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7 Questions on Leadership with Mudasser Zaheer

Name: Mudasser Zaheer

Title: CIO

Oranisation: The US Oncology Network @ McKesson

Mudasser Zaheer, or Maz, is the Chief Information Officer at The US Oncology Network, a community-based oncology healthcare provider. His teams support 2,000+ Oncology providers and 4 million patient visits across 600+ US sites.

Maz's expertise spans strategy, development, and cross-functional technology delivery, having launched new services, products, and managed mergers and acquisitions. Before McKesson, he led Cloud Transformation at DXC and held leadership roles at Hewlett-Packard.

Outside work, Maz mentors entrepreneurs, sits on the board of Lubyc, a NextGen Social platform, and enjoys robotics and art festivals with his family. He holds an MBA from Harvard and a BBA in Management Information Systems from the C. T. Bauer College of Business.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Mudasser's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Conflict is a natural part of any organization, and leaders are responsible for managing it effectively. This can be challenging, especially when the conflict is between people with strong emotions or opposing viewpoints.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

My journey into leadership began in the field of software engineering, where my inherent passion for entrepreneurship and leadership was evident from the start. While working in software engineering during the day, I embarked on a dual journey at night by partnering with and leading two successful startups, both of which were eventually sold. My employer recognized my entrepreneurial drive and entrusted me with leading a startup they funded. This venture evolved into Snowflake Mobile, a groundbreaking operating system-agnostic Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for mobile developers. It marked my first foray into a Vice President role with profit and loss (P&L) responsibilities. Subsequently, I transitioned to Hewlett-Packard, where I continued to nurture my entrepreneurial spirit. I divided my time between Houston and Europe, supporting HP in building a competitive cloud offering and achieving the goal of becoming the largest contributor to the OpenStack cloud Project in the world.

Following Hewlett-Packard's transformation into smaller, more focused organizations, I carried my passion for leadership and entrepreneurship to a spinoff called DXC Technology, where I led their cloud business unit. Eventually, I recognized the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy and enthusiastically embraced the chance to lead technology for the world's largest cancer care organization.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I structure my day into four separate parts: 1) a morning workout, 2) focused work that extends through breakfast and lunch at my desk, typically until 6 or 7 pm, 3) a dinner interlude during which I enjoy my sole daily cup of a hot drink, and lastly, 4) I wrap up my day through multitasking, which mainly involves responding to emails or going through unread messages, all the while sharing this time with my spouse while watching TV.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

One enduring leadership lesson that continuously resonates with me is the profound awareness that my team closely observes and interprets my every action and word.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

"The Phoenix Project" by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford had a profound influence on my leadership approach. It served as a crash course in highlighting that even the best intentions, when not aligned with a clear business impact, can result in unintended negative consequences. This experience reinforced my conviction that the most effective IT initiatives are those that directly contribute to business outcomes and are championed by the business side rather than being solely IT-driven.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

The most important advice for young leaders is to swiftly discern what truly inspires them and then concentrate their career efforts on excelling in that area. Focus is key. In my case, aspiring to be a CIO, I embarked on this path after five years in my career, maintaining a dedicated and focused approach.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

A few years ago, my father received a prostate cancer diagnosis, and I vividly recall the frustrating experience of making numerous calls to cancer centers, only to be met with voicemail. This experience ignited a determination in me to revolutionize the new patient experience, a mission I later brought to The US Oncology Network. I drew upon this memory to rally support for transforming the new patient experience within our organization. It's a journey that culminated in the launch of a market leading Patient Engagement platform, just 18 months after I assumed the role of CIO.

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