Healthcare: Are There Too Many Rebels On Your Team?

Healthcare: Are There Too Many Rebels On Your Team?

Staffing your healthcare startup team can be a challenge.

You need people who can work in an environment of creative chaos while at the same time building the foundation of inevitable control as the company grows and scales.

In addition, there are differences between good rebels and bad rebels and disruptive and disruptive doctors.

In a recent book, Francesca Gino argues the value of staffing an organisation with leaders and employees possessing what she calls “rebel talent.” She backs it up with extensive research, much of it her own.

Gino, the Tandon Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, builds her book around the “five core elements of rebel talent.” They are:

  • Novelty (“Seeking out the new”)
  • Curiosity (“Asking why, why, why")
  • Perspective (The ability to “constantly broaden (one’s) view of the world and see it as others do”)
  • Diversity (“The tendency to challenge predetermined social roles”)
  • Authenticity (Remaining open and vulnerable in order to connect with others and learn from them")

Here are some tips on hiring, developing and promoting rebels on your team:

  1. Clarify the expectations.
  2. Give a clear job preview. Do you really want someone who will shake things up or do you really just want an operator and team player in rebel clothing. Are you being hired to help with strategy, execution or both? What will be your role in the process?
  3. Don't say one thing and do another.
  4. Be sure your culture can tolerate rebels in their midst, Will you really be comfortable telling truth to authority?
  5. Mentor and coach bad rebels into becoming good rebels.

6. Create clear key performance metrics.

7. Practice radical candour in an environment of trust.

8. Here is a boomer's guide to teaching millennials.

9. Be sure your actions reflect the values you promised when you hired the rebel.

10. Fire fast if they become the problem instead of the solution.

Try not to make these rookie entrepreneur mindset mistakes.

Good rebels can be difficult to work with but you should be accommodating to their personalities and mindsets. Rebels without a cause and bad rebels,, thought, are just a pain.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs on Twitter@SoPEOfficial and Facebook.

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  • Philip Hansford

    Lack of proper planning is what's damaging the most startups.

  • Chelsea Hughes

    Thanks Arlen you literally described some of the problems that I have right now

  • Jack Power

    I know what I want to do and start with

  • Chelsea Hughes

    In reply to: Jack Power

    Good luck mate, you will need it

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at and and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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