Steve Sargent, Chief Operating Officer of Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine, Top 10 Promising CEOs of 2023

Amanda Cromhout
Founder & CEO

Steve Sargent, Chief Operating Officer of Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine


Most people with spine and joint pain simply don’t know where to turn. At Performance Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine, Chief Operating Officer Steve Sargent and his team understand how frustrating it is for people to find the care they need. The team at Performance gets to the root cause of people’s pain using a proven, team-based approach that gets them back to doing what they love.

Performance originally employed Steve as a consultant to provide organizational clarity and a comprehensive roadmap for culture building and business growth before he became COO. Steve enjoys coaching and engaging with growth-seekers to empower people and organizations and facilitate transformation. He especially loves seeing that transformation lead to the flourishing of a leader's professional and personal lives.

With their Ideal Team Player culture, Performance places a premium on the satisfaction of their workforce, which in turn provides exceptional service to their patients. This strong culture also impacts recruiting, interviewing, and hiring as they continue to expand. “Our Physicians are some of the most humble people I’ve met. “They put their egos aside and value other’s opinions to in order to produce the best possible outcomes for our patients.” said Steve. In their unique collaborative environment, with the entire continuum of orthopedic care under one roof, the team at Performance can almost guarantee success for their patients, getting them out of discomfort and back to doing what they enjoy in a fraction of the time compared to traditional healthcare models. Their team, being humble, gritty and emotionally smart, rolls up their sleeves and does what it takes to get the job done, supporting each other daily in the trenches. There is also a need for constant improvement and supervision, and since their workforce expands by 20–30% per year, this becomes difficult. Moreover, patient care is essential to them, despite being an overused buzzword in their industry; it has significant meaning for their team as they are wholly committed to doing what’s in the best interest of their patients. Unlike other healthcare companies who put profits ahead of their patients’ needs, Performance believes that good medicine is good business and will ultimately lead to success.

Sharing some of his leadership principles, Steve advises leaders to embrace discomfort. Whether it be learning from failure or mining for organizational conflict, he believes it’s in these uncomfortable places where the greatest transformative activity, and ultimately success, live. Additionally, he encourages others to embrace obstacles, as successful companies turn their biggest challenges into their greatest opportunities.

Steve is of the opinion that feedback is the breakfast of champions. The most effective leaders with the highest levels of emotional intelligence thrive on feedback and have a unique ability to provide feedback in a way that leaves people feeling truly cared for rather than dismantled.

An effective communication strategy is critical, and it comes down to how leaders communicate with their tone and body language, not simply with their words. Steve teaches direct, compassionate communication and believes that's the right balance to persuade while empowering. In the midst of rapid expansion, Performance must continually create new organizational and team communication tools that honor the team and keep everyone involved, informed and inspired.

Steve’s decision-making is similar. Early in his professional career, he made decisions unilaterally, usually out of passion, but he didn't realize how this hurt his team. He learned to create pause and consider who else should be communicated with and now his company makes decisions together, always striving for consensus. Involving others, especially those who disagree, is difficult, but can shape culture and grow the organization. Healthy disagreement stimulates innovation, and when they learn to manage conflict in a way that respects all perspectives, the organization and team win.

When asked about anyone aspiring to a position of leadership, Steve says that it really depends on the person, but it all starts with clarity. A business owner or CEO must know their goals, personality, abilities, unique contributions, and passions to succeed and produce value. If they don’t create value in that scenario, they are probably in the wrong organization or industry.

Relating self-awareness to emotional intelligence, they practice, model, and train daily to develop EQ, which they respect more than knowledge and advanced experience. People who are high in EQ know their weaknesses and can manage their emotions in difficult situations to focus on data rather than a negative emotional response. They are able to read others’ emotions and ask smart questions to avoid unhealthy conflict. Steve gets extra excited when he sees his team begin to master these skills at work and it begins to impact their marriages and families, as well.

Performance evaluates each employee using role-specific KPIs, both culturally and tactically. Using semi-annual surveys, they assess cultural engagement for each employee, department, location, and the company as a whole. They then analyze survey results, unidentified issues, and develop an action plan including organizational enhancements that affect the employee experience. On an annual basis, supervisors, coworkers, and direct reports evaluate each employee's contribution to the team from a pretty objective 360-degree perspective.

Believing tough times shows your team's character; Steve narrates that COVID required most of them to make significant decisions fast. Most competitors temporarily closed, but they decided to stay open for patients despite their shared fear and uncertainty. To remain open, the staff had to adjust rapidly and volunteer for various project roles. In under a week, the team innovated their entire business model. Patients who felt unsafe coming in on Thursday morning were offered telehealth options by Tuesday. They documented safety measures and built PTZs, or personalized treatment zones, for patients who still wanted to treat in person. Steve was blown away by the team’s accomplishments and it further solidified their already strong culture.

As a result of the team’s commitment during uncertain times, they have established two new departments, including a surgical division, and expanded their footprint to include two new facilities. They are proud to introduce a new orthopedic model after recently opening their ambulatory surgical center and remain very active in community outreach to educate and serve the general public.

While the company is growing, there are three tactics that help. First, they create new positions and ensure the right people are on the bus and in the right seats to expand. Second, they are always planning. Steve’s Transformational Playbook guides their annual organizational meeting framework, informs their team on the organizational vision annually, and allows for quarterly reporting and strategic updates, as needed. Finally, they value innovation built on research and development that keeps the organization on the forefront of orthopedic medicine and has the potential to better people's lives.IE




Steve Sargent
Chief Operating Officer
Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine


Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine is a values-based orthopedic facility with experts representing ten different medical specialties under one roof. Our offices offer comprehensive treatment solutions in Sports Medicine, Regenerative Medicine, Interventional Pain Management, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery, Minimally Invasive Orthopedic Surgery, Physical Therapy, Post Surgical Rehabilitation, Occupational Therapy, Chiropractic Care and Acupuncture in Watchung, Branchburg and Somerset, NJ.

Inspiring Leaders Magazine