Director, eCommerce Solutions | Premier Inc.
JHC: What are the most important attributes of successful leaders today?
Matt Burns: First and foremost, I believe the ability to adapt and keep an open mind is critical to a leader’s success. As concepts, technology, products/services and the workforce all continue to rapidly evolve, leaders are challenged to stay ahead of it all and to serve as forward thinkers in this environment.
Today’s leaders should also focus on proactively building a strong team culture – and one that supports an environment of shared goals and successes as well as diversity and belonging. So much of what a leader accomplishes is a result of the passionate and talented people around them, and individuals perform their best with a leader who creates a space of belonging, challenge and purpose for the team.
Last but not least, today’s leaders must be able to interpret and analyze data. Data-driven strategies will continue to shape the health care purchasing landscape of tomorrow.
JHC: How do you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
Burns: Listening to the ideas and the needs of others enables me to grow and develop as a leader. This gives me a better, deeper understanding of my teams, colleagues and clients as well as the unique challenges and opportunities with respect to achieving shared goals.
Investing in experiences wholly outside of my professional sphere also drives my growth and development. Giving time, energy and thinking to areas outside of work (i.e. hobbies, volunteering in your community, etc.) diversifies my exposure to people, situations and perspectives – and allows me to sit in other team roles than the one I sit in professionally.
JHC: What’s the most important risk you took and why?
Burns: The most important risk that I have taken in my career was to leave a well-established project and company strategy for one that was, at the time, emerging and unestablished. This experience empowered me to step out of my comfort zone and into a leadership role, showcase my skills, make mistakes, and find my own professional voice and path.
In my personal experience, the challenges and investments that ask the most of us bring out the best in us.
JHC: How do you generate great ideas in your organization?
Burns: The best and most impactful ideas are generated in a collaborative environment – and here at Premier, a passionate, dedicated and talented team is constantly brainstorming and testing solutions that will bring the greatest positive impact for our members.
Innovation is not driven by one single individual, or even by one single company. Listening to the feedback of our members as well as ideating and testing solutions alongside them, and through a data-driven approach, is vital. With the right infrastructure, team and data analytics in place, great ideas and solutions tend to follow.
I also believe that finding the right balance of staying organized, understanding strategy and the impact of what you’re trying to accomplish, and remaining patient are key components to success.
JHC: How do you stay motivated despite conflicts and obstacles?
Burns: I stay motivated through collaboration and connection with those around me. Next to the mission of the organization itself, the team that is building and driving this vision every day is the greatest motivation and resource.
When you care about the people you work with as well as the mission of your organization and your members, and are invested in their success, you work with passion and purpose to see the collective succeed.
What his peers are saying:
Matt Burns directs operations for Premier’s eCommerce strategy, Stockd – an online marketplace that provides convenient, 24/7 access to high-quality PPE and wellness supplies for health care providers, essential businesses
As e-Commerce is riding a wave of growth in the health care sector alongside a sharper focus on direct-to-consumer capabilities, Matt has been instrumental in building and growing stockd. The platform has closed a critical gap in the traditional med/surg supply chain and serves as a resource to easily access vital PPE, including N95s, gloves, hand sanitizer and other critical products. In June 2020, 83% of alternate site providers reported not having their PPE needs met by traditional med-surg distributors due to allocations, with a significant percentage looking to online retailers and other channels for product.
Under Matt’s leadership, stockd is seeing significant growth with visitors up 3X, sales up 27X and the monthly number of orders up 6X since March 2020, as compared to the pre-pandemic baseline.
Matt and the stockd team also built the trusted online platform with transparency and strong consumer protections in mind. Through its stringent vetting policies, for instance, stockd safeguards buyers and ensures that they’re purchasing from reputable manufacturers and distributors, not third-party sellers who may price gouge or make suspect product claims based on market demand. Matt’s focus on quality control has helped thousands of buyers avoid gray market products as well as potential safety, legal and financial risk.
Matt’s foresight, passion and hard work are helping to transform the health care purchasing landscape, fill a critical supply chain gap and aid organizations across the country in getting the vital products they need, when they need them – protecting patients, staff and families amid the pandemic – and beyond.