A little mechanical innovationgoes a long way: “Even though the first cochlear implant looked like an office fridge that was sitting next to the patient, that was the beginning of something we never would have done without him [engineer Jack Urban]. And we see that over and over again. … When I go downstairs to that exhibit hall, there’s so much technical innovation that goes on that we embrace as otolaryngologists.”
Explore This IssueJune 2011
Life is not a race to the end: “Everybody’s anxious to get to this goal or that goal and you know, you should look around every once in a while…. You have to stop and have some fun along the way. Share information with your colleagues. Talk to them about things that worry you. Be straightforward, you know? Everything isn’t always perfect. And if you share things that aren’t perfect with you, then you’ll hear things that aren’t perfect with your friends, and all of a sudden the two of you together can form a solution to the problem.”
Always do the right thing: “If you ever have a situation that occurs and you’re trying to figure out what to do, just drop back and say, ‘How am I going to explain this tomorrow to somebody who didn’t have anything to do with this? How will I explain this to my friends and colleagues?’ And if you can’t come up with an instant explanation, then you probably shouldn’t do what you’re aspiring to do.
You can delegate authority, but not responsibility: “When you know something and you delegate the authority, you still absorb the responsibility for what happened. You can delegate authority but not responsibility. And you should never forget that.”
In research, persistence pays off: “They [residents] go in the lab for a little while and sometimes they give up… And then somebody later does the same thing and they hear it at a meeting and they say, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I actually thought of that idea and here it is being presented by somebody else.’ Well you know what? If you had hung with it, maybe you’d have given that talk.”
Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone. (A Pablo Picasso quote.): “If I think there’s something that needs to be done, I never like to think, ‘Oh, well, I’ll do that tomorrow. I’ll do that next week.’… I can promise you, if you see something that needs to be done and you don’t act on it, by the time the next day rolls around there’s going to be a whole bunch of the next day’s problems that you have to face that will bite you in the butt, as they say.”