When someone asks what type of health system CIO you are, how do you respond? You may be envious of other CIOs who have more staff, more hospitals or a bigger IT budget. Perhaps others envy you because you have hired well, implemented a fully automated EMR and report to the CEO. Hopefully you are mentally strong enough to accept that your current CIO role may differ from others, and be grateful that you have it. It might be helpful to take this short quiz to help you determine your CIO type.
1. When asked about my management style, the best way to describe me would be:
a. I empower, delegate and work collaboratively with my staff and have an open-door policy. I mobilize staff and keep our IT project work interesting and challenging. I knock down barriers for my staff.
b. I feel the need to oversee others’ work closely, so I’m not blamed for their mistakes. I meet with everyone every day and ask for weekly status reports. Those of us who micromanage will know more about what is going on and can step in to help.
c. I enjoy being an authoritarian and at times a dictator. Why do some of my staff leave after a few months? Why? Why?
2. When I hear that the CEO and senior leadership want to see my “IT Strategic Plan”:
a. I am mobilized to act on the strategic vision and priorities of the business. I am confident in my ability to gain confidence and credibility with leaders of the organization. I have a great ability to market new ideas and win acceptance.
b. I think that whatever we have been doing in IT seems to work, and why does the federal government have to push us to do buy new systems and implement them at a certain time. Why is the government so pushy?
c. I can just make up some milestones and budget items and present them in the plan, and soon the executives will forget and have other priorities to take up their time.
3. When someone asks, “How do you hire and retain excellent employees,” I say:
a. I develop a great position description; utilize an internal recruiter or an outside search firm familiar with healthcare IT, and ask excellent in-depth questions during the search process. I train and empower my staff, give them goals and let them go. I make the IT department a fun and challenging environment, mentor and coach my employees, and try to promote from within whenever I can.
b. Wow, where do I begin? I keep the same employees forever, and each one of them has only one specific area of expertise, and they self-train on the job. I don’t believe in having them attend conferences or acquire certifications. To help fill in the gaps, I always hire multiple consultants and they come and go all the time.
c. I have several open IT positions, but no one on my IT staff is qualified to take them, and I do not like to work with HR on recruitment. I work 24/7 now and don’t have time to hire anyone. The CEO likes me, and I enjoy getting all the praise.
4. When a new system needs to be implemented, and the IT department is involved:
a. I champion the project and collaborate and partner with the different department stakeholders. I am proactively working with the vendor to understand our priorities and communicate our vision. I mobilize my staff to plan, deliver and bring the implementation to a successful completion on time and under budget.
b. I think, maybe, the super users in the department can work with the vendor and get it done. I have more important projects to do and my staff is stretched too thin.
c. I don’t understand why these department heads are always getting their way and want to implement new systems every year. I hate their vendors and their systems will mess up our integration. Why do I always have to deal with these changes?
If you answered a. to three or more questions, congratulations, you on doing well and have excellent CIO leadership skills.
If you answered b. to three or more, watch out.
If you answered c. to three or more, it may be time to retire or look to a new industry.
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