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I start my coaching engagements off with 10 questions for the CIO. Perhaps you can listen and determine if you have what it takes to be the CIO? Can you clearly answer these 10 questions.


Today in health it 10 questions I'd like to ask every CIO. In the industry. That's what we're going to talk about today. It's Friday and this is what we do on Fridays. Just stream of consciousness. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system. And creator of this week health set of channels and events dedicated to transform healthcare.

One connection at a time. We want to thank our show sponsors who are investigating, developing the next generation of health leaders. Notable service. Now interprise health parlance. Certified health and Panda health. Check them out at this week. Alright, one last thing, mentor somebody, anybody share this podcast with a friend or colleague use it as a foundation for daily or weekly discussions on the topics that are relevant to you in the industry. You can agree with me, disagree with me.

I don't really care. To be honest with you. What it's about is you mentoring that person and having a discussion about what you believe and what they believe. And that is what mentoring is all about. They can subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. And I didn't mean to say that I don't care, but. With regard to mentoring. It doesn't really matter if you agree with me or not.

It's really about the discussion. All right, let's talk about this. We're gonna have some fun with this. I had, this was titled top 10 things CEOs need to do, and I thought, ah, that's too. I don't know, too arrogant actually is what my first thought was. And I thought, what here's, when I coach a CIO, I would have a series of questions and things that I would do with them. And just to determine where they were at.

And there was a handful of things that I looked at to say, okay, do you have the skills? Do you understand this aspect of the job? And then we would identify strengths and weaknesses and be able to really hone in on the things that were going to be important to develop in order for them to be a successful CIO. And so instead of saying, Hey, these are the things you need to do. I'm going to frame this in.

These are the 10 questions I would ask a CIO. If they were asking me to coach them. In order to determine where they were at. And here's where I would start, especially somebody who's been in the chair for a little bit. These are the questions I would ask. Number one. What is the strategic it vision of your organization?

Okay. And so here are some of the things I'm looking for. How do they think about. The, again, this is the it portion of the strategic plan, the strategic vision. It's not the overarching. And I would look for how this aligns with the overarching business objectives and those kinds of things, but really what I'm looking for is okay, how is the it vision going to serve that? And what's the belief system that underlies that?

And I'm looking for things like, Hey, how do you think about architecture? How do you think about infrastructure? How do you think about platforms? How do you think about API APIs? How do you think about data? How do you think about integration? How do you think about. Third party systems and security and third-party risk and those kinds of things. And , when we're talking at the it vision standpoint, I'm not looking for a deep dive necessarily into those kinds of things.

Just directionally vision is about seeing. And if you don't see it, clearly, others don't see it clearly. And if you don't see it clearly in articulated clearly, then people within your organization are going to make decisions that are not connected to an overall it strategic vision. Therefore I'd like to know.

Can you clearly articulate an it strategic vision for your organization? That is question number one. Question number two. I would like to know. How much it costs to run your it organization for a year. And how much money the organization is giving you and what your plan is to make sure that you get enough money to run it and to do the things you need to do in order to advance it in the organization.

All right. So what's your plan. From a money standpoint, do you know how much you need to run it? And do you have a plan for asking for it? Here's what I'm looking for there. Have you thought this through? Do you win these battles? Do you paint a clear picture? Do you have the trust of the organization?

Have you been transparent in how you've been spending the organization's money for the last couple of years? Are these concepts that are new to you, or are these concepts that you grasp pretty readily and you're ready to move forward with them? I think this is an important question and this tells me a lot.

I will tell you, in my coaching engagements, we spend an awful lot of time right here on this whole budgeting and investments. Category making sure that you are a good steward of the money that you're getting, that you are transparent with the money that you're getting, and to make sure that you're clearly articulating a vision for. Why that money is important. To the organization.

All right. So I want to know your strategic it vision. I want to know. Your plan for the money. The next question I'm going to ask you is. About cybersecurity and I'm not sure what the question is per se. The question is probably what is your plan to ensure that you do not get breached? Breached or ransomed or an extended downtime.

What's your business continuity plan. Just questions around the whole , cybersecurity and business resiliency. And I would have this pretty high up the list and I'd have it pretty high up the list to communicate. That this is an important aspect of being a CIO. And I want to know how much of a grasp do you have on this?

You probably do need to have a little bit more of a technical grasp of what's going on and what the tool sets are and what the protocols are. And what the controls are around these systems. I'd like to hear. Things around your framework that you're following. Your makeup of your team, the education process within the organization.

Those are the kinds of things I'm looking for. So that's the next question is around cybersecurity. And leadership. The next thing I want to know is. What is your plan to keep the system running? To reduce the number of outages and the amount of downtime. , this along with cybersecurity are the reasons that a lot of CEOs. Lose their jobs.

This is just the basic blocking and tackling. There's an expectation within your organization that you will protect the organization. From attack. And there's an expectation that you will keep the systems running. That's not to say that you're not going to have outages, not say it. You're not going to have cybersecurity incidents.

You're going to, absolutely. Every CIO goes through it. It doesn't matter how good they are that we all go through it. Okay, but this is what is your plan to oversee operations and infrastructure to ensure that the organization's it, infrastructure and operations run smoothly and efficiently. And I would phrase the question around operations, tell me your operations plan.

What's your it operations plan. How do you ensure good communication amongst those teams? How do you ensure that the projects are staffed correctly? How do you ensure that your teams have the right skills and those kinds of things? Which leads me to my next question, which is what's the culture you're trying to develop. And what do you value in your manager?

So this is a culture and people question what do you value in terms of your culture and what do you value in terms of your people? And how do you make sure you hire the best people? How do you make sure that you let go of the people that are creating a toxic culture? And the right people at that.

So that's another question I'm asking. CEO's early on in the process. The next is who are the key stakeholders within your organization? Who are the people that are stakeholders is an important question, but who are the people with influence within your organization? That are either going to help or hinder you in getting your job done. As a CIO. You have to be astute enough to look into the organization and see where the roadblocks are going to be and where the champions are going to be, who are going to help you with these things.

But you also have to understand who are the stakeholders. And clearly articulate. This is a stakeholder and what they're a stakeholder of with regard to technology and it investment. All right. No those stakeholders. And I'm also going to ask you what your relationship is with them.

If you've been in the organization for like 10 years, been working near them, and then you got promoted to CIO. I want to say, okay, what's your relation to that? Who are the stakeholders? She'll tell me who they are. And I'll say, what's your relationship with them? Because I think that's important. Next set of questions will be around.

What is your process for change management? I want to understand the transition process. Every project we do in it is a change management projects. We are introducing change into the organization. It is what we do. And I want to know what helps to drive the adoption of the technology that you're putting in there and mitigates the resistance that normally accompanies an it project.

So what is your change management process? The next question is a little bit related and that is tell me your governance process. So many it organizations get stuck. And the reason they get stuck is they don't know what their capacity is and they cannot communicate their capacity to the organization.

And the organization believes that it gets so much money. That they can do everything. So let's just give them everything. And if you don't put the right governance in place, it just swamps the team. And the team is very ineffective without proper governance. And so I will ask you what's the governance process.

And part of that question will be. What is the capacity of the it organization? Do you know the capacity of the it organization. I'll tell you some really seasoned CIO cannot answer that question. And it's an important question to be able to answer. And one of the first things that I want to put in place as a new CIO is how do I measure the capacity of our organization? To determine are we operating at 50% capacity, 70% capacity, 80% or a hundred percent. And then I'd like to identify the bottlenecks, right?

Because there could be projects where we have capacity in one area and we could really move forward with that project, but we don't have capacity in another, an example, being maybe the infrastructure team or the the data infrastructure team. Like we need to. Provision new this or provision new with that.

And we just don't have the capacity. Maybe that's an old style of thinking maybe with cloud. We don't have to think about those things as much, but there is a capacity of understanding. Things and really the governance. So what's your governance process? What's your capacity within your it organization? The next thing I would ask is what is your plan to foster innovation? And what I'm looking for in that question is. Are you able to build a culture of innovation and foster innovation?

That is. How do you have a plan outside of it? To identify those champions who you're going to work with and to foster their ideation and to foster their excitement and encourage their excitement to push the boundaries with technology. And you're going to need champions all over the organization in every area. It doesn't matter if it's a pharmacist or a imaging or just the. You're going to eat at supply chain.

Quite frankly. Custodial. You're going to need somebody everywhere within the organization. Who you're looking at to be your champions for innovation. And they all might look at innovation, a little different. But the question I would ask is what is your plan to foster innovation within the organization?

And then finally, I would ask you, what is your stance. And what are you going to communicate with the organization about digital transformation? And this is an important. Topic. Because if you're not going to champion digital transformation, no one is. And so I want to know what's your personal stance.

Has technology made healthcare better? And. How has it made it better? And if it hasn't made it better, why hasn't it made it better? And what are you going to do? In a position of it leadership. It is important to believe that technology can make something better because you're going to be bringing technology to bear on almost everything within the health system. And you have to be the digital transformation champion.

And what I want to hear is can you tell the story. Digital transformation is good for healthcare because digital transformation will enable us to, bring resources to bear, provide more access to the community, whatever it happens to be, whatever your narrative is. So it shouldn't be my narrative.

It shouldn't be something you get from chat, GPT. This is, should be something that you have internalized, that you have experienced that you believe. And you have stories to share to back it up. You are the digital transformation champion. So I start with vision, then go to money. And what's your plan to get it funded.

I go to cybersecurity leadership. Talk to me about your cybersecurity plan and. Then I go to operations. How do you keep the system running? How do you constantly improve on that to ensure that downtimes become a thing of the past? What's your plan for culture and people and leadership. Then it's a stakeholders.

Can you identify the stakeholders and what your relationship with those stakeholders then? It's, what's your plan for change management? What's your plan for governance? And what's your plan for fostering innovation. And then finally tell me your stance around digital transformation. These are the questions I would ask

if you asked me to. Identify how good a CIO is or where they're at or where their weaknesses are, where their strengths are. These are the kinds of questions I would ask. To determine that. And I would say, okay. , if there's a weakness in this area or whatnot, we would talk about it.

If I was coaching him, I, we would talk about it. And identify ways to improve that I would identify other CEOs they could connect with who are very good at it. Who could give them strategies. And approaches to things is one of the reasons we have the 2 29 project is to connect people with different skills in different. Strengths and weaknesses so that you can lean on others who have strengths that you don't have.

Anyway, that's it. Those are the 10 questions. I would ask a CIO to determine their strengths and weaknesses. And that is all for today. And that's what we do on Friday. It's just stream of consciousness. Don't forget. Share this podcast with a friend or colleague. And use it as an opportunity to mentor someone. We want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders.

Notable service now, enterprise health parlance. Certified health and 📍 Panda health. Check them out at this week. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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