There is no simple recipe for success in being a world-class chief information officer, but keeping things simple is the ultimate goal.
Successful healthcare CIOs know that engaging stakeholders, setting direction and creating a positive culture are essential tasks for any CIO. What separates the best from the rest is how they approach these tasks. Here are four mindsets that characterize great CIOs.
- Take risks. In a period of uncertainty, it’s easy to avoid the worst consequences. That, however, guarantees nothing other than stagnation or decline. Successful CIOs are visionaries who must create a compelling future for their organizations. The goal is to focus on what you want for the organization, not what others think you need to accomplish your objectives. You must educate and raise the company’s goals for them to align with technology and seek intersections where the business and technology meet. We are great futurists by nature. Therefore, we must establish an excellent vision for our futures.
- Be a chief change agent. A solid CIO is a change agent, and leading change in the strategy is difficult because it produces resistance. That’s why “soft stuff” like people and culture are so important. This may be the most difficult aspect of all to get correct. To execute a plan effectively, we must solve the soft stuff first. To effect change in their company, CIOs must make an argument for it and then follow through with results.
- Ask why. The word “purpose” is a difficult one to define. At the least, it should be strong enough to move people, be simple enough for everyone to understand and have business rationality. The greatest CIOs begin by asking why their company exists, then incorporate purpose into their business model using technology as a competitive advantage, knowing that testing strategy against purpose may lead to innovation. This method will also increase employee well-being and loyalty.
- Maintain balance. It’s a full-time position, and not 24/7. No one can work that hard. To avoid being pulled apart, great CIOs make it a top priority to maintain control of themselves. Self-discipline is crucial for good management, especially when it comes to managing time. CIOs must schedule “thinking time” into their calendars or relax for a few minutes between meetings leading to an understanding of perspective that will look into the future.
I just completed a two-day leadership conference, and those four skills are key to allowing CIOs to manage their teams and lead digital transformation strategies. They also put CIOs in a position to compete for leadership roles in an increasingly technology-driven business environment.
David Chou is an accomplished technology executive with deep experience in the healthcare space in the for-profit, non-profit, academic medical center, pediatric hospital and ambulatory settings focusing on value-based care. He has experience leading complex organizational transformations and digital solution integrations for global and regional organizations in a highly regulated industry.