Entrepreneurship Lessons from Pope Francis

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This week Pope Francis will address a joint session of Congress. Senators and representatives aren't the only ones who could learn a few things from the Pontiff.

Pope Francis is coming to the US. Few popes have shaken and electrified the Catholic World like him and his visit to Washington during the presidential election cycle presents an interesting contrast in leadership styles. The Pontiff will be addressing a joint session of Congress. Given that most of the audience is either running for president or thinking about doing it at some time or another, and that most members are millionaires or part of the 1%, he won't exactly be preaching to the choir.

Doctorpreneurs, too, should pay attention to the other guy dressed in white. Here are 10 lessons they could learn:

1. Humility trumps Trump.

2. Presidential candidates have two offensive plays. In the first two quarters, throw red meat to your base to get nominated, moving from state to state until you are eliminated. In the second half, you pivot, forget what you said in the first half, and move to the center to get elected. The Pope stays on message whether you like it or not.

3. Blend into the crowd. Joe Biden learned that lesson but his advisors are saying it may be too little too late.

4. The popular touch is often more effective than the Royal Touch. It certainly didn't do much for those with TB in the Middle Ages, but it was a good story.

5. There will always be populist politicians. Unfortunately, they usually have a limited half-life and, at least in the US, they always lose. The Pope is not term limited.


6. Be a pastor to your flock and lead from behind.

7. Believers are much more effective than voters.

8. Do the math when it comes to sizing the addressable market. There are a lot more poor people and people in need than those with lots of stuff.

9. Appealing to souls is a better strategy than appealing to heads or hearts.

10. Even a Pope can fly around in a 757 and get away with it as long as you connect with your audience. After all, what is he supposed to do, take a steamer across the Atlantic?

I'd like to see the elimination of global health disparities through the creation and deployment of biomedical and health innovation. I suspect the Pope would like to see that too, but he has not responded to my texts. He must be stuck in a traffic jam in Washington; a victim of his own success practicing entrepopeneurship.

Image credit: Republic of Korea Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism/Creative Commons License