“And I want you to know that when I come over, I come over with nothing. No contact database, nothing,” she said.
“Yup,” I replied.
“And while I’m still working for them, I’m working for them — 100 percent.”
“And so you’re ok with all that? I just want to make sure.”
“Yes, Nancy,” I said. “That’s exactly why I’m hiring you.”
And with that, industry veteran Nancy Wilcox has become the newest member of our healthsystemCIO.com team as director of sales and marketing. But while she’s new to our team, she’s not new to us, as Kate and I worked with Nancy while we were all on the Healthcare Informatics staff a number of years ago. We are, in fact, getting the band back together.
When the band came apart and I launched this publication, I knew the exact members I wanted to reunite with. Reflecting on just why Kate and Nancy were the right folks to get on this bus, it comes down to character (encompassing honesty and integrity) and work ethic. Of course, they are very good at what they do, but that is not the main factor I take into account when building a team. You can, of course, learn new skills. You can improve the ones you already have. But how can I, or anyone else, teach someone to take pride in their work, to have their own internal code of conduct by which to operate? When found, those attributes are more likely the result of good parenting than good managing.
And in fact, when found, they mean the folks in question don’t need to be managed at all. As Carolyn Byerly, CIO of Stanford Hospitals and Clinics says in our interview, her job is not to manage, but to lead; to create a vision toward which folks who perform beyond the need for managing can strive. Now that sounds like a much more efficient work environment to me, and efficiency is what makes businesses able to outperform those thrice their size.
And with a further nod towards efficiency, I can report that, though responsible for sales, Nancy is not being paid on a commission basis. I, for one, have no interest in developing what is usually a very complex and convoluted comp plan, and then managing it. I also don’t want Nancy to focus on generating new business to the detriment of that which already exists. When talking about this with Nancy, she was excited.
“Isn’t it funny how when a salesperson tells you they’re not on commission, you lower your guard and actually listen to what they’re saying?” she asked.
“Absolutely,” I replied. “Let’s go without it.”
When I told a business-savvy friend about the set up, he was skeptical. “Salespeople are turnkey — they run on commission. Aren’t you taking on a lot of risk?”
“Not a stitch,” I replied.
My friend, you see, may know ‘salespeople,’ but he didn’t know Nancy. And I wouldn’t be bringing her on board if she were driven more by dollars than pride.
When I reflect on why, after three years, this publication is in the exact place, with the exact staff, that I envisioned, it comes down to a few things. First off, we have a laser focus, so our energies are not frittered away on this and that in fits and starts. Secondly we operate according to the highest standards of quality in terms of product, and integrity in terms of our sponsor-relations. But whatever success we achieve from here will be the result of two decisions — hiring Kate and Nancy. And those decisions were not mine alone. I may have seen the opportunity and extended the hand, but they grabbed it.
As we embark on 2013, perhaps you can also extend Nancy (303-335-6009) a hand of welcome. Speaking from personal experience, I guarantee you won’t regret it.