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The Energizer Blog

  • Writer's pictureEileen McDargh

The “Pickle Pledge” Turns Patients into Raving Fans and Employees into Super Stars

I admit it: a pickle pledge sounds like something created on Sesame Street to get kids to eat pickles. Or perhaps it is a rhyme: eat a pickle and get a nickel. You can have as much fun with that phrase as you’d like but nothing is further from the truth: The Pickle Pledge, created by colleague Joe Tye, is serious stuff. So serious that Midland Memorial Hospital went from an all-time low to an all time high in patient satisfaction in less than a year! And—hundreds of Midland Health employees not only made dramatic improvements in their personal lives but created an internal Cultural Productivity Benefit of $7.2 million!!

All about a pickle?!

YES!! The Pickle Pledge is a personal commitment to refrain from complaining, whining, bullying, gossiping and other toxic emotional behaviors that wreck havoc on those caught within the noxious fumes of negativity. The cost of toxic emotional negativity continues to cost the average organization $12,000 per employee per year according to a research paper by Harvard Business Review.

In their newly released book, Pickle Pledge co-authors Joe Tye, CEO of Values Coach, Inc and a member of The Resiliency Group, and Bob Dent (Senior Vice President of Midland Health and COO/CNO of Midland Memorial Hospital in Midland Texas), offer deeply troubling research about the cost of toxic emotions on employee engagement, productivity, retention, and yes - patient outcomes.

But the good news: the Pickle Pledge and the Pickle Challenge for Charity have helped hundreds of health care organizations create a more positive culture of ownership and civility in a fun and lighthearted way. Don’t think this book is only about healthcare. You will find here a step-by-step guide for how Midland Memorial Hospital turned itself around with a commitment to ownership and a value of optimism ANY organization, of ANY size can profit by following the steps outlined here.

A word of caution. As lighthearted as the thought of creating “Pickle Free Zones” may be... this is serious work. It takes courage for leaders to not only take the pledge but to hold others accountable for shifting behaviors. You can buy it at I’d love to know what results you get!

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