Dr. Rita's Blog
My first edition newsletter was a huge success. Thank you for your comments and positive feedback. It is inspiring.
On April 7, I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Penny Wheeler, CEO, Allina Health, speak at the University of Minnesota Carlson School 1st Tuesday luncheon. The title of her speech: What's love got to do with it?
Everything or Nothing
I've been thinking about how love relates to leadership for some time now, so I was eager to hear how Dr. Wheeler was going to tie this together. She started by saying that when she shared her speech title with two of her friends she got two very different responses. One friend responded emphatically with, "Love has nothing to do with leadership," and the other friend responded with, "Love has everything to do with leadership."
As I started to write this article, I thought about how to define love in the context of leadership. I reviewed my notes from Dr. Wheeler's speech, looking for the prefect definition or quote. I couldn't find one.
Then it dawned on me. Love is about deep presence. Dr. Wheeler's presence was warm, solid, authentic. She knows what she stands for. She knows the numbers. She knows the members of her organization. She knows the trust that patients and their families place in her hands every day. She knows that health care in this country needs to change. She is determined to lead the way. She is open; curious. She listens intently.
She talked about her values aligning at work, at home and in her community. She said the congruency of her values in all areas of her life is what gives her life balance.
The luncheon was sold out. We all came curious. She captured our attention with the title of her speech. She drew us in with her story of how she was born at the most prominent hospital in the Allina Health System 56 years ago and spent her entire medical career being part of the organization. She's delighted to be at the helm. It's a labor of love for her.
What's love got to do with it? Everything.
On Tuesday morning, March 3rd, one of my dearest clients, Holly Klein, was killed in an early-morning car accident on I-94 outside of St. Cloud, Minnesota. I'd done a coaching session with Holly on Friday, exchanged emails with her on Monday and had a meeting on the calendar with her the following Friday. I was stunned when I got the news
The rest of the week I kept Holly's file on my desk. I just couldn't put it away. Holly was the third-generation president of her family's business. I drove into the sunset to attend her wake on Friday night. When I walked into the huge Catholic church, there were flowers and people everywhere. Everyone from vendors, employees, customers, friends and family had a story to share about how Holly had touched them.
Like Dr. Wheeler, Holly knew the numbers, she knew the business, she knew her employees, she knew her customers and she had a vision for the future. What mattered most, though, was how much she cared and how deeply she listened. The love in that church was palpable.
As I left that night, I drove east on I-94 with a beautiful full moon right in front of me. A question came into my mind that has not left me since: How do I live a life that inspires love wherever I go? Holding this question is making my life richer; it's bringing me into a deeper presence, one thought and one interaction at a time.
As leaders we touch lives wherever we go. What kind of touch do you have? Does love have everything to do with it or nothing at all?
Let me know you your thoughts.
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