Recently, Ray Lowe pulled back the curtain and answered some questions about his leadership philosophy and his career path. Lowe is SVP and CIO at AltaMed Health Services, a community health network based in Los Angeles, Calif.
Is there one moment from your career you would go back and change?
Understand the full cost of a system deployment, and validate assumptions and ongoing operating costs. My team presented a pro forma that involved a technology uplift as well as hospital network remediation. As it turned out, the costs for the remediation were greater than expected, which required us to revisit the Board for approval. In retrospect, I would have defined a multiphase initiative with a defined ask for assessment to validate the cost model and then returned for the larger portion of the program funding. I learned the importance of clearly understanding the business benefit and how it will be measured.
What advice would you give to an aspiring (or new) CIO?
I’ll break it down into three groups: servant leadership/empathy, positive environment, and continued learning.
- Servant leadership: Sometimes leaders do not review their own behavior, and aren’t aware how to continue to develop themselves and understand how their behavior affects others. You must be willing to hold a mirror to yourself and look at the effect your leadership has on others. The worst leaders bulldoze forward, make mistakes and don’t look back. They don’t learn as they go, and they lack self-awareness.
- Positive environment: Create an environment where people at all levels are intellectually stimulated, coupled with a power-share model of authority and collective decision-making. Create a shared vision and continue to tie that vision back to the strategy to make it real for your staff and peers. Integrity is very important to me. A safe environment where staff can address difficult truths and have frank conversations; if we can see it we can manage it. Enable teaching, mentoring and engaging in conversation at all levels.
- Continued learning: Lastly, having a continued focus on learning is important because you can always learn something new, from anybody.
What are you looking forward to most this year?
The country’s continued reopening as the Covid 19 cases continue to decrease. Life returning to a new normal, gathering with friend and loved ones, and moving past elbow taps and enjoying time with those most dear.
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