Transformative Environments

Creating Your Own Lake Nona

By Eric Wright

Finishing my freshman year as an art/design major, summer was an empty canvas. It afforded me the freedom and opportunity to follow my creative inclinations wherever they led. Not surprisingly, it usually led me to the beach or out with my friends. Returning to campus that fall I was amazed at how much more prolific my production had been during the previous school year than during my “express yourself” summer break.

It was the expectations and environment of the school that focused my imagination. Which helps me understand why some of the best and the brightest, in a myriad of fields, never leave the college campus or if they do, how there seems to be a magnetic field that draws them back.

Though the magazine this month scratches the surface on one of the most exciting medical developments in our area, the real story is about environments that have been formed which nurture creativity, synergy, discovery and transformation. Lake Nona’s Medical City is, as we said, a profound example of what has been described as the “Medici Effect,” which produces a collaborative chain reaction.

Few have the resources and vision of the leaders of Tavistock, but we all have the opportunity to form environments that take people to a different level of productivity and fulfillment. We can do that by…



Most of our professional colleagues or employees aren’t preparing for a Mensa Society exam, but even the average want to move to being above average in their contribution and in how it is perceived. Horst Schulze became iconic in the hospitality industry when he led the Ritz-Carlton brand back from oblivion and helped his organization earn an unprecedented two Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards, while growing the iconic chain from four to forty U.S. locations.

Schulze coined the company’s well-known customer/employee-centered credo, “We are Ladies and Gentlemen, Serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” Seeing the housekeeping and maintenance staff as people with all the worth and dignity of Ritz-Carlton’s affluent guests made the guests’ experience that much more meaningful and memorable.



Two sports that I never had an interest in, until I married and had to relate to seven Minnesota brother-in-laws, were hockey and collegiate wrestling. If you follow the NHL you’ve probably heard of Robert O. Naegele, Jr., the owner of the Minnesota Wild. What impressed me about Naegele isn’t so much what he’s done as an owner, but his actions when he sold the business that provided his ownership capital, Rollerblade Inc., which dominated the inline skate market.

In a move that shocked everyone who heard, and it was difficult to keep quiet, Naegele and his wife gave a significant portion of their personal profits from the sale to their employees – from executives to factory workers, to even college interns! Each check, whose arrival happened to coincide with Christmas, came with a handwritten thank you card from Mr. and Mrs. Naegele, expressing their appreciation for making Rollerblade a success. They weren’t just sharing money, but the credit for their success.



People appreciate and are attracted to well-designed environments. Sociologists have long observed that when a community pulls together to quickly cover graffiti and repair acts of vandalism, crime in that area drops. The community message is simple, “People care; this neighborhood is important.” Investing in the environment where people spend most of their waking hours, the office, the store or the plant, makes a difference. It tells them you care and what they are doing is significant.

They may be simple things, but whatever the organization, it will have a dramatic impact!


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About the author

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Eric Wright

Eric Wright is an innovative leader, dynamic speaker and published author. He turns complex principles into simple and practical life applications. As President of Publishing at SCB Marketing, Eric oversees the production of four business and lifestyle journals, along with numerous specialty publications. Eric is co-author of Dogs Don't Bark at Parked Cars. www.dogsdontbark.com

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