Jan-Peter Heldt

Jan-Peter Heldt leads the European Medical Technology Practice and is a member of the global Life Sciences Practice. He specializes in senior executive and board director searches across all medical technology sectors in Europe. He has more than 20 years of international work experience with life science companies throughout Europe and the United States.

 Deep background in medical technology

>      Prior to joining Spencer Stuart Jan-Peter served as president and CEO of Simpirica Spine, a U.S.-based venture-backed medical technology company.

>      He has spent most of his career in a variety of commercial, marketing, general management and European leadership roles with Stryker Corporation, where he served as vice president and general manager of Stryker Orthopedics Europe. His experiences further include commercial and international roles at Baxter International and Johnson & Johnson.

>      He began his career in the pharmaceuticals industry in the sales and marketing division of Eli Lilly and Company.

 Jan-Peter holds a Master of Science in pharmacology from Utrecht University, as well as an MBA from Erasmus University Rotterdam. Returning to the Netherlands after a career living and working throughout Europe and the United States, he is fluent in Dutch, German and English, with conversational skill in French and Spanish.

In the second of a two-part series, Jan-Peter Heldt looks at how culture influences recruitment decisions. Read the first part here . When a company decides to recruit a senior leader, cultural fit is critical. Executives of one top company I have worked with told me that the number-one determinant of an individual’s success in the company was the ability to integrate with the culture. Yet that company never discussed the culture with new hires. In fact, lack of cultural fit is the main reason why recruited executives fail. Lack of culture fit is responsible for as many as 68% of executive new hire failures, research has found. Furthermore, culture has staying power. Once it’s established, it can be hard to change. If everyone knows that the way to be successful in the company is by avoiding risks and staying under the radar, a new strategy that prioritises risk-taking and innovation will face resistance unless the culture is addressed. A very aggressive, results-focused culture will bring out those behaviours in leaders or push out people who don’t like that culture. A company that feels like a race, and is highly competitive is not for everybody. Cultural differences An executive who tends toward risk-taking and flexibility joining a team that is orderly may find that the team appreciates his or her new ideas but becomes frustrated at what they view as a lack of planning. Meanwhile, the new leader may become frustrated by how careful and slow-moving the team is. Onboarding plans will vary based on the role, the characteristics of the organisational culture and the extent to which the individual’s style differs from the culture. However, the mere act of helping a newly-hired executive understand the key elements of the culture can make a tremendous difference in his or her...
In the first of a two-part series, Jan-Peter Heldt looks at culture and how to change it. The medtech industry has been changing dramatically in recent years. It has been a particularly busy time for mergers and acquisition. Dealing with the complex task of integrating two companies can be a major challenge. So what determines whether companies thrive or nosedive under these pressures? I believe that the cultural awareness of the organisation and the executive leadership team is a critical success factor for successful integration. It reminds me of one of my favourite quotes from Peter Drucker: Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Culture is mission critical when your company makes an acquisition and needs to integrate teams. Yet for many business leaders, culture feels ‘soft’ and ambiguous. Most companies lack a shared vocabulary or approach for understanding culture or diagnosing the elements of culture that may need to evolve. As a result, leaders don’t know where to start and often define culture by the outcomes they hope to achieve — a customer-oriented culture or a results-oriented culture, for example. The elusive nature of company culture is both a challenge and an opportunity for businesses. Defining a culture is difficult because the underlying drivers are usually hidden, built upon unconscious sets of shared assumptions that have developed over time. If you can’t see it, describe it or measure it, it’s hard to manage and it’s hard to know if the culture is helping or hurting the business. Eight socio-cultural styles At Spencer Stuart, we have developed a framework that explains the culture of your company, and integrates it with the individual style of your leadership team or division or region. We have identified eight distinct socio-cultural styles or ‘basic assumptions’ which apply to cultures and leaders. Together, these styles can be...