Behind every accomplished individual is at least one person who helped shape his or her career and pave the way to success. In recognition of these mentors, healthsystemCIO.com has developed a blog series that provides a forum for health IT leaders to acknowledge those who gave them an opportunity to excel and taught valuable lessons along the way. It’s a chance to give back to those who have given so much of their time and attention. If you are interested in contributing to this series, contact Kate Gamble.
When Kate Gamble asked me to write about my mentor, I thought that would be easy since I have worked for a lot of people that have positively shaped who I am. I also love healthsystemCIO.com and wanted to give back. But I anguished over who to write about, not being able to choose any one person. So, I chose to reflect on a number of people I have worked for and what I have learned from each:
- Bobbi Coluni (Shared Medical Systems): The sense of pride one gets in doing a job well is a greater reward than your income.
- Karen Reed Barker (First Consulting Group): Building a team through a sense of camaraderie increases each team member’s performance because they don’t want to let down their fellow team members.
- Zan Calhoun (First Consulting Group): Taking the time to craft consistent, engaging communications is a great investment that pays off through employee commitment.
- Eric Crowell (Trinity Regional Health System): Surround yourself with people you want to work with and let them know you are loyal to them; in return, you will gain their loyalty. Also, it is important to be very clear when you believe something is unacceptable. Show your passion.
- Ron Mohorek (Ministry Health Care): Don’t act like the smartest person in the room — even if you are.
- Jeffrey Francis (Ministry Health Care): Most conflict will resolve on its own; focus on the strategic. Let people do the job they were hired to do.
I also have to add the following:
- My Dad: When I was in high school, he took me to the auto assembly line where he worked. He wanted to teach me that these were good, hard-working folks, but that there were easier ways to make a living.
- My Mom: I watched my mom advance from grocery store clerk to a successful business professional. I attribute my personal ambition to witnessing her success.
While I am a staunch advocate for mentorship, you can also have peers and subordinates that will be brutally honest with you. It is nice to have some cheerleaders on a team, but you also need people whose role is to tell you what you need to hear.
Hire the kind of people that will contact you after a presentation to tell you what was good, and what wasn’t. This is especially important when it comes to little details that you might be blind to, such as slides that were too boring, jokes that weren’t funny, forgetting to recognize people, and even bad tie/sock/shoe choices. I am fortunate to have such people on my team.