A: AFTER 30+ YEARS OF 50+ HOUR WORKWEEKS, my intention was to retire but do some industry consulting. While I didn’t miss the intensity of a Big Pharma job, I did miss the passion that drives improving healthcare. Coaching a few small firms has helped me to fill that void. Interestingly, as a coach there is little I need do to set companies up for success. I share experiences, ask questions to clarify intentions and approaches, and thereby help others to lead. Though leaders face a choice of how much they do versus how much they allow others to do, coaches do not. In my opinion, the role of a leader should be much more aligned to that of a coach — creating the conditions for success. While this was my approach in industry, retirement provided me the opportunity to relearn this valuable lesson from a new perspective.
James is the former VP of vaccine and biologics technical operations for Merck