Saturday, August 11, 2012

Awesome Days at the Leadership Conference

It's been a great few days. I've laughed, cried, spent time with old friends and made new ones, been inspired and challenged, and eaten some great food. We're in Chicago at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit.

Our first outing upon arrival was pizza at Lou Malnotti's, one of my favorite all-time restaurants. Thanks, Chicago, for creating deep dish pizza!

The conference began Thursday morning with Gungor playing "The Earth is Yours." I had tears in my eyes as we sang " Holy, holy, holy, holy, Lord.". It was beautiful.

That was just the beginning. Here are some things I learned over the two-day conference, from some experts on leadership:

    Bill Hybels

From Luke 8 - According to the parable of the sower, a certain percentage (75%) of the soil rejected the seed. In order to increase the number of seeds sown on fertile soil, we must sow more seed.

On leadership - a leader's most valuable asset is his energy and his ability to energize others.

One incredibly cool idea he mentioned offhand: set up small groups based on where people sit in church. All those people who never come to Sunday School? Include them in a group based on their section. 

Condoleezza Rice

Every life is worthy. If we just remember this one thing, our interactions with others will change dramatically.

On leadership - An important characteristic of a leader is irrepressible optimism.

(I could have listened to her all day. In fact, I was so busy listening, I didn't take many notes....)

    Jim Collins   

Great Organizations:

1) Have superior performance relative to their mission

2) Make a distinct impact: who would miss them if they were gone?

3) Achieve lasting endurance beyond any one leader. Succession planning is key.

  Craig Groeschel

A message to bridge the generation gap:

To the Older Generation: 
  • Don't fear, resent, or judge the younger generation; believe in them.
  • Don't delegate tasks, because you create followers. Delegate authority because you create leaders.
  • Embrace the season you're in. Authenticity trumps cool every time.
To the Younger Generation:
  • The older generation sees you as entitled.
  • You typically over-estimate what you can do in the short run, but grossly under-estimate what you can do in a lifetime of faithfulness.
  • Honor in public results in influence in private.
  • Respect is earned, but honor is given.

    Patrick Lencioni

To create a healthy organization, know why you exist. Sometimes it's not as obvious as you might think. Then, know what you do. Finally, communicate clearly to create alignment.

William Ury

Conflict resolution and negotiation:

One of the greatest powers in negotiation is the power NOT to react.

Figure out what each side needs and work toward the solution that works best for both parties. 

Go into any negotiation knowing the BATNA - the best alternative to negotiated agreement. Know what you will agree to besides your ideal outcome.

Finally - the most powerful idea I heard: make your enemies you friends.

Pranitha Timothy

This is a remarkable young wife and mother from India who risks her life to rescue people from slavery in her home country.  In her youth, she was known in college as CC, short for cold and calculated. Later  diagnosed with a large brain tumor, she was left with no voice at all after surgery. After two years, God restored her voice and she now uses it to His glory. Here are her core beliefs.
  1. We are all called to serve by a God who is already at work.
  2. This life belongs to God.
  3. God is good.

What a great two days, spent with great people, hearing amazing leaders! If you ever get a chance to go to this conference, it's worth the time and money! 

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