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Author: Elyse, PMP, CPHIMS
September 17, 2009


I'm sure you have heard the tale of the entrepreneur starting out the small shop, doing it all making a boat load of cash. Then when the organizational bureaucracy weighs down on the entrepreneurs soul, he goes off to another endeavor. I've often wondered how that works in an IT organization. Having a director from a large 800 bed facility transition to a director of a 200 bed facility, is there a sophistication disconnect? How is it addressed?

Organizations develop over time, they experience growth hopefully not too rapidly. The organization increases in complexity from being the best at one service to several services. The size of the organization swells to meet the demand for its products. Over this time, the IT leadership must make the sophistication leap from one level to another.

The 3 Levels of sophisticated IT leadership are:


  • Type 1 - The Cowboy: Our cowboys are all about getting the job done. Often leaders in this position are a benevolent controller managing functional maintaining the lights applications. These individuals are definitely operationally focused

  • Type 2 - The Organizer : Our organizers are enterprise oriented, focused on "doing the right thing". These leaders are concerned about portfolio of applications and building upon the infrastructure. Here we often find a disconnect between the IT endeavors and the business alignment.

  • Type 3 - The Facilitator: Our facilitator is strategically focused. Often they have implemented an enterprise planning process and the organization has adopted this process. The facilitator is good at working through others and open to hearing the leadership team's insights. The facilitator is all about providing IT Value and being strategically utilized.

Bridging these gaps may be difficult for individuals as it takes an openness to personal growth and development. However change is what IT is all about.

Further Readings:

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1 Comments to “The 3 Levels of IT leadership based upon organizational sophistication”

Nicely written. I look at the need from the perspective of the path not traveled. For most, the task of selecting the correct EHR and managing the effort would be like me buying a spaceship--never been there, never done that.

Providers are well-staffed on the clinical side, and on the IT side. The problem is that none of them has the high cost, high risk, high visibility PMO (project management officer) skills that are required to buy something that can cost more than a new hospital wing.

So what do they do? They pull someone out of IT or clinical and hand her the keys. Most large IT projects will fail. MOre EHR projects will fail.


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