Top 30 Pieces of Advice for Instilling Change from Mark Boone

With more than thirty years of expertise working with healthcare, finance, and law, Executive Director of Enterprise Risk Management and Legal Operations Mark Boone shares his best advice for personal and professional development

With a BA in business and an MBA in finance, Mark Boone started his career in finance, eventually leading to more senior roles, achieving VP, SVP, CFO, and CIO roles at divisions of Novartis, Ascom Hasler, McKesson, and Stryker. Always open to adding new skills, he then became vice president of compliance at Stryker Spine and chief compliance officer at Orthofix International and Exactech Inc.

mark boone
Photo courtesy of Bausch Health

In 2018, Boone joined Bausch Health Companies Inc. (Bausch Health)—then named Valent Pharmaceuticals International—to become part of the corporate legal department and develop the global Enterprise Risk Management Office (ERMO), which had previously been managed by the consulting firm Ernst & Young.

With Boone’s broad business background and the many business functions he either led or was closely involved with over his career—from product development to regulatory registration, supply chain, finance, IT, ethics and compliance, upstream and downstream marketing, sales force development, and deployment—he’s able to work effectively with many functional leaders of the company to identify enterprise risks, measure their potential impact on the company, and with input from the executive committee of the company, to determine the probability, impact, and level of management control of each risk.

Then, with this information in hand, in partnership with functional leaders, Boone develops risk mitigation plans. He reports this information to the executive committee annually and to the audit committee of the board of directors quarterly.

At the start of 2019, Christina Ackermann, the executive vice president and general counsel of Bausch Health, asked Boone to also lead the legal operations department. He became responsible for the systems and processes involved in the management of legal function in the multibillion-dollar global company.

Using the due diligence skills developed in the senior finance roles he previously had, Boone first analyzed the department’s needs and developed a plan to implement a global legal management system. Bausch Health implemented a system that is configurable (rather than customizable) which allowed the legal operations team to quickly implement this system in the United States and then to move forward to a global implementation. Under Boone’s leadership, the legal operations team has developed and is implementing a global “strategic plan” for legal operations to meet stakeholder needs for effective, efficient systems and processes that provide timely, transparent information to legal leadership and senior management.

As evidenced throughout his experiences, Boone has always welcomed change in his professional life. He recently spoke to American Healthcare Leader about his “Top 30” pieces of advice for other professionals to champion change through every occasion.

When Developing Goals

  1. Take every opportunity to expand business knowledge and expertise.
  2. Look for an answer as to “why” businesses pursue certain strategic goals.
  3. Identify the issues and obstacles that either impeded the achievement of these goals or serve as obstacles to be overcome.
  4. Partner with stakeholders in all functions of the company.
  5. Develop a team—one person can only do so much alone.

When Leading a Team

  1. Have an open-door policy.
  2. When meeting one-on-one with someone, focus on the person. Don’t “multi-task” by reading emails, text messages, etc.
  3. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
  4. Learn and practice emotional intelligence.
  5. Never make a decision based on “emotional logic”—i.e., making a decision when you are emotionally charged up. (You’ll always make the wrong decision!)
  6. Set work goals: long-term (greater than one year), annual, quarterly, monthly, and weekly.
  7. Keep monthly highlights of your achievements.
  8. Make and meet your deadlines and communicate issues as far in advance as possible.
  9. Practice the “entrepreneurial” approach to your job responsibilities—i.e. how would you do these if you owned the company?
  10. Never let your boss be surprised—favorably or unfavorably—with information you have.
  11. Remember, every soldier doesn’t aim to become a general. (It’s okay to have subject matter experts that are happy in their roles.)
  12. Project management skills are often not emphasized enough. These skills are critical, regardless of your function.

When Enhancing Personal Development

  1. Take every opportunity to add new skills to your “experiential toolbox.”
  2. Seek to become well-rounded in business by gaining expertise in all areas of business that interest you.
  3. When at work, be in the present.
  4. Work is important, but don’t lose focus on your personal growth.
  5. Take the vacation time the company provides. (Studies show that employees that take breaks and time away are more productive!)
  6. Continue your education—plan to add at least one new skill to your experience every two years.

When Establishing a New Function or Coming into an Existing One

  1. Conduct due diligence into the company’s needs.
  2. Analyze the current state of affairs.
  3. Receive input from stakeholders. (Plan on listening 80 percent of the time.)
  4. Develop a project plan.
  5. Document key processes.
  6. Over-communicate—up, down, and across the “chain of command.”
  7. Partner with all functions of the company to continually increase your understanding of the industry and company.

The overriding theme of Boone’s career has been to be open to—and to seek—change and growth in his professional career. Always curious to understand the “why” of business strategies and decisions, he has transformed himself from a “finance person” to a broad-based businessperson with expertise in finance, IT, strategy and business development, ethics and compliance, and now enterprise risk management and legal operations. In closing, Boone challenges us by asking, “What new skill will you look to add to your experiential toolbox in the coming year?”