Brian Goldman: Leaning into Uncertainty


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Our guest Brian Goldman is a longtime staff physician at Sinai Health System, and a podcaster – host of White Coat, Black Art on CBC Radio One and the CBC podcast The Dose. He’s also the author of three books.

Many people who read his most recent book The Power of Teamwork have an ah-ha moment when they realize that they’re not actually working on a team but a group. As Brian explains, many teams flounder because the members of that team are more focussed on individual goals than team goals, they haven’t had much input in setting those goals, and they don’t help one another.

Whether it’s in healthcare, the military, aviation or a corporate environment, for real team problem-solving to happen, Brian says everybody must feel safe to say what they see. That means breaking down longstanding hierarchies, taking chances and leaning into uncertainty.


“Everybody talks fast. Everybody wants to cut to the bottom line, get to the answer quickly. And that is death to a team meeting.” - BG

“We hate uncertainty so much that we prematurely close conversations.” – BG

“To me the Rosetta Stone was meeting Alexa Miller at dotmd 2019 and eventually forging a friendship with her. I think the world of her and think Visual Thinking Strategies really deserves a stronger public airing.” – BG

“You have to know their superpower because you have to position them to function on a team that brings out the best in them, that doesn’t keep asking them to do what they’re not best at.” – BG

“You know you’re in a silo if you tend to see the world as insiders and outsiders.” – BG

“The highest compliment people tell me is that they feel I’ve taken them into the world of medicine, to my side of the gurney, and they understand more than they did before.” – BG

“I firmly believe that medicine has become so complex there is no ‘I alone’ anymore. We can’t understand everything, know everything. I’ve discovered that I work better in an environment where I can be prompted.” – BG

“Cross-over wisdom is something we practice a lot at HIROC and we do it on our team, speaking to people outside our sector – we learn a lot from looking at things from a new lens.” - PDS

Mentioned in this Episode:

Sinai Health System

White Coat Black Art

The Dose

Alexa Miller - Visual Thinking Strategies

Dr. Joel Thorp Katz

Emily Mathieu

Erin Byrnes

Dotmd – A Festival of Medical Curiosity

Dr. Trevor Jain

The Spy Who Knew Too Much by Howard Blum

The Ezra Klein Show

Dr. Teodor Grantcharov - The OR Black Box

David N. Titcher

Save the Date – the 2022 HIROC Conference

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