Kostas Tsambourlianos, CEO of MedSleep, Top 10 Admired Leaders of 2023

Kostas Tsambourlianos

Kostas Tsambourlianos, CEO of MedSleep

“Practice doing right always”

MedSleep diagnoses and treats sleep disorders. The company's chief executive officer, Kostas Tsambourlianos, is committed to improving access for Canadians to specialized sleep clinics and hospitals. Many laboratories handle one type of sleep disturbance, but their aim has been to provide a full-service diagnostic and treatment center for family doctors and their patients.

Early in his career, Kostas moved from family entrepreneurship to accounting in a large retail company. This focus clarified the mechanics behind a company's performance. In 2010, he joined MedSleep as Vice President of Operations after 20 years in operational, project, and service delivery management responsibilities. MedSleep was appealing since it was a small company with huge potential and allowed him to be creative, entrepreneurial, and, most importantly, develop! After becoming COO, he focused on diversification and expansion through organic growth and acquisitions. In 2017, he became President. His years of recognizing that people make the difference in any organization have helped him and the organization to succeed.

Kostas' analogies are well-known. These are ideal for conveying and organizing thoughts. "Eagles Fly and Dolphins Swim" is his favorite. Recognizing qualities in others, and most importantly yourself, is essential to success, in his view. He says knowing your strengths is great, but knowing which weaknesses will hurt you most is critical. As a leader, you must understand today's events but focus on the next week or month. As the company grows, he suggests that the leader focuses on the future while the management team focuses on the near and medium term.

What motivates Kostas every morning is being ready to help the team. It's hard to build a self-motivated, engaged staff. His goal is to provide them with resources, empathy, and support. Knowing the team cares about every patient, each other, and the market image is satisfying, and he is focused on maintaining that.

Kostas remembers the day his boss, John Tersigni, made him read aloud an angry email he had written to one of the store managers the day before. He then asked him to state the facts, math, and evidence behind each sentence, and there were none. Kostas insulted someone without cause in a botched email. He learned two crucial things that day: that we should use facts to measure what we manage and to be kind to everyone.

Kostas, in his role as leader, wonders if he is putting enough emphasis on his team's strengths. He looks to see if he can establish a culture that directs the company's efforts toward satisfying the needs of its customers and patients. The team knows they may come to him with any problem, and he will help them solve it.

Kostas believes performance appraisals should never include new or unexpected feedback and must be timely, which is crucial. Picking up the phone to discuss an important issue, especially if it involves feedback, is essential. Everyone texts or emails, and the format is frigid. Having the team work together in the same physical environment is important, video and remote work have their place, but there are definitely limits that negatively impact the performance.

When the senior team meets around the table, input is encouraged. Everyone gets the opportunity to provide their opinion or ideas. Kostas calls them the "Knights of the Round Table." They are all equals. When they decide on a course of action, he has little tolerance when someone lets their agenda or opinion get in the way of taking the team decision forward and making it a reality.

When asked about the company's strengths, he responds that it’s all about the people he has the good fortune to work with. Most of them have been working together for a long time and understand that there is an interdependency for their collective success. He explains that everyone has bad days and has personal crises or tragedies to deal with. Supporting them through their dark days is a fundamental part of building a team for the long run. As a team, they occasionally have to make difficult decisions, but they do so by looking ahead to brighter days, rather than looking backwards

Their company focuses everything they do on the quality of care for the patient. They are accountable to each other for their work. They focus on doing the right thing, and Kostas is quite proud of it. This goes hand in hand with providing great quality care to our patients, he adds. For them, holding each other accountable is an area where he believes they can improve.

Most top staff "started in the mailroom". In a medical organization like theirs, they all provided services, whether clinical, administrative, or otherwise. They know it; we live it; we breathe it. "How would you treat the patient if it were your relative?" they commonly ask. Were we right? Are we proud? That runs deep, and you have to be doing it for a long time before it seeps into the soul of a company. That’s who we are, adds Kostas proudly.

Most service companies value revenue per labor hour or dollar, explains Kostas. They also understand that quality costs time and money and that investing in quality has a big effect on performance. To develop a successful strategy, keeping current on market changes, including technology, government regulation, and investment costs are key. Strategy must change with the market, or it will lead to a gloomy morning, he remarks.

To increase their presence and service offerings in Canada, they have been carefully looking for the right additions to the team and will help the organization move to the next level. The next book in their trilogy is just getting started, which is an exciting prospect, and there are some fantastic ideas on the table. IE




Kostas Tsambourlianos


MedSleep clinics provide clinical consultation, diagnostic services (sleep testing) and treatment for the full spectrum of sleep disorders.

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