In our new series, we ask our key thought leaders to share a more personal perspective on their career journey and current position.

Sam is a senior executive with over 20 years’ experience in the healthcare sector, with six years in the public arena and 14 years in the private sector across MEA, UK and Asia.

Prior to joining Orion Health, Sam worked for a number of healthcare organisations across both the public and private sectors. His private sector roles have included Commercial Development Director at GE and Business Development Director and MEA Strategy Lead at Microsoft Health Solutions Group.

Sam studied Engineering and Physical Science in Medicine at the prominent Imperial College School of Medicine in London. This led him to start his career in the UK NHS, where he spent more than six years running departments at hospitals such as Chelsea and Westminster and West Middlesex, before moving to iSoft IBA then Cerner.

Sam has been in the role of General Manager, Middle East at Orion Health for the past seven years. He is tasked with growing market share in the Middle East by working with customers to develop and expand their solutions, as well as nurturing new growth opportunities. For the last two years Sam has been focused within his role to advise multiple regions on the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular in Abu Dhabi with the Malaffi project.

Can you share with us five things you wish you knew before you started out?

The impact of cultural differences

It’s important to remember that processes, protocols and social norms drastically differ in each region. Instead of trying to shoehorn in a set of existing guidelines and procedures, it’s vital to embrace the differences and leverage them to work for you. Create processes and protocols that will support your strategy and appeal to your target audience.

Communication styles can vary across each region too. It’s paramount to study how and when your market responds to communication, as this will have a significant impact on your sales and marketing strategy.

Patience is key… meandering through the river of success

It’s important to move at the pace of your customer. There is a lot of information to absorb and many regulations to abide by when it comes to implementing health information exchanges (HIEs) at a national level. Persistence is equally as important as giving potential customers the time to digest the opportunity in front of them.

Projects can vary in complexity and length, therefore have patience with internal and external teams – everyone is working as hard as they can!

Don’t make commitments that you can’t keep

It’s easy to get carried away, we’re all guilty of this in some capacity! When there is so much potential to improve the way healthcare is delivered, it’s human nature to want to be at the centre of that change.

It’s important to take a step back and look at what you can realistically deliver to ensure no one is disappointed.

Preparation is half the battle

This is an obvious one, but it’s easy to forget when you’re wearing multiple hats. Meticulously prepare for external and internal meetings.

The needs and wants of each customer will be different, you should conduct primary and secondary research to understand what they’re trying to achieve and the hurdles they are up against. This will separate you from competitors who are also pitching for the same customer.

Prepare diligently for internal meetings too. This will ensure meetings are as brief and productive as possible. It’s especially courteous to do this when your meetings take place across multiple time zones.

Partnerships are paramount

In the Middle East, partnerships are fundamental to successful business outcomes. Building solid relationships with the right people streamlines our offering.

Cultivating these relationships can be difficult, however it’s always worth investing time and energy to ensure that we have the support of our partners when we need it. This helps us stand out from our competitors.

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