Situational intelligence in this crazy medtech world

Departments - MedTech MindSet

Getting to win-win by understanding your situation and your audience.


Grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory is something we see often in medtech. Every time it happens, it befuddles us as it’s usually avoidable.

The No. 1 culprit seems to be a lack of situational intelligence by very smart people who simply don’t understand their situation correctly, haven’t done enough preparation for their audience or engaged in enough active listening to properly read the room. Our goal, whether it’s within your own company or between your company and another company, should be a win-win scenario, an outcome that creates the best opportunity for long-term relationships that create the most value.

Scenarios that require situational intelligence include:

  • Negotiation for a new job or promotion
  • Sales opportunities with a new or existing customer
  • Understanding your leverage when selling your company or buying someone else’s company

One example of a scenario that required situational intelligence was:

A bright engineering executive from a U.S. company went to China hoping to develop a new product for a Chinese company. The Chinese company (after 10 minutes of introductions on both sides) asked if the engineering executive’s company could provide a product to demanding specifications. The executive simply said “no, we can’t do that.”

There was stunned silence in the room, and the Chinese team looked at their watches and started to wonder why they were having this meeting. After flying approximately 7,000 miles (and taking almost two days of travel) to get to this meeting (which had taken almost 6 months for the company’s Asia sales team to arrange) the meeting was almost over within 15 minutes. How does a smart person let that happen? Our executive (in this example) is a very smart man, and although he was right on the specific answer to their question, the way he responded was about to end the meeting.

Fortunately, someone on his Asian sales team quickly understood the gravity of the situation and asked the Chinese company “what are you trying to achieve?” When the Chinese company explained what it was that they were seeking to do with their future pipeline of products, the lightbulb went on for the smart engineering executive.

He then spent the next hour at the whiteboard, explaining brilliant ideas to achieve the vision.

With a little applied situational intelligence, the situation was turned from a losing outcome for both parties to a win-win scenario.

This is one of many examples we have experienced and we can share many more. As you go about your business, think about how often you and your team use situational intelligence without really thinking about it. If situational intelligence is considered and understood throughout your organization, then your company will have more long-term success.

Feel free to contact us if you would like to understand more about the appropriate skills required for situational intelligence in this interesting MedTech Global world. And, as always, we welcome any discussion on the topic.

MedWorld Advisors

About the authors: CEO Florence Joffroy-Black is a long-time medtech M&A and marketing expert. She can be reached at Managing Director Dave Sheppard is a former medical OEM Fortune 500 executive. He can be reached at