Notes From The Global Leadership Summit

I had an amazing time last week at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. Every year I came away with some many thoughts, and a brand new passion for the various leadership roles in which I get to serve.

Below are just a few of my notes that I jotted down during an intense two days.

Hybels - everybody winsBill Hybels—The Lens Of Leadership

“Everybody wins when a leader gets better.”

“Armed with enough humility, leaders can learn from anyone.”

Hybels discussed four leadership lenses:

1.   Passionate leader (depicted by vibrant bright red frames)

  • They understand unbridled passion in leadership.
  • “Passion is like protein for the team.”
  • A motivated worked will outperform an unmotivated worker by 40%.
  • People are more motivated by working for a passion-filled leader than they are by compensation or perks.
  • Passion comes from a mountain-top dream, or a valley-deep frustration of current settings.

2.   People leader (cool frames, but cracked lenses)

  • An organization will only be as healthy as the top leader wants it to be.
  • This world needs more pastors of businesses, factories, medical offices, military units, etc.

3.   Performance leader (self-adjusting glasses)

  • Leaders ask: what progress should be made? how do we measure this? what doesn’t need to be measured?
  • Every worker wants to know how they are doing. For the leader, it’s cruel to hire someone and never let them know how they’re doing. Every staff member should get an update at least every six months.

4.   Legacy leader (sunglasses with a rearview mirror [cyclist])

  • Every once in awhile we need to look behind to see what legacy we’re leaving behind.
  • Leaders should reflect on this annually.
  • If my leadership assignment were to end today, what legacy would I leave?

Mulally - overcommunicateAlan Mulally—CEO Boeing and Ford Motor Company

An average commercial airline has 4 million parts!

  • People first
  • Include everyone
  • Create a compelling vision
  • Present a workable strategy
  • Set clear performance goals
  • Relentless implementation
  • Share lots of data
  • “Over-communicate the plan and the current status against the plan.”
  • Instill a positive can-do attitude
  • Keep your emotional resilience
  • Have fun

 

Melinda Gates - hear the criesMelinda Gates—Gates Foundation

Melinda says of herself, “I am an impatient optimist. We are changing the world, but we need to change it faster.”

 

“At the end of the day, you have to hear the cries of those in need, let your heart break and act in courage.”

Jossy Chacko—Empart

“All of us have been entrusted with something. What are we doing to leverage it?”

In thinking about the parable of the talents … “To Jesus, faithfulness is not just sitting with what you have been given, but multiplying what you have been given. God’s mission is not maintaining.”

“Playing it safe is not enough for a follower of Jesus Christ.”

Three principles for expanding our leadership reach:

Jossy Chacko - faithfulness1. Enlarge your vision

  • “When people hear my vision, they should know the size of my God.”
  • “An enlarged vision should keep us driven.”
  • “Do not be confused about what people say about your vision; trust what God has said to you.”

2. Empower your people

  • “Leadership is about taking wise chances and giving people opportunities.”
  • “Your leadership reach will be determined by your empowerment choices.”
  • Three things to keep in mind: (1) Focus on building their character before empowering them; (2) Empowerment has to be through relationship; and (3) Make sure we have agreed on the right outcomes, and have the right way to measure them.

3. Embrace risk

  • Faith = risk. Without faith it is impossible to please God = without taking risks it is impossible to please God.
  • Paradigms to be changed: (1) See risk as your friend to love, not as your enemy to be feared; (2) See comfort and safety as your enemies; and (3) Increase your pain threshold.
  • “Your leadership capacity is in direct relationship to your pain threshold.”
  • “Don’t allow the fear of losing what we have to lose what God has in store for you.”
  • “By me not taking risks, who is missing out?”

Bradberry - EQDr. Travis Bradberry—TalentSmart

All inputs into the brain travel through the limbic system first (emotional center) before the inputs travel to the frontal cortex. The EI (emotional intelligence) center is in the front of the brain, just above the left eye.

Only 36% of people are able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen.

EQ (the Emotional Quotient that measures emotional intelligence) is not IQ.

EQ can be improved all throughout life.

Four components of emotional intelligence:

 1. Self-awareness: knowing my emotions, and knowing my tendencies. I need to lean into my discomfort if I want to improve.

   2. Self-management: what I do with this increased self-awareness. This is not “stuffing” my feelings. The biggest mistake is only trying to manage negative emotions; positive emotions need to be managed too.

   3. Social awareness: focusing more on others than on myself.

   4. Relationship management: using the first three skills in concert. Seeing how my behavior is affecting the other person, and then adjusting accordingly.

 

How to increase my EQ:

  1. Control stress—stress under control is healthy; chronic stress is unhealthy. Gratitude reduces the stress hormone cortisol.
  2. Clean up my sleep hygiene—sleep cleans up toxic hormones in the brain. To get better sleep: (1) Don’t take any kind of sleeping pill; and (2) Reduce “blue lights” in the evening.
  3. Reduce my caffeine input—especially after noon.

Ideal team playerPatrick Lencioni—Author

Three qualities of an ideal team player:

1.   Humble

  • Lacking self-confidence is not humility.
  • “Denying skills and downplaying abilities is not humility.”

2.   Hungry

  • Strong work ethic
  • Driving hard

3.   Smart

  • Not intellectual smarts, but people smarts = EQ

“To develop people, we have to have the courage to humbly and constantly talk to people about their ‘stuff.’”

McChesney - execution disciplinesChris McChesney—Franklin Covey

Rahm Charan asked:

  • Q: Do leaders struggle more with strategy or execution? A: Execution.
  • Q: Are leaders more educated in strategy or execution? A. Strategy.

“The hardest thing a leader will ever do is drive a strategy that changes someone’s behavior.”

There are four disciplines for making changes in human behavior:

1.  Focus

  • “Focus on the wildly important.”
  • If a team focuses on 2-3 goals, they are likely to get them done. But if there are 4-10 goals, momentum is killed. At 11+ goals, the team is going backward.
  • We narrow the focus by coming up with a WIG: wildly important goal (this lives at the intersection of ‘really important’ and ‘not going to happen’).

2.  Leverage

  • “What are the fewest number of battles necessary to win the war?”
  • “When you want to go big, don’t think big, think narrow.”
  • One WIG per team at the same time. Everything else is in sustainment mode.
  • Make goals like this—“From x to y by when.”

3.  Engagement

  • “The biggest driver of engagement is when people feel like they’re winning.”
  • “Do the people who work for me feel like they’re playing a winnable game?”

4.  Accountability

  • Everyone needs to answer: “What are the things I do that have the biggest impact on the WIG?”
  • After sharing the scoreboard, allow people to determine what they need to do next. The people need to determine their own next moves, not the leader. The leader pulls this out of people.

Erin Meyer - contextErin Meyer—INSEAD

On The Culture Map communication is divided into Low vs. High Context:

  • Low = feel we don’t have the same context or relationship. We feel we need to explain things very simply and explicitly.
  • High = we assume we have a larger body of shared reference points. We feel communication is more implicit or nuanced.

Anglo-Saxon countries are typically low context.

Latin American are mid-low.

Asian countries are usually high context.

In low context we tend to nail things down in writing, where in high context we leave things more open to later interpretation.

“Context impacts communication. … We need to read both the messages ‘in the air’ as well as the explicitly stately messages.”

“In a high context culture, repeat things less, ask more questions, learn to ‘read the air.’”

 

Maxwell - 3 questionsJohn Maxwell—Author 

“Good leaders lift.”

“You have to find the people before you lead the people.”

“The one thing leaders have to get right—they must intentionally add value to people every day.”

 

Five things that intentionally adds value to people:

  1. Value people—“God values people I don’t know; He even value people I don’t like.” “Are we going to spend our lives connecting with people, or correcting them?”
  2. Think of ways to add value to people—“Intentional living is thinking upfront on how to help people.”
  3. Look for ways to add value to people.
  4. Do things that add value to people.
  5. Encourage others to add value to people.

If you attended the GLS, please share in the comments below something amazing / challenging / paradigm-busting that you learned. Let’s all keep on learning!

11 Quotes From “Liquid Leadership”

Liquid LeadershipLiquid Leadership by Brad Szollose was a bit “light” on leadership development content for my tastes, but I still found a few good quotes to share with you. Check out my review of this book by clicking here.

“Baby boomers tend to isolate themselves from younger people and treat them as expendable kids, while Gen Yers to undervalue the experience of Boomers and ignore them. Either attitude is a mistake and insulting.”

“Innovation cannot thrive in environments where anxiety is too high; but in environments where anxiety is low, creativity is high. Fragile thoughts need time to survive and thrive.”

“Something remarkable took place over the past twenty-five years: People stop worshipping the companies they work for and begin instead to see themselves as value added to the bottom line, partners in success. Today’s workforce has amazingly high self-esteem and won’t look up to you just because you’ve ‘earned’ the corner office.”

“It is easy to be a leader when times are good. But when times are tough, these are the moments that make a leader great.”

“Leaders who are more involved in the day-to-day process can easily see what is creating the status quo environment, which enables them to change it. And when they make changes, they can make them organically, because they are viewed as a trusted ally instead of an intruder.”

“Your job is to be the best shepherd possible of ideas and implementation.”

“In an environment that allows truth telling, you must make sure each team member understands how to present a sticky subject without destroying a fellow colleague’s contribution. In other words, speak properly and respectfully when critiquing. Speaking the truth should not be used as a way to get even or to make a coworker look bad. Making someone feel as if they are under attack leaves angry feelings and creates a hostile environment. But when everyone is supportive and nurturing, people feel safe to admit their weaknesses. The common goal is to get better.”

“When people have a sense of purpose built into what they do, you don’t just get an employee—you get a person’s talent, passion, and full attention. … But real engagement—real, 100 percent commitment—requires a workplace that isn’t just making stuff but, in someway, changing the world.”

“Make sure each and every member of your organization understands the company’s mission, where the company is going, and how it plans on getting there. Try to make the vision exciting for everyone. Team members need to be crystal clear as to goals, purposes, and intentions for the group. Keep the mission of each team front and center, and they’ll stay on target, and your employees will understand how to earn their place on the team. High standards will guarantee greater output.”

“You never change the existing reality by fighting it. Instead, create a new model that makes the old one obsolete.” —Buckminster Fuller

“I am going to share with you the key to success in any business: the secret, in a word, is ‘heart-power.’ Capture the heart, and you’ve captured the person.” —Vince Lombardi

Liquid Leadership (book review)

Liquid LeadershipIn Liquid Leadership, Brad Szollose proposes to teach leadership principles for those who have younger employees, or for those who lead organizations that need to relate to a younger demographic. Brad says that liquid leaders are able to flow effortlessly between older and younger generations.

Brad’s seven laws say that a liquid leader…

  1. …places people first.
  2. …cultivates an environment where it is free and safe to tell the truth.
  3. …nurtures a creative culture.
  4. …supports reinvention of the organization.
  5. …leads by example.
  6. …takes responsibility.
  7. …leaves a lasting legacy.

I agree with all of these points: not just for “liquid leaders” but for all leaders. If leadership principles (or laws, as Brad calls them) are true, then they are also applicable in every setting: Gen Y or Baby Boomer, for-profit or charity, Western or Eastern.

The “meat” of Liquid Leadership comes in the opening chapter, with the remaining chapters consisting primarily of Brad’s personal experiences, or his observations of other success/failure stories, to help bolster his point.

If you are looking for a book with good stories to make your case for leadership, check this out. But if you are looking for a book about serious leadership development, look elsewhere.

Organizational Health

I’m still working through the pages of notes I took during the Willow Creek Leadership Summit a couple of weeks ago. Another speak whom I really appreciated was Patrick Lencioni. I’ve read many of his books, and I think he has such a knack for explaining business principles in a way that seem so easy to process and apply.

Patrick talked about the two needed ingredients for organizational success: things that are smart and things that are healthy. He said that most of the time we cannot do the smart things because we are not healthy enough to do them.

So, how do we make our organization healthy? Here are four disciplines he encouraged us to pursue:

1.  Build and maintain a cohesive team at the top. [This is behavioral alignment.]

2.  Create clarity by asking these questions:

  • Why do we exist? [core purpose]
  • How do we behave? [core values]

These need to be core values, not our aspirational values.

There should only be one or two endemic values.

Core values are those that we will stick to even if we don’t get rewarded for it.

  • What do we actually do?
  • How will we succeed? [strategy]

These are the myriad of intentional decisions we make that help us be successful.

As an example, consider the three strategic anchors for Southwest Airlines: (1) make the customer happy; (2) keep the plane on time; (3) keep fares low.

  • What is most important in our organization right now?
  • Who must do what?

3.  Over-communicate the answer to the above six questions. I love this: Patrick said, “If your people cannot do a good impression of you, you’re not communicating enough.”

4.  Reinforce the system through creative ideas.

The bottom line: “Organizational health provides significant advantages for organizational success.”

I’m working on the application of these thoughts for the organizations I help lead, and I’m really excited to encourage some conversations around these great thoughts from Patrick Lencioni.

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