Mitchell Goldberg, founder, CEO, and Visionary of Surgmed Group, shares how honesty, determination, and employee empowerment are pillars of nimble leadership. A successful entrepreneur since he was 13, Mitchell has learned that showing employees you care and adjusting to changes swiftly will build a healthy, competitive business.
Work Hard and Hold Out
Mitchell started working in his uncle’s factory when he was 12 years old. He learned early on that he didn’t want to stay there. It was the 1970s and imports from China were difficult to maneuver. However, with his uncle’s help and a $1,200 loan, Mitchell started importing, advertising, and selling flashlights from China. By the time he was 17, Mitchell sold his company for $35,000, and earned enough to pay his way through college and buy a car.
Since then, he’s been successful as a financial analyst at Seagram, a stock broker, and a medical supply manufacturer and distributor. He says his experience has taught him that if you believe in your work, hold out and work hard, you can make it happen. It can take as little as one transaction for a business to stay afloat.
Foster Agility and Empower Employees
Mitchell gained two leadership perspectives early on in his career. His uncle led with an iron fist and wasn’t subject to many regulations. Alternatively, at Seagram there was established structure and things moved slowly due to corporate bureaucracy.
Both of these experiences taught Mitchell that entrepreneurial businesses thrive when they can adjust quickly.
[14:02] “You can’t survive if you move like an elephant when there’s a lot of cheetahs. You need to be nimble out there.”
Mitchell says his uncle’s brusk demeanor taught him how to be tough when duty calls. You can’t be an employee’s best friend in business, but you can be their friend and show compassion.
His uncle also stressed the importance of paying employees well. Hiring cheap and firing fast will cost you more in the long run.
[17:18] “Employees are your most valuable asset.”
His time at Seagram taught Mitchell the value of playing by the rules and having a structure in place — and his journey with EOS cemented that a clear and simple structure enables a business to be agile. Mitchell regrets not investing in the right people to organize his business earlier on.
Businesses thrive when there is:
- Good management
- Clear structure
- Leadership opportunities for employees
[28:58] “If you don’t have the trust to empower your employees, you have the wrong employees.”
Stay the Course
Mitchell’s advice to young leaders is to stay focused on your vision, find your niche, and ask for help. The leadership journey is not one you should make alone.
- Surgmed’s website