Throughout the past 25 years, I have enjoyed the opportunity to mentor a number of professionals at various levels of their careers. As a hospital executive and CIO, here is my most consistent advice to women in health IT:
Keep sight of values and vision
- Begin by identifying your personal and professional values; then, keep them front of mind.
- Create a vision that is clear eyed and encompasses the business performance goals of your organization.
- Operate consistently within your sense of fairness and consideration for others. Your colleagues and bosses will recognize this leadership trait in you, and you will be valued not only for your job performance, but as a role model.
The best leaders are values driven and results oriented.
Organize and prioritize with eyes on the prize
- Establish a priority list for every project you lead.
- Begin each day with a review and reordering, if necessary, of your goals for the day.
- Establish short-term and long-term goals, and make sure that they are concrete so that you can measure progress.
Keep customer service consistent
- Make sure that excellent customer service is the underlying goal for all others. Solicit guidance and feedback from your customers.
- Make sure that you listen to them and understand the way they work and how you can help to improve their effectiveness. Manage your customers’ expectations. Set reasonable schedules for deliverables and meet them.
- Define success and measure each step towards achieving it. Establish a baseline and prioritize concrete goals with timeframes for accomplishing them.
- Don’t promise the impossible; people will respect you more if you are truthful and direct in your dealings. You may not always be able to get them what they want, but frequently, you can get them what they need.
Communicate for success
Communication is the key to every successful relationship, personal and professional. When I have responsibility for any effort, for example, a technology implementation, or development of a strategic plan and budget, or daily operations of a large department, I connect at every level of the organization. I let them know how the project will impact them. It is impossible to “over-communicate”! Here’s my advice:
Step 1: Tell them what you plan to do.
Step 2: Keep them updated on the progress you are making.
Step 3: Follow up and inform all relevant parties when you have achieved the goals.
To the greatest extent possible, make sure that you are aligned with the organizations that you are a part of. If you find yourself uneasy with the direction others are heading, you may still be able to lead and achieve success if your vision and values persevere. Your integrity will underlie and guide your decision-making at the most difficult times, shining a light brightly in the direction that achieves the best results for patients, providers and staff.
Finally: be generous with your time and advice to others. Take the time to build and maintain your professional network. And ALWAYS make sure you give priority to and support other women.
Know someone like Diane?
Nominate them for the HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards.