Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit 2012: Day 1 Recap

Kelsey and I are attending the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit on Thursday and Friday. Our church is a simulcast host every year for the event, and it's a great conference to learn perpective from some of the great leaders of our time. We wanted to share our notes with you and encourage you to check it out. These notes are pretty raw and straight from each of the speakers. We hope you can take something away from it.

Bill Hybels (Founder and Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church)

  • Everyone wins when a leader gets better.
  • Luke 8: The seed represents the message. It might fall on deaf ears, but the message is still true. You must sew more seeds to overcome the rejection ratio.
  • The fundamental characteristic of a leader is to stay curious and courageous.
  • Don't doubt the power of tinkering.
  • You are the most difficult person you will ever lead.
  • A leader's most valuable asset is their energy and ability to energize those around them.
  • 6x6: What six contributions can you make for the most impact in the next six weeks? Organize your schedule around those six things.
  • God doesn't make you a leader to keep things where they are. He makes you a leader to move things from here to there.
  • Visions are most vulnerable in the middle of the race. The beginning is exciting, and when the end is in sight it's easy to finish strong. In the middle you are more likely to struggle.

Condoleezza Rice (Former U.S. Secretary of State)

  • There is a lot that the government can do, but it cannot deliver compassion.
  • With education, it doesn't matter where you are coming from, it's about where you are going.
  • Leading through challenging times gives us great opportunity.
  • A great characteristic of a leader is to be an over-the-top optimist.
  • Out of struggle very often comes victory. After Friday comes Sunday (Romans 5).
  • Some things that once seemed impossible seem inevitable in retrospect.

Jim Collins (Nationally Acclaimed Business Thinker and Author)

  • Humility combined with will is the leadership behavior needed.
  • Fanatic discipline: every day do your 20-mile march (a story based on the first team to make it to the South Pole and back). Will you do it day after day regardless of the circumstances? Or will you wait out the storm? It will define success or failure.
  • Manage yourself well in good times so you are prepared for bad times. Don't stretch yourself too thin in good times. Southwest Airlines philosophy. Slow and steady.
  • Consistent consecutive performance gets you to where you want to be.
  • Measure of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.
  • Empirical creativity: If you are going to bet your life, it better be on something tried and true.
  • Don't fire big uncalibrated cannonballs.
  • You must blend creativity and discipline.
  • Creativity is natural. Discipline is not. Marrying the two is a rare, beautiful occurrence.
  • Paranoia: Great companies carry three times cash to assets ration than others. They started the practice when they were small. Discipline.
  • It's what you do before difficult times come that will keep you strong when people most need you.
  • SMaC: specific, methodical and consistent
  • The role of luck: specific event, you did not cause it, potentially significant consequence, and it has the element of surprise. Also a miracle.
  • When luck comes, what will you do with it?
  • Greatness is not a result of circumstance it is a choice.

Marc Kielburger (Co-Founder, Free the Children; Co-CEO, Me to We)

  • Micro business finance changes lives.
  • Co-leading comes down to communication and alignment. Rinse and repeat.
  • Gifts + issue = better world. Use your gifts to help change an issue your passionate about.

Sheryl Wudunn (Best-Selling Author; Pulitzer Prize Winner; Business Executive)

  • Gender equity is our century's greatest injustice.

Craig Groeschel (Founder and Senior Pastor, LifeChurch.tv)

  • Do not fear or judge the next generation. Believe in them.
  • On ministry: If you're not dead, you're not done.
  • Delegating tasks creates followers. Delegate authority to create leaders.
  • Authenticity trumps cool every time.
  • The older generation describes the younger generations in the workforce as entitled.
  • We often overestimate what we can do in the short run, but grossly underestimate what we will do in the long run.
  • Honor is given but respect is earned. Honor those above you.