Inside CHIME: Healthcare CIO Boot Camp™ – Leadership Lessons and Beyond
|4.27.17 by Summer O’Neill
Director of Education, CHIME
As a CHIME staff member, preparing for the Healthcare CIO Boot Camp™ often involves a lot of checklists. Making sure the supplies are packed. Checking handouts. Reviewing the agenda and coordinating with the onsite team. The faculty, even the most seasoned veterans, check their slides over and over, making sure they’ve used the right balance of theory and practice. They’ve sought feedback from trusted colleagues and they’ve carefully prepared a list of articles and books that will provide the right complement to their presentation materials. As the Boot Camp participants prepare to arrive, they are thinking about what they’ve signed up for, how this will help their career, and how they can possibly unplug from work for over three days.
Despite all the rigorous preparation from faculty, staff and participants, something changes after that first night at Boot Camp. Suddenly, a group of travel-weary strangers begin to share stories and quickly realize that what they signed up for is not just another leadership program. Struggling with your EMR implementation and facing criticism from the CEO? Having trouble connecting with the CMIO? Challenged with instilling a shared vision within your team? All of the sudden stories become a way to find a common thread, and trusted relationships are formed. Faculty and staff listen intently and are reminded about the unique privilege we have. For us, this is one of the highlights of our year and makes the meticulous planning more than worth it. This is my seventh Boot Camp, and each is a special and unique experience.
Earlier this month, over 65 healthcare IT leaders from across the country convened in the Windy City at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center. Representing small and large providers, and even the U.S. Army. Boot Campers left their daily lives behind to participate in compelling lectures, hands-on master case exercises and valuable one-on-one mentoring with Boot Camp faculty. Most importantly, they shared stories with each other, imparted advice and built a network of confidants and trusted peers that will last for years to come.
The topics and themes shared by faculty were as diverse as the backgrounds and experiences they bring to Boot Camp. Faculty utilized impactful teachings from the world’s most trusted voices on strategy, change leadership, the customer experience, team engagement and building networks. But they also opened up to participants by sharing real-life stories of success and failure, taken from their experiences as early careerists to the different and more complex set of challenges as seasoned CIOs. Boot Campers also heard presentations on governance done right and the evolving role of the CIO. There was a call to action that encouraged everyone to get more involved with HIT policy and lead change. Above all, participants were reminded that serving patients and families is at the core of their work.
Participants had the opportunity to grapple with real-life scenarios that defied previous assumptions and encouraged creative problem-solving. Moving from table to table, I observed small groups asking questions, debating answers and furiously writing notes while faculty leaders challenged the discussion and encouraged groups to “think like a CIO.”
At the end of each day, Boot Campers did their best to “stump the faculty” by asking a myriad of questions about anything from embarking on a career change, to tackling a dysfunctional relationship, to the best books to read. The evenings were spent sharing stories and connecting with faculty. Groups huddled around cocktail tables smiled and laughed. Many made plans to grab dinner or explore the city.
On the last day participants arrived after a family-style dinner the evening before, spinning with all the new information they had gained. Notebooks were filled with action items and book titles. Many made plans to meet with their CEO first thing after returning. Before saying good-bye, Boot Campers did some personal planning that will set the stage for their first days back home. While this special part of the program needs to be experienced first-hand, it never fails to be one of the most impactful and powerful aspects of the program.
Faculty and staff gather one last time before parting ways, and year after year, faculty say the same thing: “We learned as much from them as they learned from us.”