Global Leadership Summit (part 1)

Sorry for the gap of time since the last blog post.  This little thing called Thanksgiving took precedence over everything.  Then it was preparing to go home making sure certain things at work were in place before departing China for about three months (I’ll be back in Asia after six weeks, but away from China for three months).  Then it was saying goodbye to very dear people that I won’t be seeing again.  Finally there was the trip over the Pacific and that pesky inconvenience called “jet lag.”  Alas, I am finally in a place that I can sit down and write.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Global Leadership Summit in Beijing.  The original one is held at Willow Creek every August, and then throughout the fall season it is made available to places all over the world.  Over the course of two days video podcasts (“talking heads”) were displayed in a large auditorium and we were invited to take part in the topics and spend time reflecting on how the particular messages speak to us as leaders in our own particular contexts.

Here are a few nuggets that I took away from that time:

  • “If you don’t deal with challenging people you discourage and demotivate your best people.” -Bill Hybels
  • “Could you describe your vision on the front of a T-shirt?” –Bill Hybels on the importance of making your vision clear and concise for others around you.
  • “You have to believe to the core that God wants and is eager to move you from HERE to THERE—and if you’re not up to that as a leader, then you need to step aside.” –Bill Hybels on how leadership is simply about moving your people from “here” to “there.”
  • “We call people to a decision: make a commitment that your next five years will be your best five years.” –Bill Hybels
  • “Global poverty is unacceptable. Our failure to build logistics system means we produce too much food, and we can’t get it to people who need it. This is unacceptable. Millenials can’t look forward to a better life than their parents’. This is unacceptable. The absence of opportunities for our young people is unacceptable…Now what am I going to do about it?” –Len Schlesinger
  • “Believe in the future by creating it first.” –Len Schlesinger
  • Leadership is simplified as moving your people from HERE to THERE… When using historical results to predict the future we can become paralyzed.  Rather, in a world where you can’t predict the future, what’s “THERE” for you?  The answer lies in Action. –Len Schlesinger
  • Start with the things you care about. –Len Schlesinger on entrepreneurship
  • “Stop worrying about what you want to do and worry about what you’re going to do NEXT.” –Len Schlesinger
  • “The issue of failure—doesn’t mean “game over”- it just means “let’s try this a different way.”  It is quite likely that you just learned something that nobody else knows.” –Len Schlesinger
  • Little bets and baby steps with people you want to work with end up as really big things.
  • We often feel like we need to have some huge, comprehensive vision. But successful entrepreneurs sometimes launch with little more than, “Let’s go do something. We’ll figure it out as we go.”  –Len Schlesinger
  • When you inherit a broken system it involves creating a different culture.  It is being able to look at a dying situation and shout, “not on my watch!” –Michelle Rhee (story featured in “Waiting for Superman” documentary)
  • “I’d much rather deal with anger than with apathy” –Michelle Rhee (about dealing with hostile and angry parents when she closed 23 schools in the D.C. school district in one year)
  • “Do we start a revolution, or deal with incremental change strategies?” –Michelle Rhee
  • “It’s not about creating the 5-Year Plan, but about getting the people to work the Plan” –Henry Cloud
  • “What you see outside is a reflection of what you have inside of you.  Is that hope or despair?” -Cory T. Booker (mayor of Newark, New Jersey-speaking about what we see when we look at our communities)
  • If we live our values we can produce radical transformation. –Cory T. Booker

Cory T. Booker simply told one story after another.  A great storyteller!  And it is in the story that we remember.  To end this post I would like to try to retell a story that Cory Booker told.  You see, as a kid he was once asked by his coach how high he could raise his hand.  So, he raises his hand.  His coach tells him he can go higher.  So, he stretches and stands on his toes. Then he jumps.  Reaching higher.  The point the coach was trying to illustrate is that you can always go higher then you think.  Cory was sharing this experience with junior high and teenage boys at a camp when he was in college.  Before he simply just told them the story (which would be like telling the punch line before the joke), he tried the exercise on them. To encourage motivation in a group of teenage boys he said he would give five dollars to whoever could raise his hand the highest.  These were big boys, tall boys.  Hands were shooting up in the air.  Next to him was this scrawny little guy, skinny and significantly shorter than all the rest.  He looked beaten and crestfallen because he could never raise his hand as high as the other tall boys.  So, he runs out of the room, seems to be very upset.  Cory runs after him to find out what’s wrong.  The boy keeps running.  Cory grabs him and hugs him and asks him what’s wrong.  The boy is squirming trying to get out of Cory’s arms. “Let me go!  Let me go!”  “What’s wrong, buddy—what’s wrong?!!?”  Finally the boy tells him in exasperation- “you said that whoever can raise his hand the highest will get five dollars!”  “Yes, I did.”  The boy manages to break free from Cory’s arms, runs away, and over his shoulder yells, “Well, I know the way to the roof!”  🙂

Talk about vision!

You see, if we stand up- we can find our way to the roof!

More nuggets coming in the next post…

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