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Job Titles - Round 2

July 31, 2011
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To many, their title defines who they are, to others, titles mean nothing

Do job title’s matter? We’ve covered this topic before. It depends on who you talk to. To many, their title conveys and defines who they are and what they have achieved in their career. In business, many argue that titles help employees understand who is in charge of what areas and who they need to go to for help, guidance and their own roadmap of what assignments they need to be working on. In general many healthcare IT organizations in different parts of the country have they own set of titles - sometimes less in stature to some, even though the responsibilities are identical. I say, get over it. No big deal.

To others, titles mean nothing. They could care less. Give me a great job, a way to career growth and new skill development and working in a culture where they can thrive in and you can give them any title you want! They are more interested in living in the now, learning more and working for a great organization. I get that and totally understand their point of view. Many of those that fall into this camp are more interested in quality of life and being happy and decided long ago to check their ego at the door.

I’m not sure there is a right answer or a wrong answer to the title question as we have seen it all – especially over the last few years. Larger organizations have title and salary bands that are stringent and rigid while smaller organizations use title to recognize performance in lieu of higher compensation. I call that the "title wave".

Recently I’ve seen a CIO title at the beginning of a search assignment morph to a director level title and in the end it all made sense to everyone involved. You have to be comfortable with "who you are" and in the "what you accomplish" and in the "value you create". If you make your mark in any organization I doubt very seriously that anyone will say "He or she did a great job, knocked the cover off the ball - but they were only a Director". Nope that’s not the way it works. Do your job and do it well and you will always be in demand in the HCIT market. Regardless of your title…



Tim, Great advice as always.

There's also another both a visionary as well as lunacy element to titles. For example, organizations that are thinking broadly about care coordination might use the title, Chief Health Information Officer, rather than CMIO (Medical). That's nice as well as communicates a cultural vision.

Regarding the lunacy element, I still have a problem with any title that has words that just don't sound professional, like Evangelist ( That might be a legitimate part of the role responsibility. It just seems out of place in a job title.

What do you think?

Joe and Frank: I took some time off from HCIT, search and (obviously) from this blog! Both great points and very similar. Titles need to convey what someone does, provide the organization and the market they face with a roadmap on who is in charge (of whatever they do)! I'm always amazed at organizations that dole out titles that either don't matter or become confusing to the person on the other end!

The one that gets me is 'Chief' ...when did hospitals become indian reservations? Why does one reservation need so many chiefs? Can you really tell the chiefs from the indians? Personnaly I think it's an insult to native americans. I'd prefer they change it to Popes and cardinals and bishops, etc.