Startup culture equals teamwork, not plush chairs or ping pong tables

Tech startups often make a big deal about company culture, which somehow equates to ping pong tables, Herman Miller chairs and Friday afternoon beer. What I have experienced in my first job with a healthcare technology startup, is that the way we treat each other and the energy and expectations we each bring to work, are in fact the true measures of company culture.

Understanding each other’s strengths, skills (or even lack of skill) and roles contributes to our ability to function as a team. Together, we can meet company goals and customer needs, and of course have fun along the way.

When we recently spent a holiday volunteer day together at the Wake County Salvation Army, we should not have been surprised that we carried that same team culture with us into that very different setting.

We spent hours filling stockings and sorting clothing for each child. It was an amazing morning, with a wide range of people from different organizations working together to help families in need.

As we walked out to the parking lot, we laughed at how each of us seemed to have automatically jumped into our normal team role. Without thinking twice, we actually expected each other to contribute in our own unique and customary ways. With expectations already set and a shared energy to get to work, we were immediately functioning as a team.

It played out like this. The account managers jumped right into the sorting of stockings and clothes, smiling and talking to all the new friends. Our CTO first had questions about the process and objectives that needed to be answered so that we could systematically achieve the goal. Our marketing team worked eagerly but had to stop frequently for that perfect photo shot. Our CEO kept us all bound together, checked in with Salvation Army leaders and offered assistance where needed.

It was a fun day that was served as a great reminder of why working at MD Interconnect is so rewarding. We value each other. We trust one another and we expect each other to show up. We work together to dive into any project and complete it with excellence.

We are proud of the collaborative, team-oriented approach we take with our customers as well. We work closely with them to understand their needs in detail including the roles each of them play, and bring the power of our diverse team to bear on their behalf.

Our solutions are creative and impactful because each of us brings different backgrounds, experiences and skills to the table.

So, who needs a ping pong table? Friday afternoon beer, on the other hand – well we may have to rethink that one!

Avoiding the best of breed vs best in suite technology trap

Have you ever heard your neighborhood barista ask, “would you like your coffee to be hot OR taste good”? Of course not! There is no sense spending the time in line or spending your money if the coffee is not both hot and good.

Unlike your neighborhood barista, many health systems are asking an “either-or “question when it comes to new technology - “do we go to a new vendor for full functionality or use a limited add-on offered by a current vendor?”

CIOs and CTOs have struggled with this same question for years. They often follow a well practiced analysis of best of breed vs best in suite (in this case probably your current system) by weighing the benefits and costs associated with implementation, integrations, security, networking complexity, user training, duplication of data and processes, timing of upgrades, customizations, flexibility of vendors, user- interfaces, and more.

While this approach may seem “tried and true” it can actually lead to a terrible waste of time and money. The best technology choice will only be found if you start with a entirely different question. Are you going to mandate the use of this technology or give users a choice?

If choice is permitted, then your evaluation process needs to start with user adoption in mind. In that case, here are some criteria to consider:

  • Ease of use- Can people easily understand purpose and use of system?
  • Ease of access- Can people easily find system and log on and off without trouble?
  • Clinical impact - Does using this system improve user ability to accomplish clinical goals?
  • System Support- Is system support uniquely attuned to the medical environment in terminology and speed?
  • System Flexibility- can the system be easily configured to meet unique needs of various service areas?

If you start by defining a platform or tool that your users will actually choose to use before thinking about vendor selection, you are more likely to see a better return on that technology investment in addition to higher user adoption and satisfaction.

If you would like to learn more about our philosophy on technology solution, or talk to one of our customers about their selection process, let us know.