Ignite Leadership Podcast – Dan Nielsen

Ignite Leadership Podcast – Dan Nielsen

Lessons from a Lifetime of Leadership in Healthcare and Business

Followell Ignite Leadership - Dan Nielsen (1)

A Lifetime Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (LFACHE), over the course of his career Dan has served as a hospital CEO, a senior leader and innovator of national healthcare education and networking programs, and a faculty member at four universities.

He has also launched several successful businesses and is the author of two books on leadership—“Be An Inspirational Leader: Engage, Inspire, Empower” (2017), and “Presidential Leadership: Learning from United States Presidential Libraries & Museums” (2013).

He offers keynotes, workshops, and team leadership development across America and is frequently consulted as a leadership mentor and coach.

Dan is passionate about helping others develop leadership excellence and achieve greater success—personally, professionally, and organizationally. His current businesses, America’s Healthcare Leaders and the Dan Nielsen Company, were both created to do just that.

By leveraging his unique life experiences and his gifts for writing and public speaking, it is Dan's mission to provide healthcare leaders and people from all industries and walks of life the resources they need to leverage their strengths and achieve greater success.

Show Notes

An avid historian, Dan showcased his love for photography and for leadership with his first book, “Presidential Leadership: Learning from United States Presidential Libraries & Museums."

In what sounds like an incredibly exciting adventure, Dan visited each of the United States Presidential Libraries, captured photos, and attempted to learn from the leadership of each of the men who has held this office.

This was a labor of love intended to transcend any partisan politics, and Dan believes that the lessons in leadership are valuable no matter what your political beliefs are.

What does success mean?
Dan grew up in the church - his father was a minister, and he believes in an atmosphere of service. What really makes him happy is that people he's been connected to for decades still reach out to him for recommendations and advice. These relationships and service truly define success.

Dan also loves to walk - his motto is, "keep moving!" While he walks, he listens to audiobooks and collects the thoughts that comprise his books. It's a time of day when he closes off the world and allows his mind to become engrossed in the words of experts from across the world.


Don't be afraid of failure

Dan is a strong believer that we are creatures with several powerful strengths and many shortcomings. It's only by leaning into our strengths and forgiving ourselves for the shortcomings that we're truly able to maximize our potential as leaders.

As a poor kid growing up in a small town in Alliance, Nebraska, Dan was motivated to make the most of himself despite a rocky start when it came to his education. He resolved to improve his own situation and believes in a strong foundation of spending less than you make, serving others, surrounding yourself with positive messages, and connecting with successful people around him.

How to be an effective mentor

Remembering how leaders have impacted his own life, one key point Dan mentions is that one of the best ways to engage the people you're leading is to engage them in things they're already interested in.

He tells the story of a pastor he encountered as a young man that understood his love of sports and how they'd spend time together playing ping-pong, which led to Dan joining the pastor's church and seeing him as a truly transformational figure in his life.


If you want to engage the people you're leading, engage them in the places and activities where they're already interested.

Advice for his younger self

In addition to advice like, "Follow your passion," Dan's key piece of advice for his younger self would be to "begin with the end in mind." To discover your purpose and understand the direction you want your life to take.

He advises that you never compete with other people, even though that's a challenge in today's workplace. Instead, collaborate and serve. Like Zig Ziglar said, "You can have anything you want if you'll help enough other people get what they want."

Next Steps

If you're looking for support in your own servant leadership, there's no better place to start than this podcast. Dan is a wealth of information and simply applying the lessons he shares in this episode will make any leader better.

But if you need an additional layer of support and a guide to keep you accountable to your goals as well as the purpose and vision you have for your life and your organization, there's no better place to start than with a free Discovery Session with The Followell Company.

In just 30 minutes, we'll uncover exactly what's holding you and your organization back as a leader and what steps you can take today to move in the right direction. If we both decide it's a good fit for us to travel that road together, great!

But if not, that's okay too, and you'll leave with valuable, tactical insight that you can apply right away to become a better leader.

Book your free Discovery Call today.

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