Andy Lehman, SVP & CIO, Kettering Health Network
1. What was your first job?
Had my own lawn mowing service.
2. Did you always want to work in IT?
I was a chemistry major in college. My senior year I took a class in programming as an elective. It opened my eyes to what could be done with software. From that point forward I knew IT held huge possibilities. It’s also a good reminder for the newly minted college graduates that what you studied in college is simply a starting point. You picked a major, not a career. In some cases folks will stay in a career that has a line of sight to their major in college. However, that’s not always the case. I’m a case in point for the latter.
3. What business or technology initiatives will be most significant in driving IT investments in your organization in the coming year?
Healthcare is a dynamic industry with tremendous pressure to lower costs and improve quality. Healthcare’s move towards value is driving large investments in IT.
4. What does good culture fit look like in your organization? How do you cultivate it?
Within KHN’s IS division, our culture has been intentionally defined. We serve those who serve. Our stakeholders are physicians, nurses, clinical technicians, administrators of hospitals, and of course, guests of Kettering Health Network, which includes patients and their families. A good cultural fit is an individual who serves humbly, seeks wisdom, and builds trust. We cultivate this by clarifying our culture across the organization and then supporting it through the systems we have in place. Systems such as hiring, performance management, and letting people go reinforce the culture.
5. What’s the best career advice you ever received?
I attend a Bible study every Thursday morning and have been doing so for years. It’s been the same group of guys. We have helped one another through difficult times and celebrated good times. They have influenced me in ways that I cannot begin to describe. The men in this group have been very successful in business. However, it’s not success that fuels them. They have taught me the importance of “significance over success.”
6. What advice would you give to aspiring IT leaders?
It’s not about being the best technical person in the room. The key differentiator is leadership. Study leadership and apply the teachings as if you were learning a new IT skill and applying it. Nothing happens in organizations without leaders. They move the organization from point A to point B. If you are aspiring to be an IT leader, then learn to lead. Some have more natural talent, but everyone can improve through study and application.