Experts are Everywhere.
I can’t do it all by myself. I don’t know everything, so I depend on the great team that I have—a team that I can trust and that trusts me. We all depend on each other. It is important to remember to not only form relationships within the IT department, but to facilitate conversation with other units and departments as well. Ask what can we do to improve performance and drive efficiency for them. When faced with challenges, it is important to remember we are most likely not the first ones facing any particular challenge, so reaching out and working with others in the industry keeps us moving forward.
Set Your Staff Free.
I try not to micromanage. Everybody has a special skill set that makes them relevant. We encourage everybody to nurture that “special something.” I try to be very flexible, reward the team for jobs well done, recognize individual contributions, and one of the most important things is to have fun. We compare our team to a big family. We spend more time with each other than family and friends, so we’ve got to get along and enjoy what we do. The moment you stop enjoying coming to work, you’re with the wrong team or in the wrong line of business.
“When faced with challenges, it is important to remember we are most likely not the first ones facing any particular challenge, so reaching out and working with others in the industry keeps us moving forward.”
Informing Follows Function.
We do a lot of team-building activities and a lot of communication. It is part of my job to make sure everybody on the team knows why we are doing things and what is the value of doing these things. Communication, transparency, and discussing things as a team are extremely important.
Never Stop Learning.
Every day is an opportunity and there’s always a chance to learn. If you don’t continue to learn something new every day you’re going to start falling behind. Oftentimes, this means staying ahead of trends, especially when it comes to technology in a constantly changing field like health care. You must be able to see what is out there and to figure out if it really makes sense to bring it to your organization. That’s the bigger picture, but you can’t forget that even inside your own organization, there are always opportunities to learn. Do rounds, talk to people, understand the jobs and workflows of different departments, roles, and trades.
Find Technology that Fits.
There’s always going to be something newer and better out there. We don’t have to have the newest and the best, we just need to have what makes sense for our organization. Will it solve the problem? Will it bring value to the business? At some point you have to make a decision and go with it. Nothing is written in stone; we do a lot of rollouts on a trial basis, so we’ll do a pilot program somewhere with a small group of users and then if it makes sense, we deploy it through the rest of the hospital.
Aim for the Top.
No matter how much you like what you’re doing and how good of a leader you are, if you don’t have support from top management, it’s going to make your job extremely difficult. That can be very hard to earn—and your work does not stop once you establish that credibility and deliver results—but it makes your job much easier. For example, after a rather challenging and turbulent first year with North Cypress, we were able to turn things around, and in the last three years we had zero turnover in my department. We also haven’t had a single unexpected network outage in about two and a half years. It took a lot of back-end work that many may not understand or care about, but what they do care about is the stability and constant availability of the resources we provide. You show what you can deliver, stay consistent and keep delivering.