Author: David Chou – Healthcare CIO
As I reflect on the role of the CIO in the last 15 years, a lot has changed. I recall that the CIO role was in the infancy and pretty much non-existent in healthcare, where you probably had a Director or Manager of Data Processing that resided in the basement of the hospital with staffs that are functioning more as data entry clerks, keying in hospital charges or other areas of the mainframe. Fast forward to the digital world today, where arguably every company is a software company because there are a few enterprise systems that are driving the organization with a team supporting the various applications. Here are the top tips for the future CIO and let’s remember that the CIO role is a leadership role and the main focus is to lead.
1. Deliver Value, aka Problem Solver: CIOs must deliver value to the organization and serve as the key resource in solving problems by leveraging technology. When I think of the impact that I have on my organization, and let’s focus on the healthcare vertical, I touch every department on campus. It is critical for me to understand their business process and help them solve problems that they are facing. The CIO has the only department on campus with that responsibility so we have to deliver solutions to solve organizational issues.
2. Do Not Call Me The “AV” Guy: I am sure this happens all the time to CIO’s in a board meeting or executive leadership meeting when a presentation doesn’t work and the entire room turns their head for me to fix the problem. My response has always been, “I am not the AV guy,” but I always try to assist if I can. We must try to remove that label and be known as the break fix executive. Our core has to be leveraging technology to solve business problems.
3. Leaders Cannot Please Everyone: One the most important things in dealing with people when you’re the man or woman in charge is, you just can’t please everybody. When you try to please everybody, it just doesn’t work. We have to make a decision that is best for the organization and there will be lots of tough decisions, but that is why they hired you in the first place. I have seen too many leaders fail in this area when they are unable to make the tough call because the goal was to please everyone instead of making the right decision.
4. Team Chemistry: It’s really important to understand the capabilities of your people. You have to understand their strengths and weakness and never give them something they’re just not capable of doing. Change your approach a little bit, work at knowing their capabilities and understanding your style.
I want to emphasize that we are expected to be leaders and coaches. I love using sports analogies in leadership. Think of a coach who has 10 superstars on a basketball team. The coach has to put together 5 players at a time with the best chemistry and he or she may not be able to please every superstar; the coach is expected to make the tough decision that is beneficial for the team. The same goes for the CIO. Understand your team’s skill set and put them in the best position for success.