Editorial Roundup: First impressions matter for new Mayo CEO

Published 8:02 pm Monday, August 13, 2018

Dr. John Noseworthy said Friday that Mayo employees may not even notice the transition to the clinic’s new CEO, Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, early next year.

That’s admirably modest, but not likely — for Mayo employees, the Rochester community and the world of health care.

Noseworthy has been a national health care leader since the early days of the Affordable Care Act, he’s overseen Mayo’s regional growth, with all the bumps and bruises that has entailed, and most important for Rochester, he presided over the birth of Destination Medical Center, which promises nearly $6 billion in new private and public investment through about 2035 or 2040.

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Some of you and some of us likely won’t be here in 2040 to see how it turns out. But the financial, planning and political power unleashed by Mayo, its public partners — state, county and city — and private investors will make Rochester a vastly different place years from now.

Noseworthy was the plan’s champion in 2013 at the state Capitol, and while others have been more visible since then — Tina Smith, Lisa Clarke and R.T. Rybak, for starters — it was the Mayo CEO who best explained it at the time and whose personal legacy depends on DMC achieving its goals without steamrollering the city in the process.

Beginning early next year, that’s Dr. Farrugia’s challenge. Though he’s been in the Mayo system for 30 years and has led Mayo Florida through its own mini-DMC since 2015, he’ll have a steep learning curve, at a time when Rochester citizens, more than ever, want their voices heard about DMC.

Noseworthy has wanted Mayo to be a “thought leader,” helping to “transform health care both for our local regions such as Minnesota but also across the country and the world,” as he told MPR News Friday. For a quiet, cerebral neurologist by training, he was profoundly ambitious for the clinic as an international innovator.

Will the clinic remain that ambitious with Farrugia in charge, or will he and the Board of Trustees pay more attention to local and regional business? With the Florida and Arizona campuses, that may not seem like an option, but leading Mayo all comes down to communication, Noseworthy told MPR News.

His advice to Farrugia is to “communicate, communicate, communicate, and let people understand where they fit and how they have a role in this.”

We might flip that around. It’s not just a matter of “letting” people understand where they fit. It’s involving people — employees and community members — as much as possible in the planning and decision-making. Whether it’s a grand experiment such as DMC or a less eye-popping but important decision about inpatient hospital beds in Albert Lea, people don’t want to be communicated with after the fact. They want to be truly involved. Then communicate, communicate, communicate.

Mayo’s tens of thousands of employees and the millions of patients they serve each year are counting on Farrugia and team to get it right and carry on the clinic’s world-class care and mission, which have been well-served by John Noseworthy.

Our advice to the new CEO: Take advantage of Noseworthy being around for a while, get in the car, drive around the city and region, and meet people — not just employees. Listen to them. Get to know them, and let them get to know what makes you tick. First impressions matter. You can do yourself and Mayo a lot of good by caring enough to get acquainted.

— Rochester Post-Bulletin, Aug. 11

About Editorial Roundup

Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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