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Ron Gutman, the co-CEO of Intrivo and an accomplished inventor, investor, and philanthropist, is noted for many accomplishments, including creating mission-driven companies and working to build nonprofit organizations that deliver much-needed help worldwide in areas as diverse as telehealth, digital diagnostics, disaster relief, and AI (artificial intelligence). It's no wonder he has a unique take on problem-solving and on providing people with better care at more accessible costs.

“It’s so important to simply listen,” says the innovative serial technology and healthcare entrepreneur. “Listening intently is very important to providing solutions for where real problems arise. And it can be quite surprising to dig deep into what one thinks is the ‘obvious’/’right’ solution versus what the actual right solution eventually is.”

Gutman, who also serves as an adjunct professor at Stanford University, says he achieved success through compassionate and intent listening.

“At the end of the day, the most durable thing we have is our spirit, and what underlies a great spirit is a strong sense of hope. Sapient Leadership, which emphasizes the importance of listening and compassion, is a field that we pioneered at Stanford University in the early days of the pandemic. Some of the most effective leaders in the world helped us understand how compassionate listening was key in enabling them to lead at a time of massive and extensive change .”

The Medtech Mogul’s Mission in Ukraine

While Ron Gutman believes that throwing money at a problem is rarely the right solution, he does put his money where his mouth is when it comes to helping others in need. After hearing about the dire straits of the healthcare infrastructure in war-torn Ukraine, he sprang into action, personally flying $1 million worth of COVID tests, hardware, and software to severely stressed hospitals.

The idea gestated during a dinner with friends on a deck in Gutman’s backyard. “It started with observing an unfolding war situation, trying to understand the root cause of the problem, seeing where we could help, and then spending the time and resources to travel to the region and thoroughly understand firsthand where the real need was,” he recalls.

Ron deployed his compassionate listening skills immediately when his feet hit the ground in Ukraine. “I went there to meet the people, make sure the help goes to the right places, and to maximize the impact,” he says. Ron and his team “learned that there were many things that they didn’t expect monitoring the situation from afar.”

Ron Gutman: Implementing Compassionate Listening in the Workplace

Gutman’s efforts to incorporate compassionate listening into his endeavors extend beyond his charitable efforts. It’s ingrained into the best practices at Intrivo, the leading health tech company he’s heading and the maker of the popular On/Go tests “A big part of what we're doing with the upcoming groundbreaking products we’re inventing and commercializing at Intrivo is all about taking care of people and listening to them and their challenges carefully” he explains. “Our customer support is one of the best teams in the MedTech space. We are very, very attentive to customer support and keep developing it continuously. There are some companies like Amazon that I believe are doing an amazing job with customer support teams, and they’re an inspiration for us. Unfortunately, there are quite a few companies that don’t pay enough attention to customer care, and there’s a lot to learn from their mistakes too.”

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Customer care and support at Intrivo under Gutman’s guidance is very different and extra attentive: “They’re always keeping an open ear and continuously evolve and committed to improving the quality of care they provide. During the pandemic, we became very well-known for that too. You can call our customer support anytime, 24/7, and they're always positive and ready to help. Our compassionate reps are trained to be amazingly compassionate and solve problems quickly and thoroughly, solve rapidly and escalate and do whatever they need in order to make the customer happy. I envision building more and more of this into our product to provide a solution for the unfortunate reality where people are too often mere numbers on a conveyor belt when it comes to health care.”

That diligent care and deep insight kicked into high gear when the world was crumbling under uncertainty and fear during the COVID-19 pandemic. In early February 2020, before most of us even heard about CORONA VIRUSES, Gutman authored an article that detailed the risks of COVID-19 and explained why it posed profoundly serious health risks. “Via the Live Long & Flourish (LL&F) CIub I founded at Stanford University, I became deeply interested in the emerging pandemic and the role of testing in countering it and realized how important it would be in responding to the fast-spreading disease. This work and a bunch of good friends who were committed to helping millions live healthier, happier, safer lives were the underlying building blocks to Intrivo’s success.”

While a good portion of the world was crippled with fear or indecision, Gutman listened — and immediately acted.

“When we figured out how to deliver millions of COVID-19 tests in 15 minutes to people in 1,000 cities in the United States, it was because people wanted and needed them super fast. They didn't want just to get tested. They wanted to know the results quickly and act on them. So we worked around the clock and moved mountains at lightning speed to bring people reliable results in minutes. I remember at one point, we were on the phone chartering private jets to move tests to where they were needed most. I used to joke that I don't fly private, but my tests do.”

Gutman remembers dark days when FedEx and UPS were so backed up and were missing so many drivers it was almost impossible to deliver anything anywhere when necessity was the mother of invention, and Ron Gutman led innovation that saved lives and provided safety to millions everywhere.

”Even when we were ready to pay almost any price, it was very difficult to move freight. And we had to transport large numbers of testing kits from state to state. Almost all airplanes were backed up, everything. All the supply chains were clogged. Renting private jets to transport test kits across the country was the only option, and it was super expensive, but we were mindful of what people needed and wanted. People appreciated that we were able to be there for them. It's the same approach that I'm taking when it comes to philanthropy.”

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The bottom line, Ron Gutman is a compassionate disruptor CEO who deeply believes in listening carefully, learning continuously, and helping wholeheartedly wherever he can.

“At the end of the day, you can't lead, and you can't solve big problems if you don't deeply listen, genuinely empathize, and truly wish to do good wherever you go. And finally, committing to synthesizing it all together significantly betters lives at scale.”