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Leading Forward: Management Techniques from America's Highest Growth Companies

Apr.08
6:18 PM ET

This Dynamic Duo Cures Your Pain

In contrast to Microsoft in the 80's, Endo Pharmaceutical is a wonderful case study of a similar management pair in today's world of new billion dollar companies. Endo Pharmaceuticals will be exceeding a billion in revenue in 2008 as a leading supplier of new drugs and therapies for the treatment of pain. Over 20% of America suffers from acute pain. Almost everyone has a family member or knows someone who is affected by pain. Endo Pharmaceuticals improves the quality of life.

Like Microsoft, Endo originally had a dynamic duo. While Carol Ammon is the Ex Chairman and Ex CEO and Mariann MacDonald was the executive Vice-President of Operations, they were really known as a real "Dynamic Duo" by all who knew them. Underscoring this dynamic duo was a friendship that underscored their favorite mantra "Check your Ego at the Door".

Carol and Mariann met each other when they were in their 20s while working at DuPont. Carol worked in research and Mariann worked in R&D. They both chose the same path and went into manufacturing: Carol into manufacturing off of regulatory and Mariann into manufacturing off of research. Mariann tended to follow Carol through each department. They seemed to work like a pair that was walking on the same set of stepping stones --Carol would lead then Mariann would follow. It was through this career process that they became very good friends.

The Dynamics of Teamwork

As friends often realize, while they had similar personalities, opposites attract. Each had strengths and weaknesses that complement each other: truly the basis for a lasting dynamic duo relationship. As all duos would testify, they truly feel that they did their best work when they work together.

I had a great opportunity to interview this very unique dynamic duo about the secret ingredients to their unique relationship and teamwork.

If you ask everyone on the outside, Carol is described as loving, huggy, gracious, very smart, funny, witty: a leader with heart. Mariann on the other hand is the driver, pragmatic, get it done attitude, the dirty work "guy", and not so huggy.

Carol was a master at inspiring armies to follow Endo. On the other hand, Mariann had to take another kind of army on – just Mariann against the corporate army. Carol relates a story of Mariann at her best:

"We were negotiating with Merck and Dupont and Dupont/Merck to get our company started. There were different agreements being negotiated simultaneously. You have to have credibility at the table but you are outnumbered. What do you do? Send Mariann. We went into a negotiation regarding manufacturing rights with 15 people on the other side from different groups. We had Mariann. When we had to negotiate a deal everyone said we had to send Mariann. She knew more about the points than anyone on the room. Our equity partners were bowled over by Mariann. At Mariann's retirement, our equity partners said I couldn't figure her out. She doesn't smoke, curse or drink. She is a perfect balance between Mother Theresa and Attila the Hun!"

Balance Decisions with the Head and the Heart –
Speak with One Voice

The relationship between Carol and Mariann was different than what others saw from the outside. They shared their secrets, "When it came to making important decisions, Carol and I would balance one another. Carol would say I am being too hard and I would push back that Carol is being too soft. When we made a decision it was so much better because I would err on the tougher side, Carol would balance it with her heart. We would move to the middle: to be balanced with the head and the heart. We would debate 'What is the right decision? What is the right decision for everyone?' We were first and foremost friends. We would give each other a hug in the end and go out as team and speak with one voice. People knew that when we spoke, there was a balance between the head and the heart in every decision we made - for the business and the team. Every decision was always in line with our culture." Their favorite mantra was "Leave your ego at the Doorstep". And they did just that – they spoke with one voice.

Are you applying the management techniques of Inside – Outside Leadership to lead your business from a million to a billion?

David Thomson is a business advisor to high growth companies and corporations. He is the author of Blueprint to a Billion: 7 Essentials to Achieve Exponential growth. His next book, Leading Forward will be released in 2008. He can be contacted at david@blueprinttoabillion.com.

© The Blueprint Growth Institute 2008