The Chief Information Officer (CIO) role is a responsibility delegated to someone who has the power and the integrity to shape the technology future of a company. Technology has become the backbone; the most crucial department or function for the successful running of any company in today’s time. Being a CIO is a huge responsibility that calls for 100 percent efforts and result-oriented actions. You have the power but also the pressure to meet goals, build new plans, and successfully implement them; while taking the team and the company forward.
When assuming the responsibility of a CIO, you need to start from the very beginning. It is important to get a positive head start and really understand the responsibilities. Everyone needs time to completely fit into the new shoes; this time can be challenging and deserves every bit of your efforts. So there’s a simple theory that floats, the first 100 days as a CIO are critical for every day after that. The first 100 days require you to step up, pull up your socks, and lay a strong foundation that stands firm for a lifetime. It’s the time when you really understand your role, your responsibilities, and the company’s needs and expectations, and work on building personal relationships and building plans for a better future. The first 100 days are also critical to make everyone around you in sync with your goals, vision, and working ethics.
So let’s take a look at what to do and expect during the first 100 days of being CIO.
Start from Day Zero
Your responsibility as a CIO actually starts even before the first day of being one! Before you assume the role, be clear of the expectations and needs. Try to get a clear picture and start planning before you actually step in. I will be stepping into a new role as the CIO for Children’s Mercy Hospital, and the strategy thought process started the same day I accepted the offer.
Understand and Analyze
Get a complete view of the ongoing projects and the exact capability of the business. You cannot analyze future strategies unless you completely understand what’s happening in the present. Clearly state your own expectations after understanding the ones on you. Be clear of the freedom you have to make decisions to avoid future issues. Openly interact with the organization’s leaders to align your vision as one. The motto should be there are no IT projects, only business projects that are aligned with the organization’s objectives.
Build, Block by Block
Immediately begin building relationships. It takes time to build mutual relationships, so start right away. Make an impactful impression by preparing for your meetings with your team and other deciding heads and managers. Allow your team to take you through the current scenario rather than delegating and being an authority. Be open, listen, communicate, interact, and always keep communication channels a two-way street. Focus on the issues with regards to other departments and meet people across all levels. Collaboration and communication will be key.
The Role of Technology
Be thorough in your understanding of the role technology plays in the company. Understand the varying needs, trends, industry standards, requirements and measures in place, as well as those needed. Understand also the risks with regards to technology as a whole. This will be a great time to rebrand the role of technology to ensure that it is aligned with everyone in the organization.
First Phase Development
Now that you understand the role, start developing plans in keeping with the role. These plans include projects, costs, and also culture and delivery. Analyze and understand the technical assets in place and develop plans to maximize use to the advantage. Build internal capabilities but plan the need to bring in partners or outsources to help if and when required.
A CIO is only as effective as his/her team. Make your own team strong and align them to your needs while also aligning to theirs. Tap into the potential of each team member and analyze the needs for change in roles, promotions, new recruits or hires. Build your team from the bottom to the top!
People will follow your vision only when the results become visible. Try to produce some effective and quick results for people to believe in your planning and way forward.
Keep At It
While the first 100 days are crucial, it is important to continue showing the same passion and enthusiasm even after. Don’t just stop once you think everyone is on board! Continue understanding and analyzing, and keep challenging yourself. The healthcare technology sector is dynamic, and your planning and working needs to be dynamic too.
So if you are the next CIO, step up! Start your journey immediately and you will reap the rewards for a lifetime. It’s a responsibility given to someone who knows how to make visions and dreams that come true. Make sure you are completely ready to take on this new challenge and align yourself to the needs of the company.
And lastly, congratulations! It’s your time to show your professional skills and leadership qualities.
[This piece was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse and CIO.com by David Chou, who was recently named CIO at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. He previously held senior executive roles at University of Mississippi Medical Center, AHMC Healthcare, and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. To follow David on Twitter, click here.]