A note from Jason: Len Liptak’s ingenuity, business acumen, and affability have secured his position on DSM’s Mount Rushmore. Watching him craft the ProSomnus vision, harness resources, develop a stellar team, and execute each step of the way is like a masterclass in organizational excellence. Len labors to raise all DSM ships in the field by supporting new research, championing interdisciplinary collaboration, and developing innovative products. I am not now, nor have I ever been on ProSomnus’s payroll. Quality recognizes quality, knowwhatimsayin’? It’s that simple. —Jason Tierney

What inspires a business to change the world? What moves a business to disrupt an industry by engineering higher performance products and services? What motivates a business to thrive in the face of adversities like COVID, geopolitical events, and economic crises? What drives a business to grow five times faster than a better funded competitor? What enables team members of a business to each make dozens of good decisions each day?

That “thing” is called a vision. A vision is a goal, a view of a better future, that motivates, focuses, aligns, and compels. A vision provides purpose and direction. A vision encapsulates the benefits realized from each incremental ounce of effort. A vision provides motivation to overcome adversity. And, for these reasons, a vision is usually the difference between success or failure, exceptionalism or mediocrity, and fulfillment or disappointment.

How might a business generate a vision? A vision can come from many places. There is no right or wrong answer. A vision is usually the output of a formal, or informal opportunity analysis. Opportunity analyses involve cross referencing unique market needs with the know-how and resources of the business’ leader(s).

When we formed ProSomnus, our vision was to start up a company that could make a meaningful difference in the world. Sung Kim, Dave Kuhns, Laing Rikkers, Mark Murphy, Heather Whalen, Jerry Vogel, Brandon Woltman, Greg Vogel, and I engaged in an opportunity analysis that identified the unmet needs of the obstructive sleep apnea market and cross referenced them against our team’s portfolio of know-how, such as the invention, development, commercialization, and manufacturing of precision medical devices. Then we asked ourselves, if we apply our know-how to the obstructive sleep apnea market, can we achieve our vision of making a meaningful difference in the world? We then refined and tailored the specific wording of our vision accordingly.

Though it is essential to have a compelling, motivating, authentic vision, implementation is key. The famous Peter Drucker advises that culture eats strategy for breakfast. The oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet, urges businesses to hire employees based on attitude over skills. The point is that the vision is more than just words. It is the DNA of the business. It is a way of life for the business. It is a guidepost for making decisions when data and logic paint an incomplete picture.

There are three components to implementing a vision. The first component is the “feet,” or walking the walk. The second component is the “mind,” or demonstrating that it is feasible to realize the vision. The third component is the “heart,” or directly linking every action of every employee with the vision.

The “feet” component of implementing the vision requires the leader(s) to walk the walk, to lead by example, to show in addition to tell. The leader(s) must be willing to put in the same amount of time and passion that they expect from colleagues, if not more. The business leader(s) must consistently and authentically demonstrate that the vision is worthy of their time, their sacrifices, and their resources.

The ”mind” component of the implementation involves making a rational argument that the vision can be realized. Colleagues want reassurances that their time, efforts and energies are translating into success. The main way we do this at ProSomnus is to celebrate progress. Progress can come in the form of a patient or provider testimonial. It can be the results of a clinical study or a patent allowance. It can be the achievement of important, internal milestones. Celebrate. Be inclusive. Be generous.

The ”heart” component involves linking progress with specific contributions from each and every team member. At ProSomnus, every team member understands how their everyday activities support the production of our devices, which patients rely on for better sleep breathing. Members of team ProSomnus are not just operating a milling robot, or pushing a button in our design software, or in-servicing a referring physician for a dental sleep medicine provider. They are helping a patient live a longer, healthier life through our devices that enable better sleep breathing. They are not just operators or sales representatives or finance professionals. They are integral to helping patients live better lives.  

Wrapping up; generate a vision that motivates you and your colleagues. Paint a picture of a better future. Check that the leader(s) have know-how that is relevant to achieving the vision. Memorialize it in writing, but make your vision transcend words by implementing it. Remember the “Feet” “Mind” and “Heart” when implementing a vision. Walk the walk to convince your colleagues that a vision is worth the effort. Demonstrate a vision is realizable by acknowledging and celebrating progress. Ensure that every team member understands how each of their daily activities contributes to realizing a vision. Good luck.


If you want to see what is new, novel, and noteworthy in Dental Sleep Medicine, join us at the Transform Dental Sleep Symposium in Scottsdale, AZ on Feb. 2-3, 2024. Click this link to learn more about the speakers, topics, and to book your rooms to save over $150 per night (while they last!)

Stay informed about Jason’s books, media, & adventures