New Job, Big Changes Ahead!

Hi Everyone,

For those who have been following my blog and my journey up the career ladder, wanted to let you all know what has been happening.  There are big changes in store, as late last week I accepted a position in Naples, FL.  I will be transitioning there over the next few weeks and am somewhat overwhelmed with all there is to do to prepare.

While not yet a CIO role, this is a major advancement in my career and a big step up in responsibility.  I will daily face big challenges and intense demands.  The move is also back into Healthcare, where I feel most comfortable, though not in a healthcare facility directly.

I’m sure I will be posting more in the near future as time permits, providing as much information as I can to help those who are on this journey with me, seeking top level leadership in IT in their long term careers.

Thank you to all of you who have supported me, pushed me and encouraged me to reach for the stars, while I’m not quite there yet, this is a major advancement towards them!

Excited, a bit nervous and very, very hectic for the next few weeks…   Ken

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It is Tax Day, and some awoke to think h*** froze over

Ah, spring… that lovely time of year when the crocuses (spelling?) and daffodils start poking their pretty heads up out of the ground.  The yards are cleaned up, the cars finally get a good thorough detailing and waxing and all seems right with the world.  The weather clears, sunlight shines and 70 degrees feels like it never has before (since last spring).

The inspiration is palpable… everyone seems happier… but wait… what is that looming?  What is that fearful trembling felt by some?  Tax Day!  And of course, in Ohio, those who were fearful of today awoke to think that hell froze over.  Last night our temperature plummeted 40 degrees and snow developed, covering the ground and bringing us right back to where we were two months ago… even the daffodils looked full of trepidation this morning.

But never fear, being married to a bookkeeper/accountant means your taxes are done and filed, usually before the end of January… your returns are safe and snug, your liabilities resolved and spring is still wonderful… especially when you’re close to an offer on a new job!

Hope to give you all details soon… enjoy the bleh outside today, it will get better soon!

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Automated can mean Frustrated

As those of you who visit this site regularly know, I periodically update my resume online and post it to career boards (ok, you might not know that but could assume it).  I did so again a few days ago.  As expected, within three days I received emails from an automated system for an insurance company I won’t name here, from three different regional managers, all who supposedly cover the same region.

I don’t know if this is done by a ‘bot’ as it would appear to be, but these letters are generic, offer the opportunity to become a sales agent for the insurance firm and in essence, have nothing to do with your posting.  I have no interest in being an insurance agent and there is nothing in my resume or work history that would assume otherwise.  The word ‘sales’ doesn’t even appear.  So these letters have no connection with me and little chance of success.

What they do succeed at is lowering my opinion of the company that utilizes them.  I’ve taken now to replying to them so they know of my frustration, but this isn’t the first time.  I can guarantee also that I’ll receive at least two more in the next week.  This leads to frustration as one keeps receiving this unwarranted email… though I understand the frustration is minimal as I just hit ‘delete’ immediately… much as you might do with the notice of this post.

Yet it really lowers my opinion of the HR department at this organization.  The fact that they received a notice that I updated my resume (as I assume thousands do every day) and their search program is so minimal as to only pull name and email address and send me a form letter.  Why would they assume this will help their companies reputation?

This must be an effective means of them receiving applicants though, or they wouldn’t do it, would they?  I know the cost is likely minimal to them.  And if they receive a certain number of applications it is probably how they justify the expense… yet do they realize the impact it is having on their potential customers?

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How Do You Inspire?

Yesterday, during an interview, I was asked  a question I am surprised I haven’t been asked before.

The question was:  “How do you inspire your team?”

Based upon the track the questions had been on, this one caught me a bit off guard and I think I could have answered it much more effectively, yet it got me thinking.  During the long drive home I thought and thought and realized I may need some work in the ‘inspiring employees’ arena.

My teams that I have built in the past are often filled with members with great drive.  Being in IT, especially coming from a networking background, many of us in this field are self-driven.  We strive to achieve new understanding of systems, strive for new degrees and for new certifications… many of us not needing a lot of outside inspiration.

Some of the organizations I have worked for have done a good job of inspiring their employees.  This is often done through missions or goals that are being pushed by senior leadership and each department working to fulfill their part of it.

But how do I inspire my team?  (Some of this was in the answer I provided, yet some came from further reflection)

  • Transparency:  By doing things the right way, ethically and focused on results that help the companies mission, your team will see that you are leading by example.  Keep team members involved in project meetings, discuss company announcements with them quickly and clearly and always keep an open ear to the group.
  • Problems, not profits: Focus on the goals for the department during meetings and planning sessions… give the team a sense of accomplishment by completing goals that impact the business (or projects that work towards those goals).  I think everyone who works wants a sense of accomplishment and wants to see their projects matter.
  • Listening: No idea is too far fetched… hold brainstorming sessions with team members to get their output, value their ideas and discuss them with the group… with no derision or off hand dismissal until better alternatives are found
  • Own the project: Get team members cross trained and involved in projects outside their comfort zone.  This helps them see their possibilities and their capabilities clearer.. this can be difficult to get the right mix, but stretching your team will help with cohesion (knowing what the others do) and innovation (ideas from outside a specialty brought in)…

So those were things I was thinking of during my long drive home… I wish I had articulated them a bit better during the interview, but hopefully I achieved getting my point across.

Which brings us to the real question… how do you inspire your team?



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Spring is Here… on the calendar at least!

Spring has arrived (ok, I’m a few days late) on the Calendar, I awoke this morning full of promise and listening to the birds sing… looking out the window all I see is snow.

I am beginning to dislike that little (ok, HUGE) groundhog named Phil.  He is no longer on my friends list.  As the lady in the ESurance commercial says “I Unfriend You”.

Today is the start of me being re-energized for finding a new position though, so Spring is here in that regard.  I will be growing my LinkedIn network, posting to job opportunities I find interesting and looking for 3-5 companies I really find of great interest to work for.  Once I locate those companies I will begin an empassioned drive to to pursue opportunities there…

I had met a few months back with the CIO of my University, who said this is how he approached his job search.  He picked out 3 companies he wanted to badly work for, then pursued them relentlessly, even taking a lower level job at the final choice, just to get in the door towards the position he wanted.

I don’t have my companies in mind yet, but I’ll be looking.  I will also continue my work to grow my network, expand my job searches and pursue interesting opportunities that pop up along the way.  Care to join me in this spring time frolic of job hunting excellence?

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Can we just start this week over?

Look, I know it is Monday.

But really, this is a big couple of days for me… huge presentation at work today, certification exam tomorrow, travel on Wednesday for work… and why did the furnace have to go out yesterday?

Really?  I didn’t need it… but so far, am working from home and listening to the furnace guy tinker… hopefully this isn’t too expensive… and doesn’t take too long.


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Healthcare IT Infrastructure Director (in OH) Candidate Profile

A little feature on myself from Stephen Van Vreede… Thanks Stephen!

ITtechExec: Protecting Tech Careers Since 2001

IT Operations/Infrastructure Leader combines 15 years of network engineering with MBA/ITIL Certification:

  • Designing innovative IT solutions using LEAN process improvement that better enable business operations
  • Driving cost savings using technology
  • Helping lead the business through strategic transformation
  • Leading the integration of HIS, PACS, and other core technologies
  • Coordinating the transition to a virtualized infrastructure environment

IT Service Delivery Resume

Want to know more?

For the full resume or in an introduction to the client highlighted here, contact Stephen at directly.

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