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Company Culture – Lessons From Cleveland Clinic


April of this year, I had the opportunity to meet Rebecca Caputo, Program Manager of Leadership Development and Learning at Cleveland Clinic Florida.

I was so impressed with her, and the heart of Cleveland Clinic, I knew I had to meet with her again.

She willingly shared a huge initiative at Cleveland Clinic that focused on creating a more healing environment, a more engaged workforce, and a huge emphasis on understanding the critical need for empathy in the health care environment.

This initiative started with gathering a lot of information from key stakeholders (patients, physicians, nurses, caregivers, vendors, volunteers) about the current environment of Cleveland Clinic. They realized from this feedback there was a lot of work to do regarding the perception of being a large, sterile, environment. They heard loud and clear that the Cleveland Clinic had outstanding outcomes and innovations, but were perceived to be arrogant and having no “empathy.”

The first place they started was bridging the gap between the physician population and the other employees. You see they have 49,000 “caregivers” of which 3,432 are doctors. In 2009, there was a huge transformation where all employees (no matter what their role) were given the title, “caregiver.”

Why do I think this is such a great idea? Think about this: Everyone is so busy in every business/industry right now, that often it’s hard to keep employee’s minds on the big picture. The purpose of the organization. In the hospital industry, the primary focus would be the patient. This little change of title sure sings top of mind awareness. Loved it! It is often those little tweaks that make a huge difference.

I again met with Rebecca a month or so later. An hour and a half went by like 15 minutes. At that meeting, she said something else that screamed GREAT IDEA. I will not try to explain the full story, but the bottom line is that if you are trying to find out what your customers, employees, or even family members are truly excited about, consider trying something like this:

Let’s say you want a meeting to be extremely effective. You want all participants of the meeting to find it beneficial and productive.

Before creating the agenda for the meeting, consider asking each participant to provide the following information: On a scale of 1-5 ( 5 as the top score) what specifically, would make you rate the productivity of time spent in the meeting a five?Then consider their responses as you create the agenda!

Rebecca is committed to her colleagues and organization. She is energized, skilled, focused; caring about the development of her team and Cleveland Clinic. I can’t imagine a better fit for her role. If I were that company, I would do a lot to keep her around! In fact, her 30-year anniversary is next year, so I guess they have!

Finding the right match, and holding onto those great finds is a no brainer for successful organizations. Well-done Cleveland Clinic!

I have included a You-Tube video that says a lot about the heart of Cleveland Clinic. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It’s only 2:29 minutes.

If you want to read more about the culture transformation at Cleveland Clinic, you may want to take a look at the book, “Service Fanatics by James Merlino, MD.

Cleveland Clinic book

PARONE GROUP is an  Executive Consulting Firm that focuses on the People, Process, and Purpose of organizations. We assess wants needs and pain points, then bring in the right matched support for your special training, coaching or consultant needs. We are also interested in hearing from companies that continually strive to create and make live a culture of high-value service for both internal and external customers.  We strive to learn constantly and love sharing great stories. Have a story to tell or need some help in creating your culture? Please consider Parone Group. You will find our website at