Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Leadership Summit

Thanks to the generosity of the team at Northside Christian Church, Jeremy Kane and I were able to attend day one of The Leadership Summit. In addition to hosting the Summit at their main campus at Willow Creek in Chicago, they hold satellite venues throughout the nation. Jeremy and I were able to attend the one held at Northside in New Albany. I thought I would share a few thougths.

Bill Hybels (Senior Pastor at Willow Creek Community Church) kicked off the first session with a talk entitled "Vision To Die For". If anyone knows about vision it would be Hybels. His church has been leading the pace for a couple of decades. The thing I learned from his session was the importance of letting the people within your organization (in our case, the church) have ownership in the vision. If it is simply the vision of the senior leader the he doesn't get the needed buy in to make it happen. My favorite quote was that your vision had to be something people were "willing to sleep on a cot for". In other words, they would inconvenience themselves to carry out the vision of the organization.

In session two, Bill interviewed Carly Fiorina, the first and only woman to lead a Fortune 20 company. It was an interesting conversation that was pregnant with leadership nuggets. She said that when she came on Hewlett Packard and began to assess the situation, she found that thought HP had innovation as one of their core values, no one could tell her what percentage of their revenue was from new products and no one could tell her how many new patents had been developed over the past few years. No one was tracking these important numbers of innovation. So basically, though they said innovation was a core value, it was not. I saw similarities with many churches. They say they exist to reach lost people and yet they do very little to make that happen.

Session three was good but I fought to stay awake after eating a Cajun lunch:)

Session four got me excited. I had seen Marcus Buckingham at Catalyst last year and was excited to hear from him again. Much of what he said I had already heard but it is so good, it's worth hearing twice. His whole premise is that we focus far more time on correcting people's weaknesses than we do building upon their strengths. He encourages people to find what gives them an emotional high, what they lose track of time doing and find ways to carve out more of their work day doing those things. We are more successful when we're putting our strengths to work.

Overall it was a great day at the Summit.

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