The Journey of a CEO: Navigating the Differences
Ira Spector, the CEO and co-founder of SFA Therapeutics, knows a thing or two about the differences between leading a startup and being part of a global company. With over 35 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including roles as Vice President and Vice-Chief of Development at Wyeth and Senior Vice President of Global Clinical Development Operations at Allergan, Spector has seen it all. But it was his decision to strike out on his own that truly tested his skills and experience.
In a recent interview, Spector shared his insights on the differences between running a small startup versus leading a large organization. The first major difference he highlighted was budget. In his previous roles, Spector had access to budgets that exceeded $2 billion and was responsible for overseeing hundreds of clinical trials each year. In contrast, when running a startup, he had to wear many hats and build systems as he went. He emphasized that time management becomes a critical skill in a small organization where every minute counts.
Another difference Spector highlighted was the need for delegation. As a CEO of a startup, he had to be strategic about which tasks he delegated and to whom. While it may be tempting to handle everything yourself, Spector emphasized that delegation and teaching others are essential components of building an organization. By teaching others what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, and when it needs to be done, a CEO can build a team that can work together to achieve their goals.
Spector also shared the interesting story of how the idea for SFA Therapeutics originated at a social function. He and his wife were fairly new to the area and attended a social gathering where they met a scientist who shared his research on small molecules that had therapeutic potential. After extensive research and testing, SFA Therapeutics was born.
This story emphasizes the importance of keeping an open mind and always being on the lookout for opportunities. Spector's experience demonstrates that inspiration and opportunity can come from unexpected places, and that taking the leap to start a business can be a rewarding and challenging experience.
In conclusion, navigating the differences between a startup and a global company requires a unique set of skills and experience. From budgeting and time management to delegation and open-mindedness, a CEO must be adaptable and strategic to succeed. With his experience and insights, Ira Spector serves as an excellent example of how to navigate these differences and build a successful startup from scratch.