Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.Dan Richards

The Mayo Clinic’s world-renowned reputation as the preeminent provider of medical services was achieved through decades of refining and improving its core processes – and by constantly reviewing whether the assumptions behind its mission were still valid. A visit to that clinic revealed six lessons for advisors.

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Recently, I spoke to a veteran advisor – let’s call him Bob – about a 2011 visit to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. In our conversation, Bob pointed out some important insights that he took away from his experience that he’s applied to his practice.

In the spring of 2011, Bob was diagnosed with a debilitating disease. With the agreement of a specialist he’d seen in his local community, in the fall he went to Mayo Clinic to get a second opinion. The ultimate outcome was positive – Mayo Clinic’s physician recommended an additional test which confirmed the diagnosis, but also pointed out some emerging treatments to deal with the problem. After a telephone consultation between the clinic’s doctor and Bob’s physician, he embarked on a course of action that resolved the problem.

But the impact of his experience went well beyond a successful recovery. Indeed, his time at the Mayo Clinic had a fundamental impact on how Bob runs his own highly successful practice.

Lesson one: Clearly articulate your core values

Considered the architect of the modern medical practice, Mayo Clinic’s roots go back to a medical practice established in 1863 in Rochester, Minnesota by Dr. William Mayo, who was later joined by his sons. Today, wealthy patients from around the world travel to Mayo Clinic for medical treatment.

Early in Bob’s initial conversation with a patient-intake coordinator, she explained that from its inception Mayo Clinic has been governed by three core values. First and foremost, the needs of the patient always come first; the clinic’s other two core values relate to its focus on patient education, and to research. These values are reflected in the three shields that make up the logo of Mayo Clinic – with the largest and central shield relating to putting patients first.

Bob was struck by the clarity with which these values were communicated. When he returned to Calgary, he met with his team to discuss how to define and then communicate their own core values to clients. Since then, he has begun to incorporate the core values that shape his approach on his website and into client communication.