As I write this post I am winding up my first two weeks as the Chief Information Officer at a hospital in New England.  Over the past 4 weeks my family and I have packed up the entire contents of our home, drove 1,200 hundred miles and for the most part unpacked the entire contents of our Florida home into our new home. For those of you who have made such a move I don’t have to tell you how stressful it can be. I have heard all the jokes about how people don’t move north; that I am supposed to move from the north to Florida and not vice versa. All my friends back in Florida tell me to just wait until my first New England winter.

Despite all that my family and I are at peace with our move. We know that God has a plan this time for us to be here. One thing’s for certain a person can leave their familiar surroundings, change their physical address, but as the saying goes, wherever you go, there you are. Your good qualities and the ones that need work are right there staring you in the face. I think it is easier to reflect on this when you first make a move and it is fresh in your life.

I have taken the role of CIO and have come into a successful organization that has received many accolades over the years. It was made clear to me during my interview process that I was taking on a successful group, not one that needed turning around. Interestingly, what was emphasized to me during my interview process and time with future staff members was the lack of leadership. Do those two paradigms almost seem paradoxical?

That would be my first quest to really understand. What is it about the culture here that breeds success on the outside yet seemed to be lacking the major component of leadership, a rudder so to speak? What would be the best approach for me to understand this paradox?

The answer seems intuitive. I should listen. I should spend time with staff to really hear what they have to say. While this may seem intuitive it is not always easy. The size of your department does not always allow for a leader to meet with each staff member one on one. What do you do then? What are you options? As we have stated at CultureInfusion in the past “Culture happens whether or not you’re intentional about it or not”.

  • Would you be willing to share how as a leader you assessed the culture of a new organization you were called to lead?

  • If you were not the leader how did you ensure your new leader understood the culture?

Finally, it is important for me to realize that even though I am not in Florida anymore who I am as a leader has not changed. Referring to what I stated earlier no matter where I go there I am, good and bad. There is no doubt that I have already after two weeks had an impact on the culture. Probably it’s more or less added a bit of a strain to the culture as change normally does. If I truly believe in the CultureInfusion methodology, I must ensure each day that I am intentional about understanding and reshaping the culture into one where leadership is visible, influential, and steadfast. If we can build a culture where we are still successful and the staff feel a sense of strong leadership who knows what we will be able to achieve.

Twitter: @C_infusion  or  @Chrismwalden

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