In identifying our core values, we purposefully modified “leadership” with the adjective “incisive.” Leadership alone is vital for any company with goals as ambitious as ours, but that is not enough for Agios. It is incisive leadership that separates the good from the great.

The word “incisive” invokes precision and focus, and it suggests a sense of urgency. As incisive leaders, we recognize that we do not have the luxury of slowly weighing our options, eventually coming to important conclusions and making long-awaited decisions. Of course the other end of the spectrum isn’t an option either – we can’t be rash or jump in without the necessary data. At Agios, our commitment to incisive leadership means identifying decision makers, compiling and analyzing information expeditiously and drawing thoughtful, confident and accurate conclusions. It means collecting all the necessary input and just the right amount of information to make a decision about which there may be many possible strategic options. Waiting too long to make a decision can be as problematic as not making one at all.

To me, the conductor of a symphony orchestra personifies incisive leadership. The conductor’s years of training and experience are reflected in the multitude of instant decisions he or she makes during a performance, constantly reacting and adjusting to input from the musicians, all of which is designed to elicit the best possible performance.

Importantly, leadership at Agios is not limited to the upper echelon of management –outstanding leadership must be present at all levels. All of us must accept our responsibilities, work continuously to improve our results and empower those around us to act as leaders. I’ve always believed that the best sign of an effective and incisive leader is someone who helps build other leaders and that the most successful organizations foster leadership at every level and in every function. As a leader at Agios, I am working to achieve that vision.