• Article
  • December 3, 2019

Leadership Tip: Succeed by Seeking Other Opinions

Why one children's hospital leader always solicits help and outside opinions.

As president and CEO of Rady Children's Institute for Genomic Medicine (RCIGM) at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, Stephen Kingsmore heads a team on the leading edge of innovation in health care. Among their accomplishments is a world record for speed in genome sequencing, but Kingsmore says a key to success is soliciting help from outside the team.

"Get another opinion," says Kingsmore, M.D., DSc. "We are pioneering new stuff, so the playbook hasn't been written yet. I've found that you make a lot fewer mistakes if you ask people open-ended questions." 

Leveraging "more and more experts"

Kingsmore practices what he preaches. RCIGM has two oversight bodies to help guide the institute's work toward making whole genome sequencing a standard of pediatric health care. Its scientific advisory board is made up of world-renowned scientists and the members of its board of directors have excelled across various fields including business, genomics and health care. The institute taps into the expertise of these committees on a regular basis. "I am so dependent on running my ideas by experts—and then more and more experts," Kingsmore says.

What sets great leaders apart

Kingsmore says this approach is integral to success, even if the notion may seem counterintuitive. "It's the complete opposite of the common idea of leadership," Kingsmore says. "A great leader realizes they don't know everything. The worst leader thinks they know all the answers."

Read more about genome sequencing and how Rady Children's is using artificial intelligence to expand access to larger populations of children.

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