Beebe masters crafting the team

Creating the culture
By Erin McCann
02:50 AM

Mike Maksymow recalls one of his first team meetings after taking the reins as CIO at Beebe. When the meeting first kicked off, he watched a couple individuals start to leave the room. Turns out, they were contractors and didn't see themselves as part of the official staff. Maksymow asked them to come back and join their team.

"Let me make this clear: I don't care if you get paid in W2 or 1099, you're on this team," he said. And that kind of attitude of inclusion has been integral to establishing relationships built on collaboration, transparency and cohesiveness, he said.

Back when Maksymow first came to Beebe about two and a half years ago, the teams were very siloed. He remembers some members of the IT team didn't even talk to each other. That was one of his biggest goals at Beebe: breaking down those barriers.

And Maksymow hardly thinks it should be limited to inside the walls of the organization. He makes it a point to communicate regularly with a neighboring competing hospital. He and selected leadership talk to the outside hospital's CIO and others a few times a month.

"Others have the same challenges we have, and instead of having each one of us work on it ourselves, it gives us opportunities to share ideas," Maksymow explained.

There are also other components that contribute to Beebe's IT team culture.

When staff meetings come around, for instance, Maksymow likes to mix it up. Some days, "I'll bring coffee and bagels, and we'll go meet on the beach," he said, "and start our day there."

They also have an IT celebration event, a potluck of sorts, where they give the team – yes, that includes contractors – a chance to meet and at a different level. "We work so hard together, it's important that we work well together."

When asked how Maksymow and his team do the hiring process, he answered: Yes, experience is important. "But I focus more on the team fit. They have to fit on this team," he said. "I can't afford to have one person have a bigger ego than the rest of the team together."

And once you're in, they want their folks to continue to grow. As Maksymow sees it, a budget for staff education and conferences is key. "We're making large investments in technology. If we don't continue to make gains…and support them, we've really wasted our investment," he added. "It's important that we put money back into our education and development, so that our team can be the best at their craft."


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