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This episode highlights Bill Russell's positive experiences at Augusta National Golf Club, highlighting several aspects that make the place special. These aspects include excellent training, treating staff well, partnering with the local community, embracing a break from technology, the benefits of exclusivity, and fostering a culture of kindness. The speaker praises Augusta National's leadership for creating a welcoming environment and forging partnerships with local universities and other organizations. The exclusivity of the venue adds a sense of value and specialness, while the absence of cell phones allows for more meaningful interactions between people. Overall, the speaker emphasizes the importance of kindness and the impact it has on the experience of everyone involved.


Today in Health it. I'm gonna share my top 10 lessons that I learned from the Masters Golf Tournament last weekend. As you know, Fridays are my time to riff and I learned a ton and I think it's gonna be relevant, so I thought I would share it. My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week Health, A set of channels dedicated to keeping Health IT staff current.

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All right. Friday morning riff. Here you go. I went to the Master's golf tournament last week. It was an exceptional experience. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it, even if you're not into golf. In fact, if you're not familiar with the Masters, you probably have no interest in golf. Still worth.

Such a beautiful piece of land, such a beautiful property, incredible tradition, great just atmosphere all around. , and I, you know, for those who aren't familiar, I'm gonna do my top 10 things that I learned. And I, I think you will find that this post has, is a lesson in relevance, right? They do a lot of things really well at this tournament and have done so over the years, which really makes it, , just an exceptional event.

And so for those of you who aren't familiar with it, Bobby Jones, one of the preeminent golfers in the early 20th century. Essentially, , , won a lot of amateur titles, , held them all at the same time. So he, he was one of the premier golfers of his day. When he retired, , he wanted to do an invitational for his friends, a tournament, , a tournament of champions, if you will.

And so he went to Augusta, Georgia, he found some land, , and partnered with some people and built, , what is considered probably one of the preeminent golf courses in in the world. , which is Augusta National Golf Club. And it's pristine. The flowers are amazing. The grass is amazing. It's just the, to be on that property is, is unbelievable.

And so they, , they, he built this course and he did the Augusta National Invitational, , that first year, and I think 50 semi golfers. So that's the, the humble beginnings of this tournament. And now it's one of the hardest tickets to get in all of, , sports, right? To get an invitation to the, to the masters or to, to somehow get a ticket is, , is, is, you know, considered like you've won the lottery in, , circles of people that are interested in golf.

So let me give you my top 10 lessons. Having walked the grounds for, , the better part of a couple of days there. So number one, your legacy can be changed with time and intention. I remember when I was younger, And watching the masters, there was a big, , kerfuffle, if you will, that , Augusta National was an exclusive club and they didn't allow women in and they were holding the line and they were sort of doing battle with these women's groups and that kind of stuff, and that was starting to become their legacy and where they were going and they could get away with it.

They had enough money, they had enough tradition, they had enough momentum, they were getting away. But that's what they were, they were getting away with it. , in walks a new, , chairman Fred Ridley, and he has a very different approach, and I, I think your legacy can be changed with time and intention.

And Fred Ridley looked at that legacy and said, no, that's not gonna be our legacy. And women are now a part of the legacy. There are, , prominent women who are members at Augusta National. , Condoleezza Rice is probably the most famous of. But, , there are others as well, and they also, , you know, from their, their exclusivity is something I think that's a, that's a strength and I'm gonna come back to that later.

But, , because they're exclusive, they didn't want to have that be their legacy of exclusivity and Right. So how do you share that with the community? And they have gone out and they've partner. , with a lot of different organizations for, , golf in Asia, golf in South America and other places, , golf for children, , underprivileged.

There's a belief that the foundation of golf will teach integrity, will teach, , following the rules will teach, , competition. There's a lot of good things that you learn through playing golf. It's a, it's a game of honor, and, and so they want to spread that as far as they can. And as far as the women's legacy, , they went out, , I think four years ago.

I'm, I'm gonna get this wrong. It's, it's three or four years ago. Don't hold me to it. , but they partnered with the Women's Amateur and they created the Augusta National Women's, , amateur Championship. And it's a phenomenal tournament. It's highly sought after. It's, it's, it's a great invitation to be a part of and to play on those exclusive grounds really is amazing, , for those competi.

And so that's the first thing. Your legacy can be changed with time and intention. If you have a, if you're heading down a bad path with time and intention, you can change that, that legacy that you are building. , number two. Humility is not about bad foundation from which to build your future. , two things on this.

One is when they first went to name the masters the chairman and Bobby Jones got together and the chairman said, I want to call it the Masters because it was an invitation to champions. And he's like, these are the best of the best. We want it to be that. And, , Bobby Jones just recoiled from that. It's just, no, we're not gonna do it.

It took him five years to relent and a lot of people saying, no, this, that's what it is. It's the masters. And , so that finally became its legacy. The other thing I will say is, , there was a lot of rain over this weekend. So they had to finish, they had to do something that they normally don't do, and they started on the back nine and on the front nine, and the players who were on the lower end of the leaderboard were on the back nine to start, which means they finished on the front nine.

I was walking down number one, and a group of those golfers were walking up on the last day on the, the fourth round of the masters. And there weren't much in the way of fans. There. I mean, there were some, but there wasn't much in the way. They were following the leaders who had moved to the back nine, but I, it, it dawned on me at that.

These people are playing in the final round of the masters. This is like one of the most amazing golf tournaments in the world. To be playing in the final round of the masters is a huge honor. And even though the, the, the lines that it wasn't lined with, with, , fans, cheering them on or watching them, , you can't take that away from them, and there's a certain amount of humility that goes with that.

They were not John Rob, they were not, , , Brooks Keka. They were not, , Jordan Spe. They, those people had lots of followers. Because they, they teed off on the front nine and they were, , heading in into the back in Phil Nicholson, and they were potential leaders heading into the back nine. , but again, humility, not a bad foundation from which to build your future.

, you know, in some ways maybe you have to be playing in the final round of the masters before you can win. , the Masters and have all those fans. , number three, tradition is important and should be cherished. , the Masters is built on tradition. They have so many really interesting, , traditions in, , in and around Augusta.

They have Amen Corner and they tell the story of Amen Corner. And they have, , the fact that they sell pimento and cheese sandwiches for a buck 50. That's one of their traditions. , Magnolia Lane. , there's just so many things that they have built up as a tradition. , the, the, the par three golf tournament for, , the players and their kids.

If you haven't seen any pictures of that, it's really special. I mean, the, the players once a year, it's like, bring your kid to work day and your kid gets the caddy for you and you let them put on the green and it's just, , you know, tradition is important. It should be cherished. I will tell one negative story.

Not of Augusta National, but, , my health system was purchased, , was acquired by another health system. They were both Catholic health systems. And in one of the first meetings, , we were, it was instilled in us the importance of the traditions of the Sisters of St. Joseph and carrying on, , the history in the tradition of, of Catholic healthcare in our country.

And one of the first meetings, , I've met with some of, , the leaders of the other organiz. And, , they pretty much communicated to us that that was not, they, they almost didn't care about those traditions. It was about moving the business forward and those kinds of things. And it was really disappointing, , to hear.

And it was pretty much at that point that I knew I would not be a part of that organization moving forward. Not that that tradition couldn't have surfaced and that tradition wasn't maybe in the other leaders within the organization really a. Who they were, but the direct leaders I was gonna be working with were sort of like, yeah, whatever.

And that was, , very disheartening. , number four, good process makes your staff shine. , they had a, a store there and I don't know the number, somebody said a hundred million. I can't imagine this that much, but over the week they have multiple tournaments and, and that kind of stuff. And they may bring in a hundred million in that store regardless.

The process is amazing. , the, , from the lines that they have to, you check out and as soon as you check out, you can walk into this, , place for shipping and they will scan your, , your driver's license. While you're in that line. They'll give you a, a checkout thing. When you get to the front, you hand them that you're already checked in.

They don't have to type a whole heck of a lot of stuff in there. You know, , do you want insurance or not? Boom, boom. And they take your stuff and they, what the person told me is within 15 minutes, that's on a truck heading to the distribution center to get back to your house. Great. Good processes make your staff shine when you think through the processes, when you build them out and make your staff shine.

Especially in healthcare, if we build good processes, your staff will. , great training leads to great experiences. I talked to a bunch of the workers there because I wanted to understand what Augusta does to train them to get them ready. They are incredibly well trained and they le their training leads to great experiences.

They are the kindest people. They were, you know, even though there was lines and those kind of things, it was, , it was almost a pleasure to be in that line cuz every so many feet you were talking to another. , guest representative who was pleasant to talk to and had stories of Augusta and people they'd run into and stuff.

It was, it was fantastic. So great training, at least the great experiences. , number six, treating your staff well. Makes them loyal and conscientious. There was people I talked to, there was one, , student from a program that was, intern's probably the wrong word, , but volunteer. Volunteer, but through this program, and it was a hospitality program, one of the universities.

You know, he, he had come back, , three years in a row. He said, this is far and away just so exceptional of, of an experience. And he just absolutely loves it. In fact, he had brought his friend and his friend was there in line, , with us, , as volunteers. They were in line to buy some merchandise with me.

And so I got to talk to them for a little while about their program and what they were looking to do in the future. This is what I do. I do interviews and I tend to take it. It's actually, I think the other thing is true. I like to learn from people and hear from them. Therefore, that's what I do for a living.

I do interviews anyway regardless. Great training leads to great experiences, , and treating your staff well, makes them loyal and conscientious and they recommend other people to work there. , number seven, partnering with your community is always, Good business. It's amazing what, , Augusta National has done in that com.

In and around that community. You see the, , the marks of it. And I heard people talking on the radio station as we were going away of the, the partnerships with, , local universities. They're creating a program for. , essentially, , grounds, groundskeeper's the wrong word. , there's a, there's a lofty title for that, , agricultural engineer.

I don't know what it is, but essentially if you can work on the grounds at Augusta and learn from them on what they've done. We were walking across the crosswalks on this grass and there was people walking across it all day in the rain and all sorts of stuff. And I looked down at the grass and I thought, that's amazing.

Still green still looked nice. It was just amazing. So there's a lot of engineering that goes on on that course. There's a lot of education that goes on on that course. And so they have partnered with the community to create a program at one of the Augusta colleges, , to have people come through there.

, number eight, a time away from technology is good. One of the, one of the things they do not allow is your cell phone or any kind of communication device. And it was interesting. We're sitting on a. That last day watching the tournament, and you knew what was going on before we did, but because none of us had phones, none of us had phones.

When they changed the scoreboard, there was like an audible gasp or a cheer or those kinds of things. You can't create that environment if people have their cell phones. Some people learn before, other people some. There's the advantage of technology. I'll tell you the other thing is you have a lot more conversations with strangers and people and people around you if you don't have your cell phone, a time away from technology's good.

Number nine, exclusive has its place in our world. This is probably one of the more controversial things I'm gonna. , and I will say that, , Augusta National is one of the most exclusive places on the planet, but because of that exclusiveness, it is highly valued by the players to play there, to win there, to be invited there.

The women's amateur,

The young golfers and the kids who get to participate in the drive putt and chip challenge. , I think it's special for them. The, the winner of the masters. I think one of the reasons it's, it's a coveted trophy for the pros is because they get a lifetime exemption to that. And so you have Freddy Couples playing in this.

He's 61 years old. He has really no business being on the same course as these 22 to 35 year old professionals in their prime. But because he's invited back, he gets to play. And because of that, we get the opportunity to see a. 60 year old person who actually makes the cut. He plays well enough in the first two days to make the cut.

Now it was pouring down rain, it was freezing, and he eventually didn't do well over the weekend. But, you know, that's the benefits of being young. But that is one of the things that makes this thing special. And because it's so exclusive, it is so sought after , there's a specialness to it.

And so we want exclusive places. There are places that need to be exclusive here's the example in nature. , I went to Glacier National Park last year, and you actually have to get reservations to go in Glacier National Park. Now the reason for that is safety. However, because of that, it is a special place because only so many people get in.

It's a special place, and you feel that when you're on the. And so I, I think exclusivity has its place in the world, and , there is, , a specialness to those places that are exclusive. I, and I really, again, applaud against the national for giving more and more opportunities for people not only within the United States, but around the world to participate in the event, to come on the grounds, to, , be a part of this, , really just special place and.

The, the last thing I'm going to say is kindness begets kindness. I stood in a lot of lines at the, , Augusta National Golf Club and the spirit of the people who are serving there was kindness, and what they received back was kindness. I don't know how you train this. I don't know if you hire to, But it was very interesting how, , I don't know, just open people were to talking to each other.

They were sharing with each other, , I think it started with the staff. It starts with the leadership and it works its way all the way down. It's just a, a special time and a special place. , and everyone has that spirit about 'em. And so there's very few places that we go to anymore where you just go, oh my gosh, everybody was so.

, from the workers to the patron. To the golfers who are giving themselves and signing autographs and doing all this stuff. It's, it's a special week, and they've created that atmosphere and , it's a testament to the culture and it's a testament to the, , to the leadership who looked at the legacy and said, We're going to create a different legacy, one of partnership, one of, , openness.

And oddly enough, even though it's an exclusive place, one of inclusiveness, and, hopefully you get something out of those 10 things that, , you know, we are all creating a legacy. There's an opportunity either within our departments, within our teams, , within our families. That we can look at our legacy and it can be changed over time with intention.

, humility is a good thing, , and a good foundation for things. , constantly be learning, constantly be asking questions. , cherish those traditions even down to your family. Anyway, , I, I shared those things. Hopefully you got something out of it. That's all for today.

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