Saturday, August 11, 2007

Leadership Summit

This week I attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit at a satellite location in McKinney, TX. There were so many great points made by the speakers, but I thought I'd share a couple of the highlights for me. Bill Hybels started by challenging us to have a "vision to die for." Throughout church history, people have been willing to sacrifice heavily for the cause of Christ. He defined vision as "the painting of a picture that inspires passion." He went on to talk about the vision formation process and how it's most effective when done as a team. Carly Fiorina was the next speaker. She is the ex-ceo of HP. She was fired in 2005, and spoke candidly about it. A quote that I liked from her was, "There's a gift in everything if only we will see it." That's good perspective. I also enjoyed her point that leadership requires both passion and dispassion. Passion is essential because you have to own the vision and have heart for the mission. But a leader must also remain dispassionate enough to be able to objectively see things as they are. She said that passion can blind you as well as motivate you. She summed it up by saying that leadership is about unlocking potential in others. When we take a chance on others, THAT is leadership. Marcus Buckingham is the author of one of my all time favorite books, Now Discover Your Strengths. He continued his thoughts about building on strengths first, and managing weaknesses second. If you've never read his books before, they are HIGHLY recommended.

On Friday, Bill Hybels opened up the meeting with some very compelling research that they have been doing at Willow Creek about the satisfaction level of people in their church. They have learned that as believers grow stronger in their relationship with the Lord, they actually feel less satisfied that they are being "fed" by the church. One conclusion that they are coming to is that they need to train new believers how to take responsibility for their own spiritual growth, and show them a roadmap for how to get there. I think they have hit on some important information, and I think it may be as revolutionary as their focus on "seekers" twenty years ago. You can read more about it here. Michael Porter discussed strategic thinking as we approach our community outreach programs. He said we need to "do better, at doing good." He says it's important to define clearly what our goals are, and specify the needs that we're going to address. He says that it's more important to do things effectively, than just do things. I agree.

Colin Powell shared his thoughts on leadership, called "Powell principles." He said to embrace the "clash of ideas." It's better to get all of the ideas on the table, even if it means that there will be some clashes. A couple of the other principles that I liked were, "things always look better in the morning," "optimism is a force multiplier," and "trust the element of instinct."

John Ortberg shared about the story of Esther and challenged all of us to not allow our "shadow missions" to become our mission.

Basically by this point my brain was mush, and could not handle any more learning for the weekend. :)

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