John Miclot could have taken the wheel as president and CEO at Respironics Inc. in 2003 and put the company on cruise control, allowing the natural trajectory and financial strength of the perennially solid performer to carry it along at its historically brisk pace. After all, in 2006, Respironics passed the $1 billion annual revenue mark, not much of a surprise for a company that had enjoyed sustained growth and profitability over most of its existence.
But Miclot viewed sticking with the status quo as the biggest risk of all for the company. So instead, he chose to take some chances to make a stellar company even better by leveraging its financial strength and challenging its managers to take entrepreneurial chances.
Recognizing that energizing a successful company to take risks and venture beyond its comfort zones would not be easy, Miclot shifted Respironics from a product-focused company to a market-focused company, encouraging employees to look into marketplaces to find unmet needs to generate new businesses. He encouraged the creation of new business units, brought in new talent where it was needed and sought out strategic acquisitions that would diversify the company and spread the risk over a wider array of business segments.
To keep the process moving, Miclot established a leadership development program that evaluates those in key leadership positions and puts together a plan to bolster their skills where required. And to ensure that there is talent that can step up when required, a succession plan prepares those coming up the ladder.
HOW TO REACH: Respironics Inc., www.respironics.com