I Found the Perfect Job Online. What do I do Now? By Chris Hesson, Guest Blogger, DRI Plastics Division
After months of browsing online job boards, you finally see that one role that combines your past roles, industry experience and passion. And…it’s local!
What do you do now?
This is a scenario many job seekers face. Unfortunately, most take the worst possible next step: they apply online with the same generic resume they have sent out to so many other companies.
This will most certainly ensure that your resume enters the black hole of corporate HR, never to be seen again!
So, what do you do now?
HINT: Do NOT apply!
Step 1: Customize your resume.
Go through the job description bullet-point by bullet-point. If they are looking for a software developer with ABC experience, your resume should highlight your experience with ABC.
Your resume should mirror the job description.
Similarly, if you have experiences or skill-sets that are not relevant. Leave them off or at the least keep them few and simple.
Step 2: Network.
Before you submit a resume online or to HR look through your network. Do you know anyone that works for the company? Do you know anyone who knows anyone who works for the company?
Do not be afraid to tap your connections for introductions, no matter where they may be within the organization.
For example: If you are interested in an engineering role, but have a 1st or 2nd connection to someone in finance or sales, reach out to them! They may go golfing with or park next to the engineering manager
If you have no connections into the company, you can always coldly reach out to someone on the sales team. Sales professionals are great to network with.
REMEMBER: Networking is a 2-way street. Yes you have the goal of being able to make inroads within an organization, but try to find out where you may be able to provide value to them as well. Networking is all about deposits and withdrawals. You may even be able to return the favor by providing them with a lead!
Step 3: Repeat Step 2!
Connect with multiple people: develop rapport with them, learn about the company’s philosophy and culture, use them to connect you to other people within the organization.
Step 4: Leverage your network.
Use your old or new-found connections to introduce you to the hiring manager (or worst case – HR), or at the very least pass along your resume, and strongly recommend that they reach out to you.
Step 5: Repeat Step 4!
Having multiple people within an organization championing you increases your chances of having that first conversation with your potential new boss! A job search is like sales: it is all about pipeline. (Some people choose to focus on pipeline by sending their resumes out to every company hiring. But I would recommend honing in on those perfect roles and increasing your pipeline towards them).
Step 6: Talk to a recruiter.
Try to find recruiters who have done business with that company before. Some recruiters highlight who they work with on their website, or you may see that the hiring authority (or multiple people within the company) is/are connected to several recruiters. Reach out to them. Tell them that you are interested in connecting with a company they already know about and a position where they may already know the manager!
At the end of the day, nothing will guarantee you an interview, offer, or even a conversation; but increasing your exposure will decrease the odds that you end up in the resume black hole!
You found a new job. It’s time to resign your current position. But how do you quit and leave on a positive note at the same time?
Our team of recruiters at DRI can’t say enough about how important it is to leave your current job on good terms. We suggest that you make plans for a smooth exit and resign as graciously as possible even though you might be thinking “Take this job and shove it”.
Here are 6 great tips on how to resign properly:
1) Resign with Class. Craft a short, two or three sentence letter that announces your resignation and provides a two week notice. Make sure to mention your gratitude for the position. However, do not use the resignation letter to provide information about your next opportunity.
2) Resist the Counter-Offer. This is a big one. Chances are good that your current employer will offer you more money to stay. Don’t be tempted to say yes. The same reasons of why you are leaving will still be there, In addition, if it takes a letter of resignation to get you more money, keep moving forward. This isn’t the place for you.
3) Continue the Pace. Don’t go into the cruise mode once your resignation has been submitted. In fact, do the opposite and put the medal to the pedal! Leave your company and position in the best possible shape. If your boss asks you stay on longer than 2 weeks, see what you can work out. Protect your good reputation.
4) Pack Your Stuff But Leave Theirs. Don’t leave behind a big mess. Clean out your desk and pack your stuff. However, when doing so, don’t’ be tempted to take anything that belongs to the company. It’s not worth tarnishing your reputation and relationship over swiping a stapler or tape dispenser.
5) Don’t Trash Talk. If you are disgruntled with your employer, it’s better not to trash them to others. Word gets around much faster these days especially with social media and you want to leave on a positive note. Also, don’t forget you may need a professional reference from them one day.
6) Exit properly. Don’t make yourself scarce on your last day of work. Instead, go around the office, shake hands, and thank management for the opportunity to work there. If possible, give them a number where you can be reached in case they have any questions. Also, take a moment to thank your co-workers and tell them how nice it was to work alongside them. Don’t burn any bridges and leave with class.
Perhaps you are leaving your current employer now. If so, tell us how you plan to exit by posting below.
Do you feel like you’re shuffling off to work every day and that it should mean something more than a paycheck? Is the spark gone? Then, maybe it’s time for you to change direction and look for a new job.
Every day at Direct Recruiters, we speak with active and passive candidates who are unhappy in their current positions and ready to make a move. When we probe further and ask them to be more specific about why they’re unhappy and to pinpoint what they don’t like about their current job or company, we often hear the same reasons over and over again.
Can you relate to any of our top 6?
1) Stagnation: Feeling underutilized to the point of atrophy. It’s a bad sign if you’re not being challenged and lose the stuff that makes you stand out professionally. To keep your skills honed, you need to use them often. If not, you’ll lose them and fall behind.
2) Overwhelming Workload: It’s normal to feel frazzled every so often but if you’re job has become too overpowering on a daily basis, it’s unhealthy. Over the past several years, many of you have had to take on the work of 2 or more people. Increased workloads mean heightened stress and high stress can lead to burnout.
3) Bad Reputation of Company: According to a poll taken by CR Magazine in 2013, 69% of Americans would rather be unemployed than work for a company with a bad reputation. Moreover, 84% would leave their current employer in a minute for a company with a favorable reputation.
4) Sick of Broken Promises & Merit System: If your boss routinely promises a raise and/or promotion but you get passed over each time, chances are you’re feeling disappointed and misled. You realize there’s no growth in your current job. It won’t be long before you become totally disgruntled and on the chopping block.
5) Inept Manager(s): It is often said that good employees don’t leave companies, they leave bad managers. Bad manager practices deflate employee morale and in turn, mishandled employees stop caring about how well they perform their job and even become indifferent to company goals and objectives.
6) Change in Family Circumstances: A change in your personal life (marriage, having children, etc.) may make it necessary to find a new job because of location, finances or a need to spend more time at home.
Please share your story regarding how and when you knew it was time to look for a new job.
Success has nothing to do with luck. Success begins when developing a successful mindset. This mindset in turn builds character and ultimately creates success.
There are 7 things that all successful people have in common. Not to worry if you don’t have all seven. They can be learned. Find a role model and emulate their habits and behaviors that brought them success. Also, ask them to be your coach in order to help you learn and grow.
1) They are dreamers. Successful people dream big and don’t put boundaries on how far they can reach. They will do one thing each day that puts them closer to reaching their goals. However, they dream with a plan because without a plan, a dream is just a wish.
2) They are willing to fail. Success doesn’t come easy and people are bound to fail along the way. Rather than staying down, Successful people pick themselves back up and learn from their failures and use them as stepping stones to success.
3) They invest in themselves. Successful people invest their time and money towards bettering themselves. They strive to learn a new skill or improve their current ones. They realize that without knowledge, they don’t have power and without power, they cannot reach the next level.
4) They network and connect with others. Successful people network with like-minded individuals. They seek out people with similar goals and who bring out the very best in them. They will join associations and attend events to stay connected.
5) They take action. Successful people take immediate action and have excellent decision making skills. They don’t wait for things to happen but make things happen and do it without looking back or having regrets.
6) They embrace change. Successful people don’t fear or resist change, they embrace it. With the world moving at warp speed and technology rapidly changing, they adapt and realize that change is inevitable.
7) They see the bigger picture. Successful people never stop moving forward. They knock down any brick walls in their way. They also know that the problems they are facing today probably won’t matter next week or in the long run. They are unstoppable.
What other traits do you think successful people have in common? Please post below!
Thank You Notes…Still Protocol When Interviewing by Robert Cohn, Managing Partner & Director of Automation Practice
One of my best clients asked me to take on a challenging search for a sales professional who could meet their qualifications and requirements. My team and I worked diligently on this search and in a short time presented a candidate that piqued their interest.
This candidate went through 2 phone interviews, 1 face-to-face interview and was invited to HQ for a final face-to-face interview. When completed, I was able to debrief both the client and candidate. Both parties shared with me that it was a perfect match and were ready to move to the next level…the job offer.
Several days went by without a word from my client, so I reached out to them and asked if they were ready to close the deal and make an offer to our candidate. What I heard was an emphatic “NO”. The reason was simple…the candidate failed to send a thank you note or email when interviews were concluded. To our client, this showed a lack of gratitude, follow-up and the ability to close the deal…all necessary to be successful in a sales role. In addition, a thank you note would have allowed them to judge his response time and written communication skills.
I called our candidate to ask why he had forgotten this very important step especially since we discussed it as vital part of the interview and post interview process. He didn’t give me a reason as to why he failed to communicate with them but said he would send a note right away. However, it was too late. My client had already decided to start fresh and look at other candidates.
Bottom line, a thank you note or email is still protocol. It’s not old school but respect for a hiring manager’s time and consideration. In addition, it gives you the opportunity to reiterate your strong interest in the position and answer any questions they may have. It can also set you apart from your competition.
With that, here are some tips to consider when sending your thank you note:
- Send your thank you note to every person involved in the interview. Each one should be personalized. Make sure to get a business card or necessary contact information before you leave.
- Nothing beats a hand-written letter, but in this day in age this can be too slow of a response. If you chose to send a thank you note in the mail, send an email as well. Email is perfectly acceptable and is commonly used for thank you notes.
- Be sure to send your thank you note or email no later than 24 hours after your interview.
- How you write your thank you note makes a difference. Try to make each one original and provide 3-5 sentences thanking them for their time and expressing your enthusiasm. Also, include your contact information should they have questions or want to follow up.
Now I’d like to hear from you. Did writing a thank you note ever separate you from other candidates? Did failing to do so ever prevent you from getting the job?
5 Reasons Why You Should Join a Professional Association by Guest Blogger Sydney Arnett, Marketing Specialist, DCA
Professional associations are perhaps one of best untapped resources for career development. Regardless of what industry you’re in, there is likely a plethora of associations, organizations, groups, and societies dedicated to broadening the knowledge base of their members and facilitating communication and growth within their industries.
Over the past several years I have discovered how beneficial it is to be a member of a professional association. From being a college student to a young professional, I have experienced much of the spectrum of how professional associations can aid in career development. I’ve attended workshops, used job boards, social media, stayed up on the latest news by reading publications, participated in webinars, etc.
So, as someone who has taken advantage of many of the services and resources that professional associations provide, I’ve come up with a list of my top 5 reasons you should consider joining one too:
1) Networking: One of the best things about joining a professional association is all of the people you get connected to. Associations provide unparalleled networking opportunities, allowing members to connect with other people in their industry. From peers, to mentors, to industry leaders, professional associations give members instant access to all different types of people in their industry. Also, members shouldn’t forget to attend their professional association’s annual conference, as it will offer them the opportunity to meet and network with the largest gathering of people in their industry.
2) Continued Education: Especially in the Healthcare IT industry (which is constantly evolving) continued education is a must. Fortunately, most professional associations offer their members unlimited opportunities to broaden their industry knowledge. This is typically done through seminars, conferences, workshops, online courses, etc. Also, professional associations usually send out quarterly, if not monthly, newsletters which can help members to stay up on trends and latest industry developments. In addition to newsletters, most associations also provide access to an enormous amount of research information such as case studies, articles, white papers and books written by industry experts.
3) Resume Builder: For recent college graduates with limited work experience, professional associations can be a fabulous resume builder. Being extremely active in the association can possibly help to make up for some of the work experience college graduates may be lacking at this point in their careers. However, even for someone who has a job and isn’t searching for a new one, professional associations can provide members with opportunities to build their resume as well. Examples of how established professionals can build their resume include obtaining leadership positions (e.g. being on a committee or the Board of Directors) and having articles published in the association’s publications.
4) Job Searching: The majority of professional associations have job boards that members can use. Often, members can even submit their resumes so that employers and recruiters can see them when they are searching for new talent. Working at a staffing and consulting firm, I can say for certain that recruiters do look at these websites for resumes! Another reason why joining a professional association can help with job searching is because of the amount of events available to members and the opportunity they offer members to get their name out there in the industry.
5) Save Money: Although it costs money to join most of these associations – they also help you save money! Memberships in many associations include free subscriptions to the association’s publications, discounted prices to events, and not to mention the priceless contacts and relationships you make. Some associations also offer members discounts on CDs, journals, videos/DVDs and other materials.
Additionally, belonging to a professional association isn’t just a good idea for individuals – it can also be useful for employers. Employers can, and should, utilize professional associations for recruiting purposes, business development, networking, continued education for its employees, exhibitor opportunities, visibility, branding, etc.
If you are looking to join a professional association, here are a couple suggestions for the Healthcare IT and the Recruitment industries: Healthcare IT Professional Associations: Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS), and American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA). Recruitment Industry Professional Associations: Ohio Recruiters Association (ORA) and National Association of Executive Recruiters (NAER).
Matthew Cohen, Energy Management Practice Leader with Direct Recruiters, Inc. interviews Roderick Morris, SVP, Marketing and Operations at Opower, provider of cloud-based software to the Utility Industry.
Roderick, one of your “Influencers” on your LinkedIn profile is Joel Peterson, Chairman of Jet Blue. What makes him an Influencer to you?
Joel is an incredibly successful business leader, investor, and teacher. I took a course in real estate finance from him at Stanford, and like many of my classmates realized that Joel was much bigger than any particular function or discipline. He is a very smart person, but the thing that runs constant to me across everything he does is a focus on integrity. You can see it in any of the posts he writes on LinkedIn.
Also on LinkedIn, the recommendations you received commend you on your leadership skills and abilities. What do you feel it takes to be a great leader?
If you’re authentic and decisive, it can make up for a lot of other flaws. There is plenty for me to learn in order to be a better leader, but people I work with seem to appreciate my direct approach and my passion for helping others achieve their goals without delay.
What are your thoughts on the looming global leadership shortage in the energy and utility industry? What actions should companies be taking now?
It’s impossible to create leadership experience out of thin air. We are always looking for talented managers we can pull in from outside. At the same time, domain experience is important and promoting from within must be part of the solution. Senior teams need to make bets on unproven talent now so that there is an opportunity to test and grow inexperienced managers. Along with that is a required commitment that the senior team invest more time coaching folks multiple levels down in their organizations. At Opower, we are growing quickly, and this sort of approach is necessary as we scale up departments.
As part of a Blog you wrote about recruitment and hiring, you made a point of saying that recruiting is at least 50% on the Hiring Manager. Why do you think Hiring Manager’s do not realize this?
Hiring managers might fail to realize that it is their duty to be an equal partner with the recruiter for a number of reasons. Sometimes they aren’t used to being in a demanding hiring environment with high standards and big hiring targets where it is all hands on deck. Or they might not understand that the only way a recruiter will find their perfect candidate is through a process in which the hiring manager and the recruiter iterate through a candidate pool and focus in on what’s most important. Finally, recruiting is a lot like selling; some people just don’t have it in them.
As a recruiter, I am in a unique position in that I have learned about Healthcare IT through the eyes of vendors in the industry as opposed to direct interaction with the provider community. My clients are technology and service companies that sell some sort of automation to the Provider and Payer markets. Their charter is to streamline clinical and financial workflows and make healthcare cheaper to perform and more efficient resulting in improved outcomes.
Every day I hear that Healthcare is light-years behind other industries in the use and adoption of technology. However, I have concluded, as many have in this industry, that throwing technology and money at the problem doesn’t always work. Healthcare is in the midst of a monumental paradigm shift from “pay for service” to “pay for performance.” As a result, the business challenges are continuing to change on a daily basis. Also, keep in mind that clinicians are a unique breed, and they don’t think and operate like those in the broader business community. Mix those two elements together and you have one, enormous moving target. Healthcare can achieve the transformation it is looking for, but it is going to require a more cyclical diet of technology, policy change and consulting aimed at optimization of the purchased technology. This optimization will come in the form of better user adoption, smoothing out clinical workflow and process, normalization of data (so that BI & Analytics tools work properly) and major coaching around how to make better decisions through the use of the “actionable data” that all of this technology produces.
If we can achieve the proper “balanced diet” of all of the above, I am confident that HIT will change healthcare in a very valuable and meaningful way. I am consistently amazed by the ingenuity, creativity and foresight of the folks in our business and I think that the average patient/healthcare consumer in this country will enjoy a more positive experience, better health and eventually it won’t be quite as painful on the pocketbook.
In conclusion, I think the way to really change healthcare is to bite off manageable chunks of technology and make sure it gets digested and adopted by the end user. Only then will we see true value in the form of improved outcomes and reduced cost.
Mike Silverstein and Kasey Fahey of Direct Recruiters interview Vince Panozzo, Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, Strata Decision Technology
Vince Panozzo is the SVP and Chief Revenue Officer at Strata Decision Technology. Mike Silverstein is a Managing Partner and the Director of Healthcare IT at Direct Recruiters, Inc. Kasey Fahey is a Project Manager and Marketing Specialist at Direct Recruiters, Inc.
Tell us about yourself and the company.
I started my career at Strata Decision in 2003 and currently serve as Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer. As CRO, I lead sales and business development for Strata Decision and am responsible for expanding the company’s footprint with new and existing customers.
Prior to my role as CRO, I served in a client services leadership role, overseeing implementations at a number of the nation’s leading healthcare organizations including: Cleveland Clinic, Duke University Health System, New York Presbyterian, Orlando Health, Spectrum Health, Yale New Haven Health, Legacy Health, and Providence Health and Services amongst others. I continue to serve as a strategic advisor on the use of the Strata Decision systems for our clients.
Strata Decision Technology was founded over 17 years ago, based on the following ideas:
- Decisions drive healthcare…and better information can lead to better decisions.
- There is a need to focus on strategic decisions…as they have the most significant impact on both the organization and the population they serve.
- The right technology in the hands of the right people…can make a meaningful difference and change healthcare for the better.
- Our mission is to fulfill our triple aim of building great products, delivering a best in class client experience and growing our footprint.
Strata Decision Technology software has now been adopted by more than 1,000 healthcare organizations including: major academic medical centers, community hospitals, children’s hospitals and many of the largest and most influential healthcare systems in the U.S. One out of every five hospitals in the U.S. is using StrataJazz–meaning that we are trusted and deliver results. The technology is a single platform for Cost Accounting, Contract Modeling, Operating Budgeting, Capital Planning, Financial Planning, and Monthly Reporting.
What can hospitals and healthcare networks do to truly understand their costs?
With the transition to high deductible plans and patients taking on more of the financial burden, healthcare is now a consumer issue. Patients (a.k.a. buyers) want to know what their healthcare costs so they can make informed decisions. Historically, there was very little relationship between pricing and the cost of care delivery. In other words, prices were set independent of cost. Healthcare networks now need to understand cost so they can develop rational and visible prices for services. In order to fully understand their costs, health networks need to look at costs in a horizontal (episode, service line) fashion rather than in a vertical (departmental) way. Hospitals are implementing state-of-the art EHR systems, Decision Support technologies and ERPs with one of the major goals being to understand the true cost of care.
How do you retain top industry talent?
We have very high employee engagement at Strata Decision, which we are very proud of. There are a number of things we do to build buy-in and to retain our incredibly talented, passionate team members. One of the things that is often overlooked in keeping talent is doing something that matters every day. Ultimately, our team is helping their clients use technology to effectively allocate resources so they can drive margin to fuel their mission of delivering high-quality patient care. That is something that really energizes the team. Additionally, to make sure we are supporting our team, we also survey 100 percent of the company every quarter and the results are meticulously reviewed by our executive team. If we are falling short, we take action.
One of your influencers on LinkedIn is Toby Cosgrove, CEO & President at Cleveland Clinic. Why is he an influencer for you?
Dr. Cosgrove is an incredibly innovative thinker who gets me excited about what is possible in the healthcare industry. As we all know, healthcare is currently going through a major transformation. We need to have innovators like Dr. Cosgrove who will contribute their great ideas to guide us through this change. Other people that fall into this category are Dr. Atul Guwande at Harvard and Don Berwick, the former Administrator of CMS. Cleveland Clinic is one of Strata Decision’s great clients so it is exciting to hear how Dr. Cosgrove’s vision gets turned into action there.
Strata Decision Technology hosts an annual Strata Decision Summit. Tell us about the Summit and why it attracts so many leading healthcare organizations from across the country. What can we expect from the 2014 Summit?
The Strata Decision Summit has been so successful because our clients provide the content. All of the content is the product of our clients’ brilliance. Here is a great example of one of the presentations from last year’s event: http://www.stratadecision.com/physicans-finance-=-love. We are already working on some really exciting things for the 2014 Strata Decision Summit. I cannot tell you about the details yet, but a major theme will be taking waste out of the healthcare system.
What is the biggest challenge currently on your plate?
I spend a lot of time travelling across the country meeting with our clients and potential clients. The discussions I have with them are one of my great joys, as major innovations are taking place from coast to coast. Harnessing all these ideas and getting them back in front of our team to ensure we are taking action on them is the biggest challenge I currently face. This includes making sure that we are providing the right technology and services needed to support the current changes happening in the industry such as: population health, value based care, reimbursement changes and physician variation analysis.
“Well, I agree with Vince’s take on decisions being at the lifeblood of the enterprise. I would go further, though: data are not enough, and it is the value derived from data that make them truly meaningful. In the next few years analytics (population, patient, clinically-based, disease-centric) are where the need will be in order to improve outcomes. Not all of the data will be derived directly from the EHR—some will be taken directly from point-of-care and screened prior to EHR upload. Of highest import will be chronic afflictions like CHF, Diabetes, COPD as well as Fall Prevention and Detection. But, there is also a great need to address high-cost, high-mortality inpatient issues, such as Sepsis (Septicemia), ventilator acquired pneumonia (VAP), and others, including iatrogenic problems, that translate into prolonged patient misery, death, and very high costs.”
John Zaleski. Chief Informatics Officer, Nuvon, Inc.
“I think Vince captured the essence of the shortcomings of healthcare providers as they are facing sweeping changes in business modeling and culture. I agree completely that there exists a huge disconnect between the price of delivering care and the actual cost of care. Healthcare has normalized dysfunction to the point that actionable data analytics both in the clinical and business environments is foreign and only now emerging as a business sustainability requirement. The confluence of business systems and clinical systems is critical to accurately measure clinical outcomes and the costs associated with performance to benchmark standards.
My concern is that we do not have the juice in healthcare to tackle all the required changes to the “way we have done business” to adjust to the new paradigm. Certainly there is bound to be a big churn in the industry with many organizations failing. Good interview!”
Shawn McKenzie, President, CEO. Ascendian Healthcare Consulting, Inc.
“Interesting take, but some of the key issues on the question, “What can hospitals and healthcare networks do to truly understand their costs?” are missing. I’d add that both cost AND quality are key for payors and providers to truly understand their costs. As you know, each provider sets a contract with payors for the cost of services. However, these prices have little to do with the quality of the services rendered. For example, a MRI can cost $500 at one facility and $5000 at another. Both produce the exact same MRI. One is a big name practice, the other a mom and pop shop. The provider writes the order for the big name provider without considering how much it costs. The patient (unless they are paying more out-of-pocket for the MRI) goes along with the order, never looking at the cost. $4500 could be saved for the exact same MRI. It’s basically what Castlight Health is offering the market, price transparency. It affects both sides of the case equation, and it will effect patients (buyers) more as they assume more of the responsibility for their health care costs.”
Brian Bogie, Vice President, Marketing, HealthEdge
Steve Bock is the Managing Director of the Healthcare Solutions Group at CGI. Mike Silverstein is a Managing Partner and the Director of Healthcare IT at Direct Recruiters, Inc.
Tell me about yourself and the company.
I currently lead CGI’s Healthcare Solutions Group, a vertical business focused on selling and delivering solutions and services to Healthcare Providers. Our mission is to “improve the Health of Healthcare” by building and delivering world class products and services. Our Sovera solution was designed and built to automate workflow and manage unstructured content across the business functions of large health systems. Today Sovera is deployed to over 250 hospitals and used by over 200,000 professionals. We also offer complementary consulting, systems integration and business process outsourcing services. Our clients include some of the largest and most admired health systems across North America, and our recent acquisition of Logica expands our reach globally.
My career path to my current general management role and healthcare focus included several years in various Product Management and Product Strategy roles with McKesson Corporation. I like to say I was tossed into the deep end of the pool, where as VP, Product Management, I found myself surrounded by experienced physicians, nurses and other healthcare industry veterans -- so I had to learn quickly. My prior consulting and product development experience enabled me to do just that. I had the opportunity to work in both the payer and provider businesses of McKesson, which provided me with a unique perspective. In my time there, I managed a portfolio of software products at various stages in the product lifecycle from new product launch to sunset including McKesson’s flagship Physician Portal.
Prior to Product Management, my career followed a typical consulting track starting as a staff consultant with Andersen and progressing to higher levels of responsibility as a Principal leading a consulting business. My consulting experience included large scale enterprise software development and implementation projects to business process transformation and eventually building and leading high growth professional services organizations focused on enterprise software implementation with Hewlett-Packard, SAP and PeopleSoft.
I have an MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta and a Systems Design Engineering undergraduate degree from University of Waterloo, Canada.
What has made you personally successful in your healthcare career?
I attribute my success to my strong consulting roots, which equipped me with skills to learn quickly, ask good questions, think strategically but act tactfully and influence others as a change agent. I also was blessed to have many great mentors and managers over my career who took my under their wing to coach me and provide stretch opportunities to enable me to learn and grow. My experience building and implementing solutions to solve business problems in other industries is growing more and more relevant and valuable in healthcare today as we look for fresh unconventional ideas to solve today’s industry’s challenges. For a long time, healthcare was known as a “closed” industry that was very difficult to break into without prior experience. However, with the industry transformation going on now, healthcare players need and value new perspectives, creative solutions and best practices from other industries.
What is the biggest challenge on your plate right now?
The Health IT industry is going through major transformation, consolidation and change. This requires new skills, new experience and new solutions that simply don’t exist today. One the biggest challenges is simply keeping ahead of the curve to see where the market is going so we can continue to innovate new solution offerings to solve tomorrow’s challenges as well as today’s. This means attracting, building and retaining the right capabilities and the right capacity at the right time to capture the window of market opportunity. It’s a constant balance of hiring additional sales people to meet the market demand and develop the pipeline while adding product developers to accelerate product development with adding more consulting professionals to work with our clients… and of course doing all that while managing predictable and profitable growth. I could not imagine a more exciting industry to work in.
Please give us a recap of HIMSS and how has this annual event evolved over the years for CGI?
HIMSS’13 was bigger and better than ever this year, and New Orleans’ southern hospitality made it a great host city! On the expansive exhibit show floor and in education sessions, some of the hot topics included clinical and business analytics, managing Big Data and the managing unstructured content within health systems, improving patient access and preparing for the upcoming ICD-10 deadline. CGI’s broad and global capabilities include solutions and services in all these areas. Our healthcare business has experienced rapid growth and we are well positioned to have that continue. Our unique healthcare presence spans provider, payer, life sciences and state, local and federal government. We were very pleased with the traffic in our booth and the opportunity to connect with a large number of clients and prospects to share our many new offerings. As usual, the week of HIMSS resulted in sore feet, a robust list of leads to follow-up on and long list of to-dos. Time well spent!
What is your philosophy and/or methods with regards to retaining top talent?
Health IT skills are definitely in short supply and are a “hot commodity” in today’s competitive market place. CGI is able to attract, retain and inspire top talent based on the growing number of opportunities we have working with our clients and developing our market leading solution offerings. We offer unmatched flexibility to our employees, which we call “Members,” to support their professional and personal goals. We provide a number of tools and support for ongoing training and professional development including our CGI “Career Development Framework,” which articulates the competencies, experience and expectations needed in our Members to progress in the organization, hundreds of online training classes, a structured mentoring program and executive development program for top talent. I am thankful to have the opportunity to work with some of the brightest and most dedicated and skilled professionals in the industry.
What is the most important characteristic a sales person/sales leader needs to have to be successful?
Selling is definitely more of an art than a science, and a sales person’s success is as heavily influenced by the organization, the solutions being sold and sales support resources and processes as much as individual’s sales ability. Health IT is a tough industry to sell into, and there is a relatively small community of candidates who have the specific experience, domain knowledge and experience selling into a given market segment.
From a client’s perspective – making a purchase is an emotional decision. People buy from people they have a relationship with and trust. A Health IT purchase is a long-term partnership with the vendor – not a single transaction. Purchasers invest in a solution based on a promise that it solves their problem and eliminates their pain. When buying a solution, you are buying more than the features/functions provided today but also the vision and plan of what it will become. You are making a commitment to have a partnership with a company to realize that. Good sales people quickly uncover the client’s real and hidden needs, understand how the purchase decision is made and funded and then craft a solution that the buyer has both a personal and emotional connection with. Good sales people know their client, know the industry and know the solution being sold. They have the right mix of strategic ability and tactical sales execution to effectively develop the opportunity into a sale. Of course, perseverance and tenacity are also needed to bring the order home on time.
How do you build a client’s trust?
Trust is definitely something that is earned and built over time. It is based on demonstrating honesty and integrity in every interaction. It is the reward of consistently delivering high-value solutions that solve clients’ most critical business problem on time, within budget and with high quality. It requires a deep demonstration that you understand their industry, business and challenges - and more time spent listening than talking. Trust comes from transparency into each other’s needs and constraints and crafting win-win strategies. Today’s healthcare leaders are seeking fresh, creative and unconventional solutions to their business problems from a few trusted advisors. CGI is proud to serve as a trusted advisor to many of our nation’s leading health systems.
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Mike Silverstein, Managing Partner