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Health Leadership P4

You know, you say to your mom, “Hey, I want to go for my master’s degree.” She goes, “Are you kidding me? You couldn’t even pass math in junior high school.” Whatever it is, we have that stuff that tags us, that tears at us. We have the ability to get there. I remember walking down the hall, we founded this research institute, and I had a genomic scientist on one side and I had a proteomic scientist on the other side, one doing genes, one doing proteins, and I said, “Okay, well, explain this to me. So, like, I’m the general, and I tell the protein what to do, and the protein’s the foot soldier, and he goes out and does it. So if I say okay, we’ve got breast cancer, you go spread it, then the protein goes out and does that.” And I said, “Well, what if we find a way to stop that communication between you two?” And he says, “It won’t work.” And I said, “Why?” And he said, “Well, it’s just like us. We can always find a way to get around it.” And so when people say to me, “Did you ever play in B?” I did. And a C, and a D, and an E, and an F, and a G. You don’t stop having other plans, other ways to get there. You set your goal, you go for your goal. You can get there. You can do it. Sometimes it’s not pretty; it’s kind of like making sausage, but you can get there.

And so the future becomes a [inaudible] function. Now one of the interesting things which he also pointed out, which I really believe, is that a lot of discovery comes from fiction. I was reading a magazine – I don’t know what it was, People, I don’t know what it was – some light thing. I’m sitting in an airport or in a doctor’s office or somewhere, and they were talking about, I don’t know if it was CSI or one of those shows were there’s this big clear board in front of you, you see the moving things across the board. Nobody had invented that. That was science fiction when they started using that thing. It didn’t exist. And then a computer manufacturing genius saw this thing and said, “Why not?”

And if you read Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, or if you read all these – I remember as a kid seeing these little rocket ships blasting off on television that, like, they were so fake it was unbelievable. It was like a little firecracker sticking out of the bottom. These little things would fall over, whatever. We didn’t have rocketships when I saw those. But guess what? We got them, and they pretty much looked like the ones someone had dreamed up who weren’t scientists. They weren’t scientists, and so the future discovery a lot of time comes from not only fiction, but also from fantasy.

And the question becomes what are the limitations that you personally accept on yourself? What are your limitations? What are the little black ghost limitations that you’re dealing with? I’m not going to embarrass you and ask you, but you’ve got them. You all have to have them. What are the things that are holding you back? What are the things that you believe about yourself because people have told you them over and over and over? What are they?

I mean, if somebody had told me that in 1997 I would get a job in a place that was all pink with indoor outdoor carpeting and duct tape and three or four computers and that we would get 250 million dollars in grants and create an international research institute with proteomic and genomic scientists and collect 57 thousand donated breast tissue with 800 fields of demographic information on each woman, and that the National Cancer Institute, two months ago, would have come here and taken those samples to map the breast cancer genome for the world, I would have asked you what drugs you were on. None of those things were in my mind. They weren’t possible. I was not a scientist. I was not a doctor. I had no background in this stuff.

So how does this happen? And how far can you reach? How far can you look out there and say, “I can do that” and not be delusional? Because it does happen little by little. And it’s interesting, what I found was the bigger the dream, the easier it is to get the money.

You know, I look at your Stealers shirt, and truthfully, when the Stealers are winning, we all know what we’re like. We’re euphoric. It’s like great, oh my gosh, it’s so great to be with the winners, and I don’t care if he messed around with that girl, he’s a great quarterback, and it’s like we forget everything. It’s kind of like just so our Stealers win. Well, people love to be associated with winners. They love that.

People hate to be associated with losers. I was walking into a situation where there were four hospitals in that town, in this town. This was the loser. This had the least amount of money, the dimmest future, the least chance for survival. We had very, very, very intelligent, good employees who left as soon as they could. It was like a revolving door, because they said, “There’s no way. There’s no way that [inaudible] will live, and we will go down, and Mercy will go down. No way.” Right? There’s no way it could happen.

So that’s what we were faced with. That’s what we were faced with. So then you have to ask yourself would you rather live in a world that is or help to design the world that will be? It’s idealism versus realism, and you have to understand, just like the genomics and proteomics guy. Nothing has to be the way it is. No one way is the only right way to get it done. As a musician I look at these guitar players that never, ever took a lesson who are making millions and millions of dollars a year singing country western or whatever it is, playing everything the wrong way. But it works and it sounds great and they’re successful at it. You tracking me here?

So the stuff that holds us back is what’s in our calf paths. It’s what’s in our brain. It’s between these ears. That’s what holds us back. That’s what keeps us from making the impact that we could in our life and doing the things that we want to do and really would dream about. So the baby boomer in me said what do baby boomers like? We like to be pampered. We like nice things. And we like competency. So let’s be the best of a hotel, the best of a spa, and the best of a hospital. Let’s do it all. Let’s bring that all to bear. And one of the first people I hired was a manager of hotels.

Now, why would I do that? Why would I bring an outsider in? He’s not in healthcare. Didn’t know anything about healthcare. Didn’t know about the rules, didn’t know about the restrictions, didn’t know about the 47 regulatory agencies or the 42 regulatory agencies or whatever the number is. Why would I bring – give me thoughts why I would bring somebody in. Different perspective. Exactly. All that. That’s not what they were trained to do. They were trained to cut the money. Okay? So here we have a situation where this guy comes into the place, and he says, “Jeez, it’s ugly in here.” I go, “I know. We got these pink walls and we got these white walls and we got these white sheets and these white bedspreads and these white separators.” It’s ugly. It’s stark. Oh, and everywhere in the stairwells there’s I color I think that came from mental institutions called foam green. Have you ever seen those in hospitals? It kind of goes with the green jello. So you’ve got the green jello thing going on, and you’ve got the foam green walls, and you’re going, okay, how do we make this look more appealing? How do we lighten this up so that people walk in and go, “Wow. Okay.”

And what we found is it’s just as expensive to buy the white as it is to buy color. It’s just as expensive for the wood as it is for the nonwood. So it wasn’t extra money. It was the way we looked at it. And I let them loose. I just let them run wild. I said, “Okay, borders up here, and let’s change this, and go do your thing.” I remember walking through the new addition with my boss the very first time after it was completed, and I said, “How many decisions do you think I made in this connecting corridor about the way it was going to look?” And he said, “Hundreds.” And I said, “Zero.” When you get a butterfly, you let him fly. When you get somebody that understands it, don’t get in their way.

So I made zero decisions on that connecting corridor and on that building up there, but what we built in were fountains and staircases and wooden everything, and it’s gorgeous. It’s just gorgeous. It was like a hotel. Why did we do that? Because when people walked into what, before, was foam green with indoor outdoor carpeting and tape and they see all of a sudden it’s like – and it was cosmetic for the most part. It didn’t just break what little I had in the bank. And they look at that and they go, “Wow. It doesn’t look like a hospital.”

And this was fourteen years ago, so put that in perspective. Some of you were eight years old, you know? Fourteen years ago we were coming up with these ideas. So it’s like, okay, let’s do that. Now, let’s add the best of a spa. Well, what’s the best of a spa? It’s massage, it’s aroma therapy, it’s [inaudible], it’s music therapy. So we added all that stuff. We had pets that came in. Here’s the good thing about not being in healthcare. Here’s the good thing about not being a medical guy. Here’s the good thing about not being a scientist. I didn’t care what made you better. So if a golden retriever jumping into bed with you made you get better, that’s okay with me. Just get better.

It’s funny, the word placebo became a really derogatory term about twenty-five, thirty years ago. And it’s like, do you really care what made you get better, if it was a fake pill or the real pill? If the fake pill made you get better, does it really, deeply matter to you that you were taking a fake pill? I don’t think it should, because it did what it needed to do to make you get better. Now, if you took the fake pill and you died, that’s not a good thing.

But literally, when you think about placebos, what makes this work? I mean, indigenous man knew a long, long time ago, in every one of their treatments, what did they use? Any time you see the medicine man and the witch doctor, what’s going on there? What one thing is kind of in common, besides, like, the big [inaudible]? What’s going on? Music. Am I right? Music. It’s always drums, and they’re beating the drums, and they’re doing their thing. Do we know why?

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