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William Peacock, Cleveland Clinic Chief of Operations, joins host Dr. Brian Bolwell to discuss the importance of leading with grace, being a servant leader, and his own leadership journey which took him from the US Navy to Cleveland Clinic.

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Lead with Grace

Podcast Transcript

Brian Bolwell, MD: Beyond Leadership, a Cleveland Clinic podcast at the intersection of leadership and everything else. In this podcast, we will commingle with extraordinary thinkers and explore the impact of their ideas and experiences on leadership and management.

Hello, everyone. Welcome to today's episode of Beyond Leadership. I am your host, Dr. Bolwell of physician and leadership development of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Global Learning and Leadership Institute here at the Cleveland Clinic. Today, I'm very pleased to have Bill Peacock join us. Bill is the chief of operations at the Cleveland Clinic, and that includes all of our work overseas. Bill, welcome.

Bill Peacock: Good morning, Dr. Bolwell. Well, it's great to be here. Thanks for inviting me.

Brian Bolwell, MD: Bill, you have an interesting background. Can you share with our listeners what that background is and how you came to join us here at the clinic?

Bill Peacock: Sure, sure. I started my career in the Navy, went to the US Naval Academy, graduated, flew A7 Corsairs, but I had problems landing on the aircraft carrier one night. Kind of by accident, I found my way into the Navy Civil Engineer Corps. Electrical engineer by education made sense. I followed a career path that took me all over the world, building bases in places and maintaining them and dealing with communities around the world. I had command twice, once of a CB battalion, a very agile mobile force that goes off and does contingency support, and then one of a more established area out in the Pacific. I was running all the facilities and construction issues for the bases in places on the Navy's Pacific Rim, along with Marine Corps installation.

It was a great background, one that I certainly didn't expect when I started in the Navy, but one that I think really prepared me well for the Cleveland Clinic, as well as a tour in DC at the Pentagon right when 9/11 went down. I'd just been there a few months before that unfortunate event. I think your other question was how did I find the Clinic. That was a complete accident. [Both laugh]. That was a complete surprise. Now, I'd wrapped up about 24 years in the Navy and I'd stacked up four kids that were all heading to college within very short succession. I thought this might be the time to look for other opportunities outside the Navy. I was in Japan, an illogical place to try to lead the service from because most people wanted to get back to the States and find another job.

But I said, why not? I promised my wife I would find a job in Ohio where she's from that would put her close to family, and I found the Clinic completely by mistake. I looked all over Cleveland, Columbus, you name it, Cincinnati, but a maid of honor of mine and my wife's had taken a job out on the Western fringe of our organization here in Northeast Ohio and she said, "They're building a new heart center. You ought to come check it out." On one of many flights back and forth from Japan, almost 10 months out from when I was going to retire, I touched down and I interviewed with then Bob Ivancic, who was head of HR.

He introduced me to Frank Lordeman, and he introduced me to Dr. Loop. I think the timing where the heart center project made me an attractive candidate, but I was truly a walk on, Brian. Truly a walk on. [Laughs].

Brian Bolwell, MD: Go back to your days in the Navy, two things that I'm curious about. One is you said you had a couple stints of leadership. Did you receive formal leadership training in the Navy to execute that? And if so, tell us about it.

Bill Peacock: It all started very early at the Naval Academy. You enter the Naval Academy as pleb, as a freshman, and then you're given leadership opportunities over people, where you're accountable for the most minuscule aspects of them, as well as their grades, their behavior, their ability to interact with others. I think you start to gain some perspectives, but you're in a college university type environment. It's a narrow set of society. When you get out and you're actually serving in the fleet, you're almost immediately thrust in a position where you're not only responsible of that age cohort you were working for before, but people from all across society that elect to serve in the armed forces.

People that in some cases are much older than you, much more seasoned and experienced. I think it forces you to step back and reflect and to take inputs from many directions. Very advantage there. But formal training, that was peppered across the two decades that I served in the Navy. The first command tour, where you were actually in charge of forces that would be asked to do tough things for the nation. You're actually pulled out and sent up to Newport, home of the Naval War College and some of our leadership schools there. You're put through a pretty significant set of coursework with other individuals picked to do the same thing. Some of them are going to run warships.

Some of them are going to fight with aircraft squadrons. You talk about some pretty challenging organizational type situations where you're either on a ship or with a unit by yourself far from home, and you have to make decisions that not only affect the people you're leading, but could affect the reputation of the nation. You get exposed to a lot of this through your course. Educational opportunities as well. The Navy was very generous with both my undergraduate and my graduate school programs.

Brian Bolwell, MD: What's the one thing that you remember from those courses, one or two?

Bill Peacock: I remember sitting in a classroom with peers who were... And this was in Newport before going to my first battalion tour or battalion command. They played a Gettysburg video flick. It was about three minutes in duration. It was Joshua Chamberlain, a colonel from Maine, who had to defend Little Round Top. He was out of ammunition. His troops were exhausted, but the Confederate forces continued to charge the hill over and over and over again. He was instrumental in defending that hill and ultimately winning the battle of Gettysburg. But the tenacity of the opposition was unbelievable. As we looked around the room after that video clip was over, stories like that are what make the difference between winning and losing in those tough contests.

I think that's what struck me the most. You're going to be put in charge of something, your responsibility to fight and win. No matter if that's a life and death issue or if it's a business or a P&L issue, it's your responsibility to fight and win.

Brian Bolwell, MD: Tell us about your time in the Pentagon. I didn't realize you were there when 9/11 occurred. Certainly, a day that's really unlike any in the past hundred years in the history of our nation.

Bill Peacock: I'll start by telling you, I tried to avoid that bureaucracy [Laughs] my entire career. It's an interesting and challenging assignment. In all seriousness, one that looking back I wouldn't discourage anyone from the exposure. Working at the Pentagon takes you to the highest level of the machine and it gives you a very interesting perspective. You know, you reach generally a high rank, but you might as well be the lowest rank as a Navy captain. You are running point papers and PowerPoint, and you're scrambling to defend your chunk of the Navy. My chunk was the construction forces. In the minds of the admirals, many of the construction forces were necessary, but were also excess to the true mission, which was ships, airplanes, and submarines and fighting them to defend the nation.

It was really a daily scramble. If you were to take off for an hour at lunch to maybe go for a run along the Potomac, you could lose your entire budget. Interfaces with members of congress, senators, congressmen, special interest groups were all part of the equation of that experience because they would all pepper you. Of course, in my world, you'd have people from truck manufacturers come in to try and sell you bulldozers and trucks and construction equipment. I was there maybe three months. My first task was to cut my organization 30%. They felt that we were heavy. I ended up having no rule book. I was given no money to buy any consultant help. I had to sort of travel around the globe to defend the why we existed to begin with.

I can remember fighting that fight in the Pentagon with the chief of naval operations to comment on the Marine Corp and not being given a direct answer the day I made my argument. It seemed that they wanted to pause and reflect on the input that I'd given them. And then a few days later, the plane hit the building and I was being asked to add people and add forces and make people ready to go do tough things. From that day forward and the rest of my time in the Pentagon, it was all about the fight that was coming at us and getting ready for that. It was a remarkable two years. Many, many long hours, lost many, many friends and classmates in that area of the building that was hit.  That was pretty tough. I'd actually been in that room on the side of the building that was hit the day before trying to make adjustments to the number of people and number of fighting units that we had. Sobering.

Brian Bolwell, MD: Very much so. Yes. So, you wound up here at the Cleveland Clinic and we were building a big new building. I think your original role was to be in charge of construction management here in the organization. Is that correct?

Bill Peacock: That's right. That's right. I think I'd been here three or four days. It was interesting. We had, of course, gone through the leadership transition at the top. Guy that hired me is gone. The new guy doesn't know me from Adam.

Brian Bolwell, MD: This is Dr. Cosgrove.

Bill Peacock: That's correct. Toby asked me to stand in the hole. We had started excavation. I think this is when he was in the process of doing his live broadcast for connections. We had just started the connections protocols. There really wasn't much of a manuscript for this. I just threw on a hard hat and grabbed a set of drawings and went for it. It was a lot of fun. What I haven't told many people is that it made me realize just how important this project was to the future of the clinic and how it was to the community, the trustees, the board the visibility that this project was going to get for this organization. Lot of weight, very fast moving into a new field.

Brian Bolwell, MD: But that's an important concept in itself. I think that the architecture of where one works, the physical plant certainly has a lot of... The most important reason is to have operational use and efficiencies and for us obviously to be able to take care of patients. But it also becomes symbolic of the organization. The heart center here, I think, is still the biggest freestanding building for cardiovascular care in the world. It was very, very important to the organization. Basically, you were in charge of getting the building built.

Bill Peacock: Well, I had a lot of help and I think that's when you and I first started working together, particularly on master planning. All the exercises about the secondary and tertiary impacts of that building on our existing plant, on everything, from how the goods were going to come into the building and the waste was going to leave the building. Our partnership really started there and needed your help very much to articulate additional capital expenses for things like garage and moving a Rite Aid, moving a gas station. There was a lot of money, a lot of money beyond the project that we were going to be forced to ask for that hadn't necessarily been contemplated, but we were the men in the arena, so to speak, to try and figure that out.

Brian Bolwell, MD: Well, that was a lot of fun. And actually, yes. Again, for our listeners, at the time, I was in charge of what still is called the space planning and construction committee. Yes, when you build a building like this, there's a couple downstream effects. Number one is when it's occupied, you obviously are vacating a lot of the campus. What we're going to do with the vacated areas, which we called the backfill project, which became very complicated and, not surprisingly, politically charged. There were additional things to make sure that the new facility worked on many levels. But certainly not just from a clinical patient care perspective, but also for the employees. I mean, just to make sure that things are good. And then as Bill mentioned, it's a fascinating process to consider how we want our campus to look in 10 years, in 15 years, in 20 years, and to examine everything we've got on our campus, where it should be, where would we like things to be down the road. Fascinating project and something I very much enjoyed. And again, Bill was instrumental in steering that entire process.

Bill Peacock: Do you remember someone, maybe it was Toby who hired IDO to help us think through the process of how that traffic corridor would go between the H, G, the M the new Miller pavilion. Of course, the Glickman, with no disrespect to GUKI, was an afterthought. That wasn't part of the original project package. We added that. But trying to figure out what was there... There were code names we came up with like fastball, curve ball, things like that, but it sounds trivial, but at the time I didn't realize just how important it was to create corridors and passageways. And we take it for granted today when we walk through those halls.

Brian Bolwell, MD: No, it's totally true. It remains something that I think all of us are very, very proud of, those who work here, but also those of us who were kind of part of the whole process. In any event, how did all that then evolve into having you become the chief of medical operations? One thing I'd certainly like to talk about is you've basically been our lead person for everything we've done in Abu Dhabi, which is a very important part of this organization. How did all that occur?

Bill Peacock: Well, if I was to attribute it to anything, I would attribute it to trying to build bridges, relationships, and trust with many colleagues here. I know how to get a building built and to get the heat and light on it. But without the impact and cooperation and coordination with the rest of the team, it wouldn't have happened. Construction's a beautiful thing. If you think about it, it is a symphony of many, many different trades coming together for a common performance. We use that analogy a lot as we think about the Cleveland Clinic. I can remember the Cleveland Orchestra coming to perform once and show or demonstrate how the different parts contribute to the overall score that's being performed.

I think that basic backbone was helpful in me understanding. I mean, I think back to the choreography of loading the heart center, watching nursing load up every two weeks another floor, and how we had active patients, patients who were very sick, postoperative, moving from existing facilities. There was tremendous choreography. That experience, I think, bridged relationships across all the different dimensions of the clinic and at the executive team. From there, it was a game of continuing to build trust. Abu Dhabi becomes a vision and I'm invited to play. Even though the Emiratis built it, I'm invited to play in its design and its delivery.

I naturally, I guess, got involved in who was going to staff it and how are we going to orchestrate it from the very beginning. I think other things like supply chain came natural because I was drawing on supply chain. I was drawing on philanthropy nonstop. I was continually drawing on marketing to communicate both internally and externally what new projects and their respective impacts would be. I think working in these different factors, they just sort of started to connect and make sense. Ultimately, Toby, and now Tom, have entrusted me with stewardship of these areas. I'll continue to do the best I can to serve the clinic for its future good.

Brian Bolwell, MD: Tell us a little bit more about Abu Dhabi and working in the Middle East. A lot of different cultural changes. Again, for our listeners, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is something that we manage, but it's actually part of the Mubadala wing of the government of the UAE. But it's an important part of the overall organization. What are some of the lessons learned about how to execute over there?

Bill Peacock: I will tell you, that's been the most fascinating experience along with London. London's different, but the partnership. First building a partnership with Mubadala and establishing trust, that really was scratch cooking together, the two of us, trying to figure out what service lines to bring to that environment back at a time when their repository of data on their population was not what it is today with scan and trying to project what kind of heart vascular volume, what kind of GI volumes we would see, and how should we staff. It was a largely public health system, so we knew we were coming in maybe a threat to the existing public health system. We had to navigate that particularly.

It was a sandbar. It was not an established residential or business district at that time or retail district, as it is today. There were scant regulations on everything from medical malpractice and really no insurance policies, no insurance vehicles whatsoever. It was all government pay. All those things evolved over the course of the construction, and then the construction was impacted by the 2008 global financial situation. It was also impacted by the fact that this was a sandbar, and it needed a couple extra months to settle as we started to compact and drive piles. A few periods drew the project out a little longer, but I'm kind... Looking back, I think it was fortunate for us in that it allowed us time to further get our wheels on and make our opening a success.

I think a little-known fact about Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is then Marc Harrison and Tom Mihaljevic were working in tandem CEO and chief of staff. The day they opened, there was a rocket attack down in Yemen. It was on a munitions facility where Emirati troops were housed in tent camps around the perimeter, and they were decimated. The Nation of the UAE never had to deal with that type of mass casualty event with their armed forces. They staged rather rapidly the best put together evacuation medevac flights that they could to get their wounded up. Where'd they end up? They ended up at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Our ICU teams, our surgical teams, our ED was called to action immediately.

I would never wish this on anyone but talk about endearing a new delivery to a country and to a nation and to the nation's leadership. That really was a very pivotal opening and timing that I think brought us together. I was just out there last week. I really enjoy seeing how far it's come. It's moved through several transitions of leadership, each one moving into a new phase of the relationship. I know you know this, and I'm sure you're proud of it, I got to walk through the new cancer center while I was there last week. I saw the linear accelerator bunkers that are there. Mechanicals are going in. I saw glass wrapped around three sides of the four-sided building, and I saw mechanical units going on the roof.

I said, "This is going to happen." I saw an elated Steve Grobmyer, who is just absolutely with his team just totally focused on bringing... He's doing cancer care already, of course, with his team, but bringing this next level. He had a chance to go to the National Reference Lab there. We have some of our veterans who are now serving at the National Reference Lab. Are there potential partnerships where we can work together using gene sequencing to come up with precision therapeutics for that population? What a step function change from where we started. It took time to build, took incredible patience. But with perseverance, you can make joint ventures work. You can make partnerships come together.

Brian Bolwell, MD: Tell us about the building process because I visited there a few times when the building was being built. I have never seen so many workers in one project. I mean, they were literally shoulder to shoulder. What was the rationale behind all that?

Bill Peacock: Well, when we began this job, I think I have to give credit to Dr. Cosgrove who asked for some conservativeness in the initial delivery. It was hard to conceive of being conservative. They wanted to bring what then was what an 85-year-old Cleveland Clinic, they wanted to bring it over kitten caboodle in one delivery on that island with all the beds that would go with it when we were 15 years ago, that total bed population. We kept pushing back on the number of total beds because we didn't want to overbuild and not deliver. There were great ambitions too with regard to the actual physical aesthetics of the building.

We wanted to be culturally sensitive to the nationals with regard to everything from the look and feel, the use of Moorish architectural patterns, the use of marble flooring, et cetera. We wanted to be sensitive to that. We had to employ and bring in our electronic medical record, which really, I think we were one of the first partnerships to bring that in. We had to do all this basically in parallel as we were bringing the building out of the ground. We were up to 5,000 men and women on the job per day. This is not like dealing with Cleveland trades. This was dealing with third country nationals out of India, Pakistan, and other areas in that general geography that were providing the support on the project.

It was an enormous stance. We relied on another joint venture to put the project together for us. They did a remarkable job. We opened it up in phases, just like we did the heart center with patients and brought it to life. Amazing project.

Brian Bolwell, MD: The clinic is soon to open our hospital in London, England, and that's been quite a journey. Again, you've been the lead person and much of this project from the conception of, "Guys, maybe we should do something in the UK," to securing the land and the facility. Who owns things in London, I still don't fully understand. Maybe you can explain that. I think the Royals own all that stuff. [Bill laughs]. To now, we've opened our outpatient facility. Probably by the time these airs, the hospital will be open. Give us some background about that, what's been challenging, what's been fun, what's been different.

Bill Peacock: Well, I think from being here under Dr. Loop's leadership, there were ambitions, I think it was around the 9/11 timeframe, to put Cleveland Clinic closer to patients when we saw a lot of our international patients stop coming. There were actually trips that were made by leadership looking at opportunities in London, well before we did Abu Dhabi. I wasn't here then, but I would assume that the risk was too great to the company to try and take that on at that time. I think learning in Abu Dhabi was an essential step for this organization to sharpen our skills, understand the commitment that it would take, and bring us to a point of confidence that we could do London. London is a complicated city.

I would share with you that about a year before Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi opened, we had gotten wind that in London, there might be some opportunities. There might be some forced actions on the private healthcare system. I was encouraged by then Dr. Cosgrove to go take a look and was really given very liberal instruction as to whether to build, buy, or refurbish. We looked at over 50 properties from Heathrow all the way out to the Eastern side, to up near Paddington Station, down on the South Bank. The real estate at that time was moving so fast. There was literally only 3% vacancy rate and available properties in London. Almost instantly you'd see a building and have a for sale sign on it.  As fast as I could get on a plane and go look at it, it was gone. It was part of some other developer scheme. We ran through a couple of good leads. The building we ultimately got it wasn't for sale. The ground under it is owned by the Grosvenor Estate. Most of London is still parceled off under the names of aristocrats and lords from the past. Those estate holders actually always hold the land. They don't give that up. You can own the building, but you can't necessarily own the land under it, so you pay a rent for that. But we found a stunner of a building across from Buckingham Palace. We'd gotten word that a couple of the tenants inside were moving out. We posed a question to the owner of the building, is it for sale?

And they said, no, it's not. Well, we're really interested. And hence, began a very fast negotiation of less than 90 days where we were able to secure the building on 129-year lease. And then we had to get permission to turn it into a hospital. That took about a year and a half to do, but that gave us time to run the design in parallel. Yeah, a little risky. Totally our investment. I think we're ready for this. If the success of the medical office building is any indicator, I think we're going to do extraordinarily well with Cleveland Clinic London, because that medical office building in the month and a half since we're taping this has been extraordinary.

Brian Bolwell, MD: Well, tell us about that. Most of the original work was around building a hospital. What does that look like? Well, actually before I ask this question, let me just get to the hospital itself because it's kind of in a dense area. Obviously, it's in the middle of Downtown London, near Buckingham Palace. One of the things that struck me when I looked at the plans was, how do we execute supply chain? Because here in Cleveland, we've got big loading docks and we have a huge inventory of a lot of stuff. I think it's different over there. Can you shed some light on that?

Bill Peacock: Yeah, a lot of that is going to be done offsite and with partners. We have an arrangement with one of the NHS hospitals that will be doing a lot of our sterilization and surgical kit preparation for us. We have relationships with offsite vendors that will be stowing. There's actually two roll up doors, very nice garage doors on the back of the building facing the Belgravia neighborhood that will roll up and will allow vehicles to come in, the doors will come down. They'll offload kit and supply; doors will come back up and they'll be gone. But we have to be very, very sensitive to the neighborhood. We're butted right up against Belgravia, where Florence Nightingale once lived. We're down the street from both The Lanesborough and The Peninsula Hotel.

The Lanesborough used to be the old King George's Hospital. There's a history of healthcare right around Buckingham Palace. Yeah, it's kind of a return full circle by putting a hospital there and a real privilege for it to be Cleveland Clinic. The fifth floor looks right out in the Queen's backyard. She can see us, and we can see her. Well, we can't see her, [Both laugh], but she can certainly see us. I think those patients that are privileged enough to get hospital bed up there are going to have other distractions while they're recovering from their conditions.

Brian Bolwell, MD: When did we start thinking about an outpatient facility and was the process similar? Did we find a suitable facility, or did we knock on somebody's door and say, "Hey, is this for sale?"

Bill Peacock: There's an established outpatient day case neighborhood called Harley Street in Central London. It's just north of Oxford Circus. That area is replete with what I would call town home type residence. If you were to walk down in their basements, you'd think you're walking into a fully built out ICU at Cleveland Clinic in the J Building. They're hidden, but it's full of specialists up and down the street. It's remarkable the exterior structures, what they hide behind, almost like a Hollywood set. We certainly looked there. We looked across the market. We looked for something proximal because our paradigm is to have our outpatient fairly close so our specialists can move back and forth.

We found something proximal. Ultimately, it didn't work out, didn't pan out. We had it booked into our financial plan. We didn't actually start the search until we knew the hospital construction was approved and the use of the building was approved. We phased the search for the medical office building to that pivotal decision point, and then we began that search. I'd say, we probably looked at about 25, 30 properties. We actually have a second one that we're working on too. Little known fact, that one will be in the central part of the business part of the city, 55 Moorgate. But the one that's open is right across from BBC. Imagine you're in New York and you're out there and you can look into the window of Fox News or CNN, the same sort of setup right across the street.

Brian Bolwell, MD: We opened that outpatient facility a couple months ago. And by all accounts, it's gone very, very well.

Bill Peacock: It has. It has. It really has. I was there for both the activation of the space and watching the mock drills, and then I had the chance to be there with it in operation. We have both employed physicians, we have privileged private practice physicians to watch the management of the patient from check in to their place of service. It is seamless. It's very hands-on. The physical attributes of the building are very, very impressive, very stately, exterior, very clean interiors. You would feel like you were in Cleveland Clinic in one of our best facilities.

Brian Bolwell, MD: I've had the opportunity to meet with all of the clinical leaders at Cleveland Clinic London, and it's an extraordinarily impressive group of people. I think that, just so our listeners know, our chief of staff over there and our CEO, Tommaso Falcone, and Brian Donley, have done a remarkable job recruiting people, as have our people in Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. But most recently, I've gotten to know a little bit the leaders in the UK. Very impressive group. And as you alluded to, I mean, certainly thematically in today's talk, Bill, you've expressed the importance of relationships. When it comes to delivering clinical care, the relationship between the physician and the patient is of paramount importance, as is the relationship of the nursing staff with the patients.

I think that for you to say that as you walk into the outpatient facility it feels like the Cleveland Clinic here and it runs very well, that's got a lot to do with the people, the operations, and the leadership of there. Pivoting to leadership, I long believe that work is about relationships. Clearly you do too. Do you want to expand on how those relationships help you be an effective leader?

Bill Peacock: Absolutely. I think the relationships have to be in multiple directions. They have to be... My first thought is, is that it's very easy for a leader to think their relationships are only down to their direct reports and that's what they need to do. But as you escalate in an organization to positions of greater responsibility or span, what's important is that your relationships with your peer group are on target and that they're maintained. One of the things that I think is interesting is the frequency of contact with the chief nursing officer, with the chief financial officer, with the chief of strategy is incredibly important.

It better informs my team that I steward over how to prioritize, where to put their level of effort, where we may not be meeting the expectations of our caregivers or our patients or our board. It helps me be a better leader of my team. It helps me understand how I can support the future vision of the organization. I think it's important for the relationships to be managed and managed with frequency, a lot of care and feeding down and horizontally, up too, particularly if you've got to deal with trustees and directors and other company execs.

Brian Bolwell, MD: One of the things that I like to do with my clinical leadership peers is talk to them. In today's world, emails are so common.

Bill Peacock: Oh yeah.

Brian Bolwell, MD: But I really like cell phones and just picking up the phone and giving somebody a call. I can tell our listeners that really ever since Bill joined the clinic, even though I'm not very important to what he does, I always had an ability to pick up a phone and give Bill a call and Bill would answer it. That's been incredibly important, in a working relationship. But also, another theme that you mentioned earlier in today's talk, Bill, is the importance of trust. I really think that's essential. But boy, I think the ability simply to give somebody a call is something that's underappreciated. I've always appreciated the fact that we have that kind of relationship.

Bill Peacock: I've always appreciated it too. I watch my kids today, even my adult children try to communicate with me with text. I do pick up the phone. Conversation avoidance today, it's something that I think we all have to work on. I think that we do have to work picking up phone more often. But thank you for mentioning that. I appreciate it.

Brian Bolwell, MD: Another thing you alluded to is for us to achieve London successfully, we needed to learn from what we did in Abu Dhabi. That speaks to organizational memory. We did an earlier podcast about contextual intelligence and that alludes to concepts of paying attention, not just to what's going on in the present, but learning from the past and then trying to predict the future. How do we maintain organizational memories, so we don't repeat mistakes and we learn from what we've done?

Bill Peacock: A couple of ways. One way is to honor the organization's memory. Today, we'll unveil the Centennial hallway down at the entrance to the Miller pavilion. We'll honor Pat McCartan, one of our former directors and a great advisor to Cleveland Clinic. But I think what's going to be most fascinating about that change to our main entryway is a history wall. We used an outside consultant who helped us take an enormous part of our historical content. It will be right in everyone's faces. You have the ability to move through the years and see the leaders and see the patients. That's on a visual standpoint.

On a strategic or on a daily standpoint working with your people and your peers, I think it's important to allow time to bring some of those stories of past experiences up. It's important for a group to digest upon those experiences and absorb and appreciate, because many times the opportunity is the same. It's just some of the people have changed. I think about that organizational memory. I think about all of the things that we walked across as we broke regulatory hurdles in the UAE. We need to remember those for the next jurisdiction or geography that we go into. Just to stop and reflect and not just boldly march in because, "Well, we did Abu Dhabi. We did London." We have to stop and reflect on what did we learn. Okay, what are we possibly going to walk into here, and how can we do it better?

Brian Bolwell, MD: Bill, do you have any final leadership tenets that you think are paramount to achieve successful leadership?

Bill Peacock: I think probably the most important one is if given the opportunity to lead and the opportunity to steward over great number of people and resources of either a company that you own or a company that you're given to lead, I think the most important thing is grace. Grace because you've been given an enormous amount of power, but you need to step back and really look at the organization and the people, listen to what they're telling you. You need to lead, but you need to lead with grace as well. That's kind of the word that I think about a lot. Appreciation for the people that are showing up. I think how important it's right now just to really be graceful with this workforce with all they're contended with over two years of pandemic.

I mean, we're going into our third year of a war and people haven't had a chance to rotate back home like we did in the military and get away from it. They've had to fight for two straight years and they're getting ready to possibly fight into a third. I think we, as leaders, need to be understanding here. We still need to lead. We still need to drive the organization that goes into this next a hundred years.

Brian Bolwell, MD: I think that's a great perspective, and I certainly share with you our appreciation of our workforce. I think for me, that's probably been my biggest learning over my leadership career is learning how important it is to support your people and your workforce. And that can't be overemphasized. Grace and humility, sometimes that's not always in a huge supply with physician leaders, but certainly it's I think a very, very positive goal. I think the most successful leaders do have grace and humility. I think it's a very good leadership principle that sometimes isn't discussed enough. Thank you for that.

Bill Peacock: You bet. You bet.

Brian Bolwell, MD: Any final thoughts as we wrap up?

Bill Peacock: This was fun. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Appreciate the chance to share a little bit.

Brian Bolwell, MD: Well, thank you so much, Bill. This has been a great podcast. To our listeners, thank you very much and we'll see you on our next podcast and have a wonderful day.

This concludes this episode of Beyond Leadership. You can find additional podcast episodes on our website,, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. We welcome any topic ideas you may have for future episodes, comments and questions about this, or any past episode. You can let us know by emailing us at [email protected].

Beyond Leadership
Beyond Leadership VIEW ALL EPISODES

Beyond Leadership

Host Dr. Brian Bolwell escorts you through a network of thought leaders, sharing world-class insight on leadership and cutting-edge hospital management approaches. They will inspire and perhaps compel you to reinvent your practices – and yourself.

Developed and managed by Cleveland Clinic Global Executive Education.

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