In my recent endeavors, I have come across two starkly different organizations. One whose core business is building an end to end hospital information system from scratch (no easy task) and the other an amazingly young RCM services company that has quadrupled in size way too fast.
The first company (let’s call it the Tech company) had over 150 of the countries’ most talented IT professionals latest equipment, a fancy office, and was recruiting even more staff. They had missed the product go live date more than 3 times but it was another day in office for everyone including the CEO. The CEO came from IT networking and was now tasked with building one of the toughest software products in the healthcare space – a HIS. The organization had a bold vision to build a AI enabled RCM application which got my heart pounding. For me it was a dream come true, but these were signs of things not getting delivered on time.
I could not hold my curiosity. I spoke to the architect and leads in Business Analysis and development. There was one thing that stood out. All the marching orders came from the CEO. The architect and the best minds in the team who had better solutions were not given the opportunity to contribute their ideas. As a result, everyone cocooned into their own nest waiting for their task of the day. What a shame. This company could have delivered an impressive prototype in half the time if the CEO had just listened and collaborated on the problems with the best minds (which he already had)
It was no surprise the client had given them an ultimatum. 3 years was enough waiting time for any client and the client invested and brought in companies like GE to oversee the delivery. For me, it was heart-wrenching to watch what was happening to all those talented people. It was time for me to move on.
I call this heroic leadership. The CEO wanted to be the know it all and be it all but grossly undermined the efforts of building a product as diverse and complex as a Hospital Information System. This is unfortunately a company that badly needs change management and unfortunately starting from the top. It is too late to coach the CEO. He is way too much in the thick of thin things that any honest answer from him would just lead him to the door. So he had to stand his ground prove his strategy without knowing that he was only being more and more difficult to deliver the results expected. So what do you do with CEO who does not accept his shortcomings and doesn’t want to let anyone else take over?
This is no challenge for seasoned veterans in the world of investments. incapacity is more than sufficient grounds to oust a CEO. Of course there will be a hefty severance package the investors cannot shy away from. But in business there are times you have to decide what is lesser of evil.
I will provide a contrasting example of the second company in my next publication.