Dr. Richard Winters Was Too Transparent in Showing Billing Data to Physicians

Dr. Richard Winters Was Too Transparent in Showing Billing Data to Physicians


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My guest for Episode #194 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Richard Winters, M.D., an emergency physician at the Mayo Clinic. And he’s the author of YOU’RE THE LEADER. NOW WHAT? Leadership Lessons from Mayo Clinic.

As director of Leadership Development for the Mayo Clinic Care Network and as an executive coach, Dr. Winters provides coaching for Mayo Clinic leaders. 

Dr. Winters graduated from the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in 1994 and returned to Mayo Clinic in 2015. 

Previously, Winters served as managing partner of a democratic physician group, department chair of an emergency department, and president of an 800-physician medical staff.

In this episode, Dr. Winters tells his favorite mistake story about being a little too transparent with physicians in a meeting at Mayo Clinic. Why did so many physicians get upset about this discussion about data around billing practices? Why did it help for him to admit the mistake? How did he adjust and what did he learn from this mistake?

We also talk about questions and topics, including:

  • Was it a mistake to be so transparent?
  • Breaking down hierarchy and hearing the perspectives of others
  • Burnout in healthcare, not just doctors but nurses and others… bad before COVID, worse now?
  • Psychological well-being — 6 dimensions
  • What are key signs of burnout? How to recognize it and how to bring it up??
  • Is burnout different than depression?
  • A mistake to blame the person who is burned out? Resiliency training?
  • Fix the person or fix the environment?
  • Your book — the “now what?” Implies being thrown into a leadership role… is there enough formal leadership education, development, and mentoring in healthcare?
  • How are physicians taught about leading — and being parts of care teams — during medical school and residency? Formal education or seeing the behavior modeled by others?
  • Ronald Heifitztechnical vs adaptive challenges
  • Key differences in the leadership style at Mayo Clinic?
  • Responding to clinical mistakes… medical error, patient harm?
  • To you, what are the ideal leader behaviors?
  • There’s normally so much hierarchy in HC… what was the “democratic physician group” that you were a part of, what does that mean?

Scroll down to find:

  • Video of the episode
  • Quotes
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript

Find Dr. Winters on social media:

Watch the Full Episode:


"It's very important for leaders, especially within these sort of formal organizations... [to ask] how do we open it up so that we can hear the voices, the perspectives of others [who aren't formal leaders]?" Dr. Richard Winters
"There are leaders who lead through command and control and power, and 'this is what I say and this is what you do.' Those organizations do not tend to be so healthy long term. They don't tend to be as adaptive long-term." - Dr. Richard Winters
"Command and control could work very well in static environments where things aren't changing.When the dynamics start to change, then the blind spots of a leader get amplified throughout the organization." - Dr. Richard Winters

"[We need] ways of getting around those blind spots and means hearing from many different perspectives. And so you can still have a leader who's actually making the final decision, but if they're making that decision based on multiple different perspectives, jumping outside of themself, it's gonna be a lot more effective."  - Dr. Richard Winters

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.