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July 18, 2008

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Management Lessons From Mayo Clinic

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 2:55 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Management Lessons From Mayo Clinic: Inside One of the World's Most Admired Service Organizations by Leonard L Berry and Kent D. Seltman, McGraw-Hill, 276 pages, $27.95, Hardcover, June 2008, ISBN 9780071590730 Over a century ago, a family of doctors in a small Minnesotan town formed an organization that has gone on to touch countless lives. These days, over 42,000 employees, students and volunteers go to work every day at Mayo Clinic's three U.S. campuses--one each in Minnesota, Florida and Arizona. But, talking to the clinic's patients, you'd never think the care they received came from such a large entity. Mayo Clinic has grown exponentially over the years, but has retained its human touch throughout. How has Mayo Clinic done it? Leonard Berry and Kent Seltman answer that question with this book. In profiling this one very special organization, Berry and Seltman touch on almost every aspect of business--from the loftier issues of Vision, Values, and Purpose, to the everyday issues of customer service, management structure, hiring and branding. The authors tackle each issue methodically and know exactly when to step back and let those within the Clinic and their patients tell their own stories, keeping the book fresh and inspiring. One such story is from Dr. Breanndan Moore. He was called in to work on a kidney transplant in the middle of the night, and noticed a technologist still in the lab. Being her supervisor and fearing the worst, he called her into his office the next day, asking why she had been in the lab at 2 a.m. It turned out that earlier that day she accidentally used the wrong solution on an antibody test and couldn't read it. She had come back just to do the test again. That was commendable, but Moore wondered why she didn't wait and redo the test the next day. She replied "Dr. Moore, I can't have the patients at Mayo Clinic waiting an extra day in the hospital just because I fouled up a lab test." That technologist was behind the scenes, unknown to patients, and she wasn't expecting to be rewarded for her extra work--she didn't even expect anyone to know about it. It is employees like her that make Mayo Clinic what it is, and it is Mayo Clinic's culture that creates employees like her. Not every business has the high calling that Mayo Clinic has. Not every employee goes to work everyday clearly knowing that the work they do will benefit a life other than their own. But, the lessons and methods provided in this book can help any management team instill a culture and purpose to effectively manage an organization around. The Mayo brothers established and built "one of the world's most admired service organizations" with solid values and a practicality in operations that is truly clinical. What else would you expect from a Midwestern family? The Mayo Clinic continues that work today, and you can expect those same qualities in this book.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.