As more CIOs contemplate career moves, it’s becoming clear that while their reasons for leaving may vary, their hesitations stem from the same source. In the May healthsystemCIO.com Snap Survey, more than a third of respondents identified learning and adapting to a new culture as the most significant hurdle in seeking a new role, while others cited challenges such as building relationships and navigating politics.
“Having the organization trust and know you” is critical, one CIO noted. Another stated that “Nothing is more important” than gaining credibility quickly.
The biggest motivators for making a move, not surprisingly, are frustration with the current organization and the need for a new challenge, with several respondents pointing to mergers and acquisitions or changes in leadership as the beginning of the end. One respondent stated that the “corporate culture is changing to one of negativity, largely owing to the avalanche of organizational external demands (healthcare reform and legislative demands) that can no longer be prioritized.”
Other goals in taking on a new role include relocating to a different area (17 percent), and securing a better compensation package (15 percent).
However, sometimes the desire to move on isn’t quite enough, according to one respondent, who commented that those who lack Epic experience “are in a potential underdog situation.”
For those who are lucky enough to land a new position, CIOs believe the best strategy is to work on building strong relationships with the leadership team and staff before making any moves. “Understand the organization, the culture and the business prior to making changes,” said one respondent. Another urged colleagues to, “Listen, assess, act.”
(SnapSurveys are answered by the healthsystemCIO.com CIO Advisory Panel. To go directly to a full-size version of any individual chart, click on that chart.)
1. Have you made a career change in the past year? (If ‘yes’, please indicate the type of organization you left as well as your current organization.)
- I left a for-profit, national specialty hospital system to move to a large academic health system.
- From health system to payer
- Academic to an integrated system.
- Was CIO of a 3-hospital system. Doing independent consulting now.
- Second in command at a 14b org. Moved to 2b org to be the strategic CIO
- I left a 2-hospital, 350-bed organization to go to a 3-hospital, 500-bed system with heavy outpatient service focus.
- I left a position as CIO for the community division of a health system to become COO for a healthcare communications company.
- Left a long term CIO role at a community hospital for a CIO role at a larger facility.
- I left an IDN because we were acquired, and am now looking for a new opportunity.
- I left a dysfunctional IDN for a much better one.
- Community Hospital to community hospital that is part of a health system.
- Retired from IDN. Doing advisory gig at another. Very energizing.
2. If not, are you considering a career change?
- In the email for this survey it mentions “so many job opportunities,” and I am not finding that to be the case. There are a few recruiters, with one having most of the listings. Not many health systems are self-recruiting. If you work with a recruiter who has multiple listings, you can only be sent to one opportunity at a time. Not to mention now if you don’t have Epic experience, you are in a potential underdog situation as many are looking for that. So career change is not as easy as it seems.
- Healthcare as well as healthcare IT is extremely stressful right now. I hope to make a total career change.
- Actively being recruited.
- Hopefully my next career change will be retirement.
- I hope this is my last stop. I have a 10-year horizon and enough to do here to carry me through this target timeline.
- Looking at moving into the CIO postion
3. What is the biggest motivation for seeking a new role?
Better compensation/benefits package
Need for a new challenge
Frustration with current organization
- With an M&A just completed, decision making critical to the success of the organization is even further removed from the Regional CIO.
- Time to take a break. I just don’t know how long the break will be.
- We were being taken over by a larger organization that did not care how successful or well we did in the past. It was their way or the highway.
- All of the above were accurate as to why I left. Plus, as it turned out, the CEO wanted to employ an unemployed former CEO/CIO that was a board member. My position was eliminated, to then be reconstituted like a can of Minute Maid, with a new title. Anita Bryant would be proud.
- There has been a change in leadership in my organization and the new CEO does not see IT as a strategic business need, nor does he see the need for physician leadership. This is very different than what I want to focus on and what I see as the direction we need to be going in.
Desire to relocate to different geographical area
- At a stage of life that looking for a career change in a new geogrpahic location married with a larger interesting opportunity. After 11 years in my current role it just seems about time.
- Retirement of CEO.
- I can’t pick just one. In fact, the only way you seek a new position is when you have multiple factors occurring.
- Aligning with another health system.
- No interest.
- Corporate culture is changing to one of negativity, largely owing to the avalanche of organizational external demands (healthcare reform and legislative demands) that can no longer be prioritized.
- My company was acquired.
4. In your experience, what has been the most significant challenge in accepting a new position?
- Adapting to unique organizational culture.
- Understanding all of the organizational politics.
- Understanding the organizational dynamics.
- Finding a good fit in an acceptable geography.
- Having to start over implementing governance.
- Understanding the culture and political landscape.
- Relocating family; the rest is typical. Listen!
- Culture shock.
- Learning decision-makers and organizational culture.
- Learning the culture.
- Building new relationships.
- Developing trust with the new organization.
- New culture and new relationships.
- Establishing strategic value of IT.
- Building relationships.
- Learning the culture, establishing relationships.
- Keeping up with demands.
- Learning a new system. It’s also the most fun.
- Learning the politics and culture of the organization.
- New routines and getting settled into community.
- Learning their culture.
- Understanding corporate culture and decision process.
- Mastering co-history/decision rationale.
- Having the organization trust and know you.
- Forming, norming, and storming in a quick manner.
- Becoming familiar with the political structure.
- Courage, in this time of uncertainty, to change.
- Understanding the culture and political climate.
- I don’t know. Have been in current one for 29 years.
- Building a new team of high performance individuals.
- Learning to navigate in a new culture.
- Heavy investment in current position.
- New culture.
- Learning the culture.
- Learning the politics.
- Relationship building. It takes time.
- Establishing new and effective relationships.
- Gaining credibility fast; nothing is more important.
- Establishing credibility with the IS staff.
- Relocating family, building trust with staff.
- Understanding the culture and governance.
- Establishing relationships.
- Identifying the real issues and priorities.
- Gaining leadership, colleague trust.
5. What do you believe is the best approach to take when assuming a new leadership role?
Make a big splash to establish your authority out of the gate
Get to know the staff well before making any moves
It depends on the organization
- It depends on the performance of the current IT organization.
- Understand the organization, the culture, and the business prior to making change.
- Listen, assess, act.
- Need to create the relationships with leadership.