Leadership Lessons from Dr. John Hoag: Focus on the Industry

When I was ready to graduate from Ohio University in the summer of 2008, I knew I would be starting my full-time internship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital immediately following graduation. My degree had focused quite a bit on theory and I was worried that I was a bit unprepared when it came to practical technical skills. I debated which technical certificate to study for in the few months before I started at my internship. I knew I had to learn something but I couldn’t quite figure out what.

My professor, Dr. John Hoag, asked a few questions related to my predicament. His advice was for me to actually spending my time learning about health care and hospitals as opposed to just focusing on technology. Dr. Hoag’s advice still holds true today. Technology constantly changes. By focusing on your industry, you can help build practical solutions and serve as a business partner as opposed to simply being a technologist.

I’m currently a member of the most talented IT department that I have ever been a part of. When I think about our most valuable employees, they often have the most institutional knowledge about our company and industry. This has enabled these team members embrace technical change while still keeping a focus on the organizational mission/vision.

Since stepping into a leadership role, I have found it a bit overwhelming to see the technology I used to support rapidly change before my eyes. I’ve deliberately chosen to keep my knowledge of these changes at the surface level and focus on expanding my knowledge about our organization and the energy industry. I hope that this will help empower our team members to focus on technology execution while I work to set the tone for our overall strategy.

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