one point in their career, were so proud to make this declaration. I always assumed that they were trying to be relatable to the audience, and I think there is a lot of truth and value to that.

However, I believe what they were really saying is, trust me. I know what you go through on a daily basis, I know what the obstacles/challenges are, I know how to set a strategy, I know how to execute, I know how to trust and value you and I know how to lead you to great success.

The term “carried the bag” in sales is analogous to “have you played the game” in sports coaching. Now, lets be fair, there are some good leaders in sports that did not play the game. In college football, coaches like David Cutcliffe, Paul Johnson and Mike Leach either never played, or certainly did not play at the higher levels.

On the contrary, coaches like John Wooden, Bill Walsh, Nick Saban, Joe Torre and Phil Jackson all are in their respective Hall of Fames (Saban is not yet but will undoubtedly be inducted in due time) and also played their respective sport at a high level. Even though Wooden, Walsh and Saban only played through college, their experiences in the game at a very competitive level has served them quite well.

So again I ask the question; is there an inherent value for those life science leaders that have “carried the bag”? Does it translate into success? If it’s true that history often predicts future success, then I would say yes, there is a significant value to having leaders that have “carried the bag”, or “played in the game”. It certainly makes you more relatable and/or believable to your team. It allows for better perspective, and often comes with insight that would otherwise be lacking.

When you are evaluating challenging decisions in your organization, whether its choosing your leadership, or choosing your partners, you may want to ask yourself this, have they carried the bag? Have they played in the game?

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Glen Martin, Senior Vice President of Kineticos’ Biopharmaceutical Practice, brings over 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry to the team.  His team is focused on helping commercial stage companies realize their commercial potential at the corporate, portfolio and product levels. Glen’s therapeutic expertise lies within Oncology, Hematology and Urology while his functional expertise includes Medical Affairs, Commercial Launch and KOL Management.

 Contact Glen