Two Days in August: Highlights from the 2013 Global Leadership Summit

dream1.jpgEvery time that I attend the Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit I think that it can’t get better than the previous year, but every year it seems to do just that. The 2013 GLS that was held on August 8 & 9 was no exception. This two-day event brought together a stellar group of faculty who spoke to the true heart of leadership and challenged leaders to find the courage necessary to lead themselves and their organizations more effectively.

Here is a list of the highlights from the GLS that really challenged me. Any leader who wants to improve their leadership and the health of their organization could benefit greatly from applying these principles and reflecting on these valuable insights.

Bill Hybels

  • Every vision that God births in you is going to put your courage to the test.
  • Leaders often lack one thing: basic bravery.
  • Leaders must have the courage to define the current reality of their organization.
  • People join organizations; they leave managers.
  • Staff cultures will only ever be as healthy as the top leader wants them to be.
  • Some of the most rewarding experiences in a leader’s marathon often occur late in the race.

Colin Powell

  • Leaders inspire people to reach beyond themselves.
  • Each individual has a purpose; leaders must bring those together collectively to achieve the vision.
  • Take care of your “troops.” Have a destination. Execute.
  • Leaders are problem-solvers. If people stop bringing you problems, then that means they think you don’t care or won’t solve the problem.
  • When developing leaders, you have to look more at their potential than their past performance.

Patrick Lencioni

  • People leave jobs because they are miserable.
  • First sign of a miserable job: anonymity. This occurs when no one notices you or gets to know you.
  • Second sign: irrelevance. This happens when you don’t think your job matters to anyone else.
  • Third sign: immeasurement.  People need to know if they are doing a good job, and they must have some way to gauge their progress.
  • Leaders must help people connect to why they are serving others.

Joseph Grenny

  • Leadership is intentional influence.
  • Don’t just teach principles; help people connect to values.
  • Leaders must create an environment where bad behavior is harder and more conscious for people and good choices are easier and more obvious.
  • If our religious experience isn’t translating into other habits and experiences, we aren’t leading.

Vijay Govindarajan

  • Leaders must strike a balance between improving operational efficiency while also innovating for the future.
  • Three-box strategy: manage the present; selectively abandon the past; create the future.
  • Innovation Formula: Idea + Leader + Team + Plan
  • Innovation is about value for many. Do more with less (without sacrificing quality).
  • The role of an innovative leader is to be humble and to harness the abilities of their organization.

Brené Brown

  • Disengagement gap: the space between what is professed and what is practiced.
  • What kills love kills an organization.
  • If you want to be innovative, pray for lots of mistakes. Without failure, there can be no innovation.
  • Blame is the simple discharging of pain and discomfort.
  • You must choose courage or comfort, but you can’t have both.

Other Great Quotes and Insights

  • Liz Wiseman: Multipliers amplify and grow the intelligence of others.
  • Chris Brown: Don’t get caught up in the great things of leadership if they take you away from the God things of leadership.
  • Bob Goff: See people for who they are becoming.
  • Mark Burnett: Choose your companions before you choose your road.
  • Oscar Muriu: To be alone is to waste an opportunity to be a mentor.
  • Henry Cloud: Your life is a movie, not a scene. The opposite of bad is not good; the opposite of bad is love.

This is just a quick overview of the high points and key takeaways that I gleaned from the Summit. I hope you gained something from reading and pondering these insights on leadership. You really have to be there to experience the full impact of what is being shared and what you are being challenged to do as a result.

The Global Leadership Summit is simply the best leadership event I’ve ever attended. If you have not participated, make plans to attend the next one in August 2014! Learn more here.

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