Can companies from different industries learn from one another?


One of my college mates Alex recommended me the book in view of my new portfolio. Thanks Alex!

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit medical practice and medical research group based in Rochester, Minnesota. It employs more than 4,500 physicians and scientists and 57,100 allied health staff. The practice specializes in treating difficult cases through tertiary care. It spends over $660 million a year on research.

William Worrall Mayo settled his family in Rochester in 1864 and opened a medical practice that evolved under his sons into Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic is widely regarded as one of the United States’ greatest hospitals and ranked No. 1 in the country on the 2016–2017 U.S. News & World Report List of “Best Hospitals” of the United States, maintaining a position near the top for more than 25 years. It has been on the list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” published by Fortune magazine for thirteen consecutive years. It continued to achieve this ranking through 2015.

In addition to their flagship hospital in Rochester, the Mayo Clinic has major campuses in Arizona and Florida. The Mayo Clinic Health System also operates affiliated facilities throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

Some of the highlights from the book are:

  • “More than 62% of Mayo Clinic physicians have received some or all of their training at Mayo.” This helps to build a strong collaborative culture at Mayo, it does risk making Mayo insular.
  • While many policy wonks advocate a “team approach” to health care, Mayo Clinics is truly one of the few health care organizations to accomplish this. This is due to the fact that all physicians are employed directly by Mayo, they are paid on a salary basis, and the culture of Mayo is very collaborative.
  • The Mayo Clinic faces the debate of how fast to expand. Expanding its brand (through associated clinics, hospitals, and online contact) and increases revenues but may dilute its brand equity or reputation.
  • The Mayo Clinic was one of the first organizations to organize medical records by patient rather than physician, thus allowing any physician to easily access patient information. In the digital age, Mayo is a leader in EMR.
  • The Mayo Clinic has impressive systems engineering. There is centralized scheduling, and the testing facilities each day are allowed spare capacity to meet the need of current days patients (“downstream demand”), and Six Sigma management practices are in place.
  • Departments are co-headed by physicians and administrators. Physicians make sure that administrators know understand how management choices affect patient care; administrators communicate with physicians so that they understand how medical practices affect patient flow and the bottom line.

The Mayo Clinic has six strategies they consider essential for their continued success — six strategies which constitute the spirit of the Clinic. As you read them, ask what they could mean for your organization.

  1. Continuing pursuit of the ideal of service and not profit.
  2. Continuing primary and sincere concern for the care and welfare of each individual patient.
  3. Continuing interest by every member of the staff in the professional progress of every other member.
  4. A willingness to change in response to the changing needs of society.
  5. Continuing effort toward excellence in everything that is done.
  6. Continuing conduct of all affairs with absolute integrity.

So can companies from different industries learn from one another? Yes. Take this quote for example: “The reality of labor intensive service organizations is that their people are their product.” How many of such companies including those in the hospitality truly practice it. Do employees feel empowered and ready to delight guests? If you don’t treat your people well then how would you expect them to treat your guests well? Looks like there is much to learn.



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