Lessons From the Mayo Clinic

I recently spent a few days at Mayo Clinic. While I wish my visit was under different circumstances, I came to appreciate their operations and learned quite a few lessons that could apply to most companies. Recognized by many to be the best in the world in their industry, you don’t need another opinion after visiting Mayo Clinic. Their reputation is the envy of all companies which many of us strive to emulate.

It’s common for companies to learn from their respective industry leaders. In our case at Marco, that includes companies such as Microsoft, HP, Cisco and IBM.

I’ve always known that Mayo Clinic is what good looks like in healthcare, but during my recent visit with a family member, I discovered that Mayo also is what good looks like in business. Here are just a few of the observations I made during my visit:

1. The first contact can do more than set the tone.
The first contact at Mayo focuses on coordination and setting expectations. We did not talk about why we were there as much as the process and how we would spend our time there. It felt very personal and immediately gave me the feeling that we were in the right place. We are dealing with completely different issues at Marco, but I hope we also bring a high level of comfort and personal attention during our initial contacts.

2. Specialization breeds confidence.
We’ve spent a great deal of time developing specializations at Marco, whether that be Managed Services, Telepresence, Production Print or other specialized solutions. We want our customers to engage with experts in each of these respective areas. This is exactly the case at Mayo. Every time we met with a doctor we felt like we were speaking with the best in their field. Mayo takes a highly specialized approach to healthcare and analyzing a person’s situation. That goes a long way in building customer confidence.

3. Collaboration crosses all boundaries.
The medical team at Mayo includes the best specialists in the industry – literally. I expected the Mayo team to work well with one another and they did. But I was impressed by how much they collaborated – and respected – the healthcare team back in our hometown. I saw a spirit of specialization and everyone working together as a team. It showed me what more we can be doing at Marco in this area and that specialization and collaboration should go hand in hand.

4. Solving the problem requires understanding the whole system.
Although patients are referred to Mayo for a very specific purpose, they spend their visit gaining a complete analysis of their entire health. That means patients leave with not only answers related to the specific reason for their visit, but also a very detailed summary of their overall physical condition. It reminds me that although we may engage with a customer for a very specific technology solution, how important it is for us be mindful of their overall network environment to more effectively make recommendations for improving how they do business.

5. Give people an unexpected environment.
When I walked through the doors of Mayo, I did not feel like we were at a clinic. It didn’t feel sterile (although I am sure it was). It felt comforting with a pianist playing Christmas music in the main building and a host of other unexpected amenities. Dining was decent and skyways made it easy to travel to nearby attractions. There was an element of hospitality that was apparent immediately and throughout the stay. Perhaps there’s an opportunity for all of us to incorporate a more nontraditional feel to our respective work environments.

6. Over-the-shoulder mentoring speaks volumes.
I’ve long valued mentoring and coaching in the workplace. There was over-the-shoulder training happening between the esteemed specialist and a young physician in most interactions we had at Mayo. It made me feel good to see they were building the next generation of the best. It reassured me that we won’t just receive superior care today, but also for decades to come. It validates why all we need to stay focused on the next generation of performers in our respective businesses.

7. Communication should be concise and understandable.
There’s always a potential for communication breakdowns in any industry. Not unlike technology, at Mayo you’re often dealing with complex issues and terminology. But the Mayo team spoke in layman’s terms that we could understand. Effectively communicating complex concepts and putting them into common terms helps our customers make better-informed decisions.

The Mayo serves close to 1 million patients a year, but they made us feel like we were the only one. I hope when our customers work with us, they feel the same way. 

Topics: Lessons