A Head of Lettuce, A Cabbage and Some Carrots

Beth Colvin
Jul 28, 2016

Lou Heckler, who parlayed a television journalism career into teaching, coaching and motivational speaking didn’t have a lot to work with at the Venice, Florida, hospital where he was asked to speak—due to a misunderstanding—as a nutritional humorist.

Which, of course, he is not. 

He is, however, an expert on leadership and displayed his talent in fine form with occasional bouts of humor. 

Effective leaders, he said, make good choices. They do three things: have a vision that can prompt action at every level; take responsibility for their organization; and listen to feedback. But,he warned, “excellence doesn’t mean perfection.” Perfection can stop people, he said, and gave an example your neighborhood fitness guru who spends his free time jogging and doing pushups.

When faced with him, the average person may feel less inclined to get outside themselves. A good leader understands that. They also listen to fresh voices in their organization and look for inspiration in unexpected places. 

“Listen to those fresh voices,” he said, and tap into all the constituencies in your organization. “Are you willing to enlist others and give up some of that control?” 

A good leader also brings their A-game every day. And that gets hard, Heckler said. “They bring energy and enthusiasm every day, and it ain’t easy.” It’s important for leaders to care for themselves, he said, to put themselves on the agenda. 

“Without wellness, nothing else comes.” 

Avoid repetition apathy, Heckler said, which is the instinct to do it the way it’s always been done. 

“We all need to have an opening night philosophy. Every day.”