Lee Larocca once said, “In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people product, and profits.” This short interview will explain how critical communication is for a business to succeed in these three areas. As busy of a man Mr. Zak Dorsey is, he took a break from crunching calculations to provide some advice and tips for communication within business. Instead of working towards a balanced budget, he shows us how to be an all-around balanced employee for a business. Throughout this interview, Mr. Dorsey touches on the importance of being concise in emails and reports. Zak explains that business people are busy and want the answer ready and available. He also stresses that employees who can get along with employees and provide efficient work make a valuable asset for a business. While communicating in the office, employees must keep an upbeat attitude and respect one another. During this interview, readers will gain knowledge about how communication can form the best employee a company has to offer. With the experience Mr. Dorsey attains, the opportunity to become a Director of Business Operations presented itself. Enjoy this interview as Mr. Dorsey enlightens others on how to earn numerous opportunities to advance in a business like he did.
What is your professional history (include your timeline and roles)?
Zak Dorsey: “In November of 2005, I started at IU Health Managed Care as the Managed Care Revenue Analyst. In June of 2008 I became the Account Coordinator there. After a few years I moved to IU Health Transplant Institute where I was the Practice Administrator from November 2012 to March 2016. From there I moved into the position I currently hold. I am the Director of Business Operations at UAB Transplant Institute.”
What writing advice do you have for professional communicators?
Zak Dorsey: “Use good sentence structure. Avoid writing slang or using colloquialisms. Do not write as you would text. Be concise and avoid long, drawn out explanations. Easily identify the call to action- what actions you need the reader to take.”
What is your one pet peeve when it comes to professional writing?
Zak Dorsey: “Writing to someone without listing your contact information under your signature. Sometimes people want to reach out by phone and discuss things immediately. They don’t want to wait for you to read your email again.”
What kind of business reports do you read and/or compose regularly?
Zak Dorsey: “I write business plans for new programs. I develop service line financial reports that identify and explain trends in our financial position. I monitor our budget and provide explanations for any variance to budget.”
What are your writing suggestions to make those types of reports successful?
Zak Dorsey: “Anticipate what key information the reader believes is important, then add what you think is also helpful to illustrate your point.”
What speaking advice do you have for professional communicators?
Zak Dorsey: “Make eye contact and use body language to convey your point. Smile and put people at ease. Try to understand the point of view of the person you are talking with and use that to connect with them.”
Name one thing you wish you had known about business communication prior to your professional career.
Zak Dorsey: “Everything you write in a business setting is permanent, and all the readers may not understand all the details behind what you have written. Once something is out there with your name on it, anyone can read it later and judge your grammar, tone, and communication style. Be prepared to write every email or communication as if it were going directly to the CEO of the company.”
After assessing the Burning Glass list of Baseline Skills (2016), which skills not in the top 5 would you move into the top 5… and why?
“Self-Starter. A manager depends on their employees to take action without having to constantly follow-up with the employee. It’s crucial to take a project as far as possible without being fearful of making mistakes. Always give it 100%. Nobody is perfect, and no one expects that from you.”
“Listener. Being a good listener is a skill. Managers like to know you are engaged, that you take notes, and do not have to be told multiple times what to do.”
“Problem solving. Managers have a lot of “fires” to put out daily that distract them from the larger problems they are trying to solve. A Manager deeply values an employee that can take brief directions, analyze the problem, and come up with a solution. This will help you go further and inherit more responsibility.”
“Positive Disposition. After your work in a field for a while, you will come across many personalities and skill levels. I do not care how smart you are, nobody wants to deal with a negative person in a business setting because it is always counterproductive. Negativity makes everyone’s jobs even more difficult because the negativity just adds stress to an already difficult situation. Be positive, upbeat, and happy most of the time. Everyone has a bad day now and then, but always try to keep an upbeat attitude and inspire others.”
“Lastly, presentation skills. If you prepare good work, be prepared to tell everyone about it. A person who can stand up in front of the group and articulate their work product is always impressive. This will have people looking at you as a leader, and it will instill confidence in your manager that they hired the right person.”
What team skills do you feel your professionals need the most?
Zak Dorsey: “Understand that you don’t get 100% of the things you want. Try for a win-win situation, not an all-or-nothing. Be positive and upbeat. Bring well thought ideas that spark conversation. Learn how to deal with very strong personalities that you may disagree with. Try not to form cliques at work that isolate co-workers. Try not to bring your personal life into the business setting. A little bit of sharing is okay but don’t make it a point to always talk about personal stuff at work. It’s a distraction. Be humble and don’t act like you know everything about every situation. Let others participate.”
As you can comprehend, Zak Dorsey has plenty of experience as a business professional. Most of his answers reflect from his own experiences in the business field. Zak mentioned twice to keep an upbeat and positive attitude as much as possible when working with others, indicating this is an important attribute. He emphasizes that the ideal employee is one who works hard to get the job done. With effort and determination, hard work can go a long way. One interesting comment he included was the idea of thinking about the other person while communicating. Employees should consider the opposing point of view and what they want to hear. Think about making them feel at ease and comfortable. When considering the other individual’s viewpoint, making a connection with them will become easier. Connections and relationships make workflow smoother. Zak points out that exceptional work in business stands out and is what employers look for. This is a great point to keep in mind and hold yourself accountable to when crafting a simple presentation, report, or email.
Zak Dorsey Biography
Zak Dorsey currently lives in Alabama, where he resides with his wife Zoe Dorsey, and two young boys. He grew up in Newburgh, Indiana, where he received an education at Castle and later finished at North High School. Zak attended Indiana University-Bloomington, graduating in 2003 with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Administration. He then furthered his education at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis where he earned a Master’s degree in Health Administration. Here, he received the nomination for the “Most Outstanding Student Award.” Zak also received a Certificate of Healthcare Leadership from Indiana University School of Medicine in 2014.
Zak started as a Revenue Analyst at IU Managed Care. Working in this position for almost three years, Zak received a great deal of experience preparing him for future roles in business. His entry job consisted of modeling, analyzing, and reporting performance on Transplant Network Contracts. He provided projections and analysis for budgets and negotiations. Along with many other tasks, Zak also performed financial modeling, impact analysis, and net income projections.
In his next position, Zak performed similar skills but with more of a leadership position and responsibility. He held the position as a Coordinator for Managed Care Speciality Contracts for about four and a half years. He again performs analytics and financial models for negotiations and budgets. In this position, he recovered over $2 million in lost reimbursement. He managed relationships between nurses, physicians, and patients to make the revenue cycles more efficient and productive. In doing this, he experienced a great deal of business communication.
As Administrator for the IU Transplant Institute, Zak had many responsibilities. He was in charge of overseeing the hospital budget and Physician Funds Flow for Organ Transplant and Liver Oncology Programs. He developed business plans for new technology or trials. He was responsible for planning monthly meetings for Transplant Service Line transformation. Zak was in charge of the Transplant Surgery Division where he analyzed leadership, labor management, and financial performance.
Currently, Zak is the Director of Business Operations at the UAB Comprehensive Transplant Institute. Here, he oversees the Transplant Operating budget, creates financial reports for the Transplant Service Line leadership, develops business plans for up and coming programs, and manages Service Line contracts. Additionally, he helps with planning, marketing, and outreach programs for the company. Zak analyzed Ad Hoc to help with decision making and he also manages a team of Transplant Financial Coordinators.
Zak Dorsey’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zdorsey
Zak Dorsey’s- UAB’s Health Transplant Institute website: https://acheal.org/alabama-association-healthcare-executives-leadership/
Ali Spahn is a Junior at the University of Southern Indiana where she studies Accounting. She pursues a minor in Mathematics. Ali is a part of the Delta Zeta Sorority where she holds the Intramural chair. She enjoys playing for the Club Volleyball team on campus and coaching high school freshman volleyball. She plans to become an Accountant after graduating in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree. Click here for her Indeed resume.