Governor Heineman speaks as part of lecture series
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 12:10
Leadership brings many challenges, including making tough choices that aren’t popular, said Gov. Dave Heineman at the Peter Kiewit Institute (PKI) Distinguished Lecture Series.
Heineman spoke to UNO students and faculty on Oct. 23 at the Durham Museum about what it takes to be a great leader.
The Stanley and Dorothy Truhlsen Lecture Hall was nearly at its 256 person capacity. The formal event attracted Scott Scholars, PKI students and faculty, as well as other members of the Nebraska business community.
“The higher up you go on the ladder, the lonelier it is and the harder the challenges are,” Heineman said.
The speech stressed several aspects of being a great leader. Leadership begins with education and great leaders are life-long learners, he said. A leader must know his or her industry inside and out.
Leaders must have high ethical standards as their reputation is invaluable. It is easy to do the right thing with someone is watching. The hard part is doing the right thing behind the scenes.
With high ethical standards comes hard work. Leaders must be the hardest worker in the organization. Heineman related hard work ethics to college football. To be a great leader, Heineman said, you and your team must think like you’re winning a national championship every day.
The lecture turned to Heineman’s personal experience as governor of Nebraska. His two top priorities in the role have been education and jobs. High school education is no longer sufficient. If you want a good job you must now have a good secondary education. The goal, he said, is to keep jobs right here in Nebraska.
These goals are reflected in Nebraska’s economy. In the past several years, Nebraska has been consistently ranked as a top 10 state for businesses. The state’s unemployment rate is 3.9 percent, one of the lowest in the country. Heineman said he has been able to work with businesses, the legislature and local communities to create a business friendly environment.
Trade is also important to Nebraska’s economy. The state of Nebraska has opened new trade offices in Tokyo and Shanghai, something that was done in part because of Nebraska’s strong economy.
The Distinguished Lecture Series is part of the PKI Leadership Development Program with a mission to develop students of character with the leadership, communication, and teamwork skills needed for successful careers in business, industry and government. The goals of the lecture series are to foster personal growth across intellectual, social, leadership, physical and spiritual domains.
The intended outcome of the development program is to give student scholars key professional, social and business skills that round out their academic and intellectual growth. The lecture series has two lectures each year, in the fall and spring semesters.
One of the last topics Heineman touched on was the opportunities students will have if they apply themselves. Students must learn to reinvent themselves as an employee and a competitor every five to eight years. His final remarks were directed towards the Scott Scholars and the students of PKI.
“You’re going to have doors open to you that most students aren’t,” Heineman said. “Are you willing to make a difference.”