HIMSS 2012: Speaker calls on hospital CIOs to be managers of change

Hospital CIOs must be both bearers of hope and shepherds of change in order to find success in guiding their organizations, business consultant Ken Blanchard, Ph.D., co-founder of The Ken Blanchard Companies, said at yesterday's opening keynote at the 2012 CIO Forum at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's annual conference in Las Vegas. Blanchard's isn't an expert in health IT, but his message still seemed to resonate with the audience.

"Managing change comes more from managing the journey than announcing the destination," Blanchard said. He added that the biggest problem he sees in organizations today is that "ego-driven higher ups" like it when others kiss up to them.

Blanchard, who also calls himself the chief spiritual officer of his firm, frequently referenced Southwest Airlines as an example of a group that motivates its employees to work hard. There, he said, management acts more as "servant-leaders," treating all employees as business partners, while at the same time establishing a clear leadership point of view.

"As CIOs, you're in the quality of life business," he said.

Blanchard added that when implementing large-scale changes--such as installing an electronic health record system--not to squeeze too many other projects into a similar timeframe.

"People can only handle so much change," he said.

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