Five things I wish I knew before I started: Andrea Tait

Andrea Tait, Vice President of Client Value

In our new series, we ask our key thought leaders to share a more personal perspective on their career journey and current position.

Andrea Tait is our Vice President of Client Value. Working in a range of leadership roles in the healthcare vertical, she has approximately 17 years of healthcare related experience. Based in Ontario, Canada, she is passionate about supporting the use of technology to deliver enhanced value to healthcare providers and patients.

Andrea is motivated by dedicated advocacy for value-based healthcare and a commitment to leveraging her skills and experience in digital health to improve systems for patients, clinicians and taxpayers.

Can you share with us five things you wish you knew before you started out?

Be who you are
My natural inclination has always been to be persistent; I often call it being “scrappy.” It is in my DNA to work hard at finding a way to do things when others may determine them to be unlikely or impossible. I controlled this impulse in myself for a long time, convinced that I was pushing too hard, overly optimistic, or not realistic enough. As I look back, it’s a quality that has served me well and, more importantly, it’s authentically who I am. As my grandfather told me, be who you are; it’s easier, and you will be happier.

Believe in yourself
I agree with my colleague, Koren Cryer, who pointed out that women are particularly likely to suffer from ‘imposter syndrome’. I, too often, have felt like a fraud. I have been guilty of believing that my successes were based on luck or other things. I wish I had realised earlier in my career that I was making my own luck and that my skills and work were the primary contributors to my success.

Be authentic and honest
I have realised that sharing my thinking, which includes my doubts, reasoning and the things I’m not sure about, strengthens my leadership skills and the performance of those who work with me. I have led teams working on critical deliverables with aggressive timelines when one might think that the best leadership would be clear, definitive direction. Leaving space for team members to have input to and question or challenge decisions makes for better decisions, a better team dynamic and long term success.

Don’t always talk first
An executive coach of mine taught me the value being the last one to speak, especially as a leader. This leaves space for other team members to formulate ideas, work through challenges and evaluate options without the weight of my leadership opinion. This approach helps me be a leader who develops other leaders.

Don’t be afraid of decision making
Often, in their quest to not make a mistake, leaders delay making decisions for too long. This creates a culture that is slower to innovate and slower to deliver. Instead, make a decision, be clear on how you will evaluate that decision on an ongoing basis, and if the decision is a mistake, acknowledge it and change course. This will create a culture that cheers innovation and celebrates mistakes as opportunities to learn.


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