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What is Your Cultural ‘Pie?’

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Full Disclosure: This particular strawberry rhubarb pie was NOT made by Deb.

My wife, Deb, makes a scrumptious strawberry rhubarb pie. In fact, I really think she could win a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair with her recipe. OK, I must admit that I am just a tad bias – but it’s true!

Carefully measured sugar, flour, salt, butter and eggs are added to freshly-harvested rhubarb and strawberries. The pie crust is prepared to ensure the quality and appearance of the pie will not be compromised. How can the tartness of rhubarb and the sweetness of sugar make this pie so delectable to one’s palate? I have come to the realization that my taste buds must be suffering some sort of culinary schizophrenia – especially when a scoop of vanilla ice cream is added on top!

Using consistent ingredients, coupled with the desire to make the same tasting pie each time is a great recipe for success. Unique and positive experiences eventually result in an ongoing trust that the pie will be equally pleasing to the palate in future interactions.

What a powerful and priceless combination – creating a positive experience for the consumer and, consequently, earning their trust.

Developing and maintaining an organizational culture designed to elicit trust is similar to baking a consistently-prepared strawberry rhubarb pie. It takes the right ingredients and level of determination and commitment to use the same tried-and-true process without compromise.

The idea for this particular blog originated after I finished reading a recently published book, “Think Big, Start Small, Move Fast.” Written by three insiders from Mayo Clinic’s Center for Innovation, this excellent book is about developing and implementing a new culture of transformative innovation for not only healthcare organizations but for any organization that desires to adapt to, and possibly disrupt, the future environments and markets in which they operate.

According to former Mayo CEO Dr. Glenn Forbes, a desired culture must be imbedded into the DNA of the ENTIRE organization. “If you’ve communicated a value but you haven’t driven it into the policy, into the decision making, into the allocation of resources, and ultimately into the culture of the organization, then it’s just words.”

Of all health care organizations, one would think that Mayo could rest on their laurels and continue down the path of excellent care to their patients. After all, Mayo is all about the effective care experience for their patients. Simply put, Mayo practices that the patient comes first – at all times.

It started 150 years ago with William Worrall Mayo and his two sons, Will and Charlie. It continues today because of the consistent ingredients the organization has passed down generation-to-generation, with the same passion to serve each patient today and tomorrow. Similar to the pie, each slice is consistently processed and delivered. Each bite allows the customer to trust that the next slice will be no different.

Mayo continues to search for new ways to accentuate their tried-and-true culture so that they will be prepared to address the needs of the future. This never-ending quest serves as a great lesson for other organizations, both inside and outside of healthcare. When the public sees and feels that the organizational values are consistently customer-centric and baked within the culture of that organization, trust will inevitably endure.

So what beliefs, values and behaviors are reflected in your organization? What are the desired attitudes and behaviors that you wish to seek in the people you hire? Does your organization desire creativity, safety, collaboration or innovation?

Whatever the desired culture is for your organization, hopefully it is a positive one that permeates beyond the workplace setting and soundly resonates with the public.

Just like Deb’s strawberry rhubarb pie!

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