“You’re Not Easy to Work With”: How Cardiac Rhythm Management Group Changed Negative Customer Belief


Mergers and acquisitions are like marriages — no two are alike, and the wedding is just the beginning of, with hope, a long story. There’s often a change of name that signals a tremendous culture shift, as when Cardiac Pacemakers became the engine of the newly formed Guidant Corporation, and their name changed to Cardiac Rhythm Management Group. Fred McCoy, CFO of CPI, became CEO of Cardiac Rhythm.

McCoy seemed to be in the catbird seat with a company with the best product development group in the field. New Cardiac Rhythm products garnered more than 60% of revenue. But having the best products in the business had created a stagnant point in company culture: leaders held a “if you build it, customers will come” mentality that permeated into all aspects of the business. 

The products were top-notch, but market share wasn’t as strong as forecast. There was a belief out there that Cardiac Rhythm was not easy to work with.


McCoy knew how, by building an accountable culture, CPI had solved its product development issues during the tense pressure of acquisition. He knew Cardiac Rhythm could take accountability to the whole organization. The new objective: leveling up all areas of the company — marketing, quality assurance, manufacturing — to perform as well as product development. 

Here are the belief shifts that drove each individual to own Cardiac Rhythm’s results and level-up ownership of their role and stake in the enterprise:

  • I orient customers with a satisfactory experience.  I thrill our customers and earn their trust.
  • I continuously improve.  I extend and improve life through the therapies offered.
  • I innovate and take risks.  I pioneer solutions: I cross the frontier of conventional thinking.
  • I am accountable for what I say I’ll do.  I take accountability by seeing, owning, solving, and doing.
  • I help others develop.  I unleash the potential I see in others.
  • I communicate proactively.  I celebrate excellence in my peers.
  • I commit to corporate objectives.  I win, take risks, and earn my place on our championship team.


Cardiac Rhythm quickly accelerated these changes in beliefs by opening and integrating our culture activation toolkit —  focused feedback, storytelling, and recognition — throughout the organization.

The new belief: Cardiac Rhythm is easy to do business with.

Over the next ten years, Guidant Corporation, Cardiac Rhythm’s parent company, saw stock rise from $3.62 5o $80.10/share.

And change kept happening: Guidant Corporation was eventually purchased. At the time of purchase, Cardiac Rhythm accounted for $20 million of that value. Change kept coming, and Cardiac Rhythm was ready.

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