Shares with Students: “It’s the Soft Skills in Life That Will Shape Your Success”
Few individuals represent the enduring and powerful relationship between community and university than this year’s commencement speaker and Honorary Doctorate Award recipient, Louis (Lou) LeCalsey, III.
In his address to Saturday’s Spring 2016 Commencement audience, Lou shared the “Life Lessons in Practical Leadership and Success Working with and Through People” that he’s personally experienced from a career that encapsulates athletics, the military, business, community and family.
Acknowledging that today’s graduating class is leaving the University with a tool kit filled with both hard skills and soft skills, he noted: “I believe your soft skills of working effectively with and through people to achieve target outcomes will largely shape the extent of your relative competitive success.”
With that in mind, LeCalsey offered graduates seven key thoughts on leading and working through people that he’s found helpful in delivering desired results and success in life:
- Leadership is exhibiting behaviors and communicating in a way which promotes people wanting to work together to achieve target outcomes… even (and especially) when under pressure and things are going badly.
- Leadership is based on earned respect and trust and never on an organization structure and a job title.
- A primary incumbency as a leader is to develop other leaders.
- Change is the only constant you will have in your career. Embrace it as an opportunity to refresh and generate new energy toward new objectives.
- Always treat your co-workers, subordinates and superiors with the respect, dignity and fairness with which you want to be treated.
- When working with others in a team environment there are four rules to remember:
- First, don’t guess….deal in data and facts.
- Second, be honest…always.
- Third , always deal with issues and never with personalities.
- And fourth , always focus on outcomes and do not get caught up in the minutiae and tasks which lead to the superordinate target outcomes.
- Last but most important, have fun! You will spend more time in a work week at your job than at home so you need to enjoy your work…..or look for something else where you can hardly wait to get to the place where you enjoy working and being with your co-worker teammates. Having fun and truly enjoying your work is the primary difference between a job and a career.
About Lou LeCalsey
LeCalsey’s affinity for, and commitment to, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay date back to the University’s early years when the Philadelphia native began putting down roots in Northeast Wisconsin. Working in manufacturing for Fortune 100 Scott Paper, he was eager to stay involved in coaching the sport he loved, soccer.
A 1962 graduate of Franklin & Marshall College (Lancaster, PA), he was a star soccer goalkeeper. In the mid-60s, he became the founding men’s head soccer coach at the UW-Green Bay, with his 1969 and 1970 teams going 22-4-2, ranking nationally, and receiving the University’s first post-season tournament bid in any sport and effectively putting UW-Green Bay athletics on the map during the University’s infancy.
What the University didn’t know at that time was that LeCalsey was just getting started. After a
30-year professional business career with Scott Paper, he moved into the role of President and CEO of Tufco Technologies, a market leader in dry and wet wipes converting and printing. Under his leadership, the Green Bay-based Tufco was reinvented and grew from $12.5 million in annual sales with 65 employees to more than $122 million with roughly 400 employees. Tufco Technologies is now North America’s largest contract manufacturer of branded wet and dry wipes.
During this time of incredible growth for the company, LeCalsey continued to share his time and talents with the University. For the past 18 years his primary non-work commitment has been in serving as the founding Chair of the UW-Green Bay Council of Trustees and, since its inception in 2010 through May 2015, as founding President of the UW-Green Bay Foundation.
The Council of Trustees provides counsel and advice to the chancellor on innovative ideas and initiatives and communicates institutional objectives and goals to the community at large, while the Foundation oversees the development and implementation of friendraising and fundraising plans. Both teams work in tandem to create a margin of excellence for the student learning experience at the University and are critical in the University’s long-term sustainability, growth and service to community.
Retiring from Tufco Technologies in 2012, LeCalsey now provides management consulting (Boston Consulting, LLC and Differentiating Strategies of Oshkosh, Wisconsin) for companies nationwide while still providing additional, unparalleled leadership to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He remains active as Chair of the Council of Trustees and plays an active role in the group’s Advocacy Committee, charged with advocating on behalf of UW-Green Bay interests with state legislators, the UW-System and regents and community leaders in the Northeast Wisconsin region and the state. He is a highly valued and trusted advisor to the Chancellor and his leadership team. Additionally, he has been a guest lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Cofrin School of Business.
His accomplishments to collegiate athletics and institutional advancement in Philadelphia and Wisconsin have been duly recognized. LeCalsey was inducted into the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000 and remains an active supporter of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay athletics, particularly soccer. He was also inducted into the Franklin & Marshall Athletics Hall of Fame in September 2011. In 2001, LeCalsey received the Chancellor’s Award (the University’s highest recognition of community members) for his service to UW-Green Bay as Chair of the Chancellor’s Council of Trustees. He was also the first awardee to be recognized with University of Wisconsin-Green Bay honorary alumnus status, conferred by Chancellor Shepard in March 2003. On May 14, 2016 the University bestowed one additional honor: The honorary degree of Doctor of Law.