Uncategorized

Five Reasons For Hope

Over the past decade as a CIO, I’ve had successes and failures. I’ve learned about leadership in a crisis , how to resolve disputes, and how to serve my customers/employees/superiors . As I watch the first few days of the Obama administration, I have a great deal of respect for the initial activity, as seen through the lens of my own leadership experience. Here are five reasons I have great optimism for the new administration:

1. Smart People – Obama is surrounding himself with smart people, regardless of party affiliation or ideology. In my experience, A-level leaders surround themselves with A-level staff, since they are not intimidated by people who are smarter or more experienced. However, B-level leaders surround themselves with C-level staff who do not question the ideas and actions of their leader, resulting in sycophants rather than a strong leadership team. Of course, as we learned from Jimmy Carter’s presidency (he’s been a great post-president), the smartest people are not always the most successful people, but I have great faith in the new team!

2. Listening – As I’ve described in my blog about leading change , the most important part of Kotter’s principles is to build a guiding coalition. By engaging the stakeholders and listening to their priorities for change, Obama has created powerful grass roots momentum.

3. Doing the right thing – A wise person once said “When one bases his life on principle, 99 percent of his decisions are already made.” Should we drill for oil in the Arctic? Should government decide what therapeutic options doctors and their female patients can talk about? Should government decide science policy based on religious beliefs? The answers to these questions should be clear if we objectively ask ourselves what seems like the right thing to do based on the best objective evidence. The Obama administration is doing that.

4. Let the ideas flow – The web “democratizes data”. Ideas need to flow freely and as country we need to come to consensus about our priorities based on open and transparent communications. The Obama team, with the able assistance of Blue State Digital and other technology partners, has created Change.gov and Whitehouse.gov to reduce information silos.

5. Embrace technology – Obama is the first president to have a computer on his desk. Obama will keep his Blackberry. The communication systems in the Whitehouse will be upgraded to Web 2.0 technologies. Working with better technology will result in better,faster decisions and more enlightened management.

Will the Obama administration be perfect? No. Will the change management ahead be easy? No. Will we get to the right decisions faster and regain the respect of the world. Absolutely.

Have hope.

John Halamka is the CIO at Beth Israel Deconess Medical Center and the author of the popular Life as a Healthcare CIO blog, where he writes about technology, the business of healthcare and the issues he faces as the leader of the IT department of a major hospital system. He is a frequent contributor to THCB.

Livongo’s Post Ad Banner 728*90

Categories: Uncategorized

Tagged as:

17
Leave a Reply

17 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
13 Comment authors
daveMarc ProbstThomas ClarkechuckiesdDr. Pandey Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
dave
Guest

Obama is surrounding himself around smart people. You mean smart people who do not pay their taxes like Tom Daschle? Obama does not have a clue on what to do in fixing the economy.

Peter
Guest
Peter

“Not with our current legal system we won’t. Other countries ration care at the end and the beginning of life. The 23 week old is considered a spontaneous abortion and never makes it as a statistic. Makes us look bad and them good.” Z, let me tell you about what Canada does with premature babies. First, 23 weekers are the exception not the norm of premature babies. Canada has neonatal intensive care (NICU) units which most large hospitals will have, If they don’t then the babies are flown to a NICU. When my wife worked in Toronto as a NICU… Read more »

Z Woznica
Guest
Z Woznica

“”When will we learn there are cost for caring for 23 week old premature babies and conducting Cornary Artery Bypass Surgery on 75 year old Medicare patients.” When we have universal budgets and those types of care are viewed as budget busters not profit generators. However we can study why we get premature babies and tax those habits that cause coronary disease.” Not with our current legal system we won’t. Other countries ration care at the end and the beginning of life. The 23 week old is considered a spontaneous abortion and never makes it as a statistic. Makes us… Read more »

tcoyote
Guest
tcoyote

Peter, it’s really simple how those other countries do it. They just pay everyone in their health systems a LOT less. Most of the clinicians and managers are members of the middle class. It’s just that simple.

Peter
Guest
Peter

“our national health expenditure will rise from 16.2 to 27.5 percent of GDP. When will we face the true causes of our dilemma?” The true cause is our prices are too high. How is that single-pay countries are able to, “grant universal access to all health care services.” at about 8% GDP? “When will we learn there are cost for caring for 23 week old premature babies and conducting Cornary Artery Bypass Surgery on 75 year old Medicare patients.” When we have universal budgets and those types of care are viewed as budget busters not profit generators. However we can… Read more »

Marc Probst
Guest
Marc Probst

John – Your points are great and I do believe there is reason for hope. However (isn’t there always a however?), I am very concerned that the “smartest people” are still be heavily influenced by mis-directed momentum. There are answers (and as I too am a CIO I think many of them involve technology) – I don’t see where the government is really reaching for the right answers, rather they are defaulting to the easy answers (e.g., let’s throw $20 billion at HIT). So in the spirit of hope – I hope rationale thinking will surface and the great inentioned,… Read more »

Thomas Clarke
Guest

Dear John, I concur with your assessment of the incoming Obama Administration. The reality however is that Congress continues to function in a bipartisan business as usual politic as the country faces a dramatic crisis built on decades of unrealistic expectations. The magnitude of the problem is staggering. Consider this: based on CBO projections if GDP remains “Flat” through 2015….our national health expenditure will rise from 16.2 to 27.5 percent of GDP. When will we face the true causes of our dilemma? We can not grant universal access to all health care services. When will we learn there are cost… Read more »

chuckiesd
Guest

I’m also read the new that obama using the blackberry. It really technologist. Go impression on the beginning of his administration. Hope he will do as what he promise.

Dr. Pandey
Guest

John, Smartness is just one key ingradient to success and in fact how do you define success – Ken Lay? These bank Leaders? They all were smart and were able to please people and that led to their rise. Mind you, they were not necessarily intelligent. Lots of time I agree with Icahn – he says most of the CEOs do not belong where they are. In our society, to succeed, you need to be only a bit better so that you do not excite apprehension and rest is your social skills. So what makes a leader: Here are some… Read more »

Janet Lorenz
Guest
Janet Lorenz

President Obama has received criticism for his insistence on using personal technology because of security reasons. I am glad he keeps his Blackberry in hand and a computer on his Oval Office desk. Security concerns should not be cause for the President to abandon that which enabled his campaign – the same technologies that enable us, too. Security concerns are “opportunities for innovation” in data security and technology use. Think: Creativity, Entrepreneurism, Jobs.

Peter
Guest
Peter

Your “Five Reasons” certainly are high on my list of things we didn’t get from the Bush years and at least the screaming in my head has stopped, if not only for a while. I have some hope, with caution, because I understand voters don’t have much patience and this country wants quick fixes for policy that has been going bad for decades, but covered up with debt. I’m with Z Woznica and will see if Obama can deliver or at least put us in the direction of more realistic hope. But don’t kid yourselves, if this economy does not… Read more »

tcoyote
Guest
tcoyote

Agree on the quality of the people. Can you please tell us where the 200 thousand new jobs estimate you gave NPR for $20 billion in healthcare IT spending came from?

Z Woznica
Guest
Z Woznica

Please don’t be offended if I don’t share your enthusiasm for hope. I grew up with the saying that hope is the mother of fools. I am adopting a wait and see attitude instead. I am waiting for bold moves. I am also not impressed with the intelligence of his advisors. They are all intelligent. That’s why they end up with salaries in the millions for steering tax dollars to their firms. It’s their principles that matter and we shall see if they do the right thing. Whether we will have a more enlightened management because of technology and get… Read more »

The Public Health Bugle
Guest

Interesting and inspiring. Lets hope for the best!

Deborah Leyva
Guest

Thank you for a post that evokes the spirit of hope in a nation (world) that has seen better days.
We’re in a new dimension of uncertainty and the velocity of change can be intimidating as we step forward.
Your post provides sincere personal reflections and ideas that we may find useful as we live each day looking for more promising opportunities.