Back to School: The Global Leadership Summit 2017

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We sent our first-born to kindergarten last week. There was excitement, anticipation, nervousness, and a few tears (from me, not her). How in the world is she going to kindergarten already? 

I love watching her grow, getting ideas, and exploring her ever-expanding world. She's a natural when it comes to learning as school situations (as we've observed through the last two years of pre-school). She's a lot like her Mother in that way

I was not the biggest fan of school. I just wanted to play with my friends at recess, and got in a bit of trouble doing that in elementary school. Looking back, I just didn't take it that seriously. I wasn't driven by getting the best grade in class or learning for the sake of learning. 

However, as an adult, I've grown to appreciate learning. I enjoy listening to audiobooks, podcasts, and going to conferences to dive deeper into areas of interest. One of those areas that I am trying to improve is leadership. And over the last decade, I think I've attended five of six Global Leadership Summits. 

The Global Leadership Summit is hosted by Willow Creek Church in Chicago. They simulcast the entire thing to satellite locations all over the world for the two day conference every August. One of those locations happens to be my home church: Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines

If you've never attended, I would encourage you to find a location near you and go next year. The speakers vary from business leaders to pastors. I'll dive into each speaker we heard from this year later, but examples include Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, The Profit - Marcus Lemonis, Andy Stanley, and a handful of other inspiring leaders.

I always walk away energized and full of new ideas. I took a good amount of notes during each session and thought I would write down some nuggets that might inspire you as well as provide some resources if you wanted to dive deeper. So... here we go...

Bill Hybels - Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Church

Key Points on Leadership

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  • "Everyone wins when a leader gets better."
  • The highest value we can give to our organizations is humility.
  • Bill told a story from when he was in school: he organized an entire class disruption and was outed as the leader of it. His teacher sat him down and spoke to the leader inside him. "Bill, it's clear you are a leader. I hope you use your leadership for good and not trouble."
  • It's important to plant seeds in the hearts of young leaders.
  • Challenge 1: Reflect on leaders in your life and express your gratitude for how they impacted you.
  • Challenge 2: Take an extra minute or two to poor encouragement into others. You never know when a simple gesture will change someone's life. 

Key Points on Leading in a Divisive / Disrespectful Culture

  • When someone in the workplace is disrespected, their productivity will decrease by 50%.
  • It's worth developing a civility code of conduct in your workplace.
  • Work to call the best out of people.
  • Pope Francis decided to live humbly as a pope, keeping a modest lifestyle and washing the feet of others.
  • Challenge: spend 15 minutes a day in "chair time." Reading, thinking, journaling, and  developing a grander vision for your leadership.


Sheryl Sandberg - COO Facebook

Interviewed by Bill Hybels - Key Points on Leading in the Workplace

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  • When we see a little girl with leadership we think "that little girl is bossy," but why don't we think "that girl has executive leadership skills."
  • About her opportunity to work at Facebook: "When offered a ride on a rocket ship, you don't ask where you will be sitting, you just jump on."
  • Hiring: You can hire for skills and/or experience, but the right person will create what's needed for the company to succeed. 
  • Where are your ambitions: home, work, parenting? Lean in to where you are naturally drawn.
  • Understanding our sexist biases: If a mom drops a child off on St. Patrick's day without wearing green, she is mom-shamed, but if a Dad drops them off without green, it's no big deal, the mom should have put them in a green shirt, and bravo for dad for dropping his kids off.

Finding Joy in the Midst of Adversity

  • 3 Ps that steal our joy
    • Personalization: I should have... (blame yourself)
    • Pervasiveness: Everything is terrible (What could be worse?)
    • Permanence: It will never go away
  • Resilience: It doesn't matter how much you have, but rather, how you can go about building more of it. 
  • How to respond to someone going through grief
    • Don't sweat the small stuff
    • Build people back up: "I still believe in you"
    • Do something specific rather than offering help if they "need anything" - "I'm downstairs in the hospital lobby for the next hour and can come up to visit if it works for you."
  • Write down three moments of joy everyday


Marcus Lemonis - Getting it Done: People, Process, Product

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  • Understand yourself better - everyone has a back story, Marcus' back story was astounding. Adopted, molested, attempted suicides, eating disorder...
  • 2 things he looks for in people he is working with
    • Vulnerability
    • Transparency
  • As a leader, it's your duty to make everybody around you successful.
  • Be a good steward of your people.
  • Tolerate differences
    • What is your purpose?
    • What is your role in that purpose?
  • Give Someone a chance - even if you don't know their back story.


Fredrik Härén - Creative Leadership in a Rapidly Changing World

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  • Survey on creativity
    • Is creativity important in your job? - 98% said yes
    • Do you think you are creative? - 45% said yes
    • Is your company doing enough to develop creativity? - 2% said yes
  • What is an Idea? Taking two formerly known things and presenting them in a new way.
  • Creating is inspiring and it's infectious in that it helps others be creative as well.


Bryan Stevenson - Leading Through the Uncomfortable

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  • Justice can't be solved with Proximity. We have to get close to the problem.
  • To be effective we have to repent before redemption.
  • Stay hopeful


Andy Stanley - Uniquely Better

Reflecting on 20 years of growth at North Point Community Church

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  • Explosive growth comes from a uniquely better product
    • North Point has an engaging church experience - especially for men.
  • You don't have to discover uniquely better, but recognizing it is revolutionary.
  • Be a student not a critic (when it comes to understanding why success comes along)
  • Keep your eyes and mind wide open.
  • Replace how with wow. 
    • Wow ideas to life, don't how them to death.
  • Ask Uniquely better questions.
    • Is this unique?
    • What would make it unique?
    • is it better than other things that are out there?
    • is it really better than other things that are out there?


Laszlo Bock - Insights from Inside Google: Transform How You live and Lead

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  • We spend more time at work than anywhere else.
  • Give your work meaning.
    • If being #1 is your goal, then what happens when you get there?
  • Figure out why you do what you do.
  • Why are others doing it?
  • Who are the beneficiaries of the work you do?
  • Having a goal is the only thing that drives performance.
  • Give people more freedom than you are comfortable with.
  • Treat people right and they will do right by you.


Juliet Funt - The Strategic Pause

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  • The pause is the most endangered species in our modern workday.
    • We operate with 100% exertion and 0% thoughtfulness.
    • We are too busy to become un-busy.
    • It costs us our sanity, humanity, no new ideas.
    • We lose $1,000,000 for every 50 employees.
  • W H I T E S P A C E  - A strategic pause between activities.
  • What's NOT whitespace
    • Meditation - focused, repetitive.
    • Mind-Wandering - not intentionally permitted
    • Mindfulness - one specific thing
  • Thieves of productivity
    • Drive leads to perfectionism
    • Excellence leads to perfectionism
    • Information leads to overload
    • Activity leads to frenzy
    • These things should be good and serve you well, not cause you more stress.
  • How to create more whitespace
    • Be conscience of the thieves of productivity.
    • Filters - label the thieves as they appear.
    • Is there anything I can let go of?
    • Where is good enough, good enough?
    • What do I truly need to know?
    • What deserves my attention?


Marcus Buckingham - Reinventing Performance Management

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  • Excellence has its own patent. Don't study your failures.
  • Most of the work we do happens on informal teams, so why are we given performance reviews by our formal managers?
  • Building more great teams is the job of the leader.
  • When it comes to performance reviews, humans are not objective raters. 
    • 54% of raters rating are done based on how the rater rates, not the performance of the employee. (If I tend to rate myself as middle of the road, I will do the same for others I'm asked to rate.)


Sam Adeyemi - Leading From the Inside Out

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  • Unleashing the potential of followers is the gift of leadership.
  • Real change comes with a new sense of identity.
  • VISION: seeing people, places, and things not the way they are, but the way they could be.
  • As leaders, we must model the standard that we talk about.
  • We must reinvent ourselves over and over again.


Immaculée Ilibagiza - The Act of Forgiveness

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A survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide that took the lives of nearly one million Tutsi, including her entire family except for one brother. She survived by huddling silently with seven other women in a 3-by-4-foot bathroom for 91 days. Despite unimaginable suffering, she committed herself to a life of peace, hope and forgiveness.


Angela Duckworth - Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

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  • Everyone is ambitious.
  • Grit = Perseverance + Passion
  • Perseverance - hard worker, finishes whatever they begin
  • Passion - difficulty finishing projects that take longer than two months. Interests change from year to year.
  • Maturity principle says that grit gets better with age. We develop more perseverance which increases our grit.
  • Talent x Effort = Skill.
  • We gain skills through deliberate practice. We have to get past the novelty and newness that passion brings and put in the hard work to get better.


Gary Haugen - Leaders: Do Not Be Afraid

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  • Fear is the silent destroyer of dreams.
  • Dreams come from love.
  • Relentlessly inventory your own fears.
  • Switch from playing defense to playing offense. The gates of hell are playing defense. God's army is advancing!
  • Courage forms around leaders. Lone rangers don't succeed.