A rapidly expanding pediatric hospital that specializes in world class surgery and research in service of children contacted 6 Team Conditions to support the transition of a new Chief Information Officer and the relaunch of the IT Leadership team. The leadership team oversees more than 500 professionals. Information technology impacts all aspects of the hospital system from patient records, to identity and access management, to scheduling systems, to advanced robotics, to surgery rooms and more.
The team leader was the first female CIO in the hospital and also the first African-American CIO. The hospital saw the team leader as a rising star and wanted her to transition successfully into her new role. Failed leader transitions are a major risk in organizations yet this hospital system fortunately invested proactively to support success by securing an executive coach to work with the CIO and also a 6 Conditions team coach to coach the team. The team coach was signed for a 6 month cycle of coaching which was extended an additional 3 months for a total of nine months.
The leadership team consisted of the CIO and 6 additional leaders each leading their own team in turn. The team was still in the forming stage and was more of a group working in a siloed manner than as an interdependent enterprise-focused leadership team. The team met weekly and had a tight agenda with 5-7 minutes of updates from each team member. The team was generally supportive of the CIO, though she had been a peer and was younger than a number of the team’s members. The CIO’s “honeymoon” period was ending and she needed to quickly build trust with the team, respect for her authority and to align them to lead a transformation agenda in support of the organization’s growth trajectory.
Action and Results
The 6 Conditions team coach engaged the team over 9 months in a series of coaching sessions that varied from 1 hour to 3 hours roughly every 6 weeks. The team participated in a 1-day team formation and launch retreat at the beginning of the process. All sessions were in person for the first 6 months and then virtually following the onset of the pandemic. 1-to-1 coaching sessions were also provided throughout the process for the CIO. Following are before and after snapshots of the team’s progress over the course of the 9 months on the Team Diagnostic Survey:
Improvement was observed in almost all elements of the 6 Conditions model with performance improving by over 50%. Some highlights from the process were:
- Shift from siloed group to an enterprise-oriented leadership team
- Adoption of visual management (Kaban) for overseeing the strategic work of the leadership team and each individual leader’s team
- Increased trust amongst team members as well as respect for the team leader
- Effective leadership of IT function during the pandemic
- Promotion of the Deputy CIO to the Chief Diversity Officer role in the hospital during the team coaching engagement
- Promotion of the CIO to COO role of the hospital (1 year after the team coaching engagement ended)