Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit Day 1 Recap

Yesterday and today I have the privilege of attending the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit Simulcast at Orchard Hill Church in Pittsburgh. I always like to share my key takeaways from conferences within 24 hours of learning them so that I can have a higher chance of retaining them and hopefully they can help someone. Here are my takeaways from Day 1:



Session 1: Bill Hybels

  • Book to Read: Leadership Intangibles
  • 5 Leadership Intangibles:
    • Grit
    • Self-Awareness
    • Resourcefulness
    • Self-Sacrificing Love
    • A White Hot Why
  • Grit Assessment 
  • Give yourself difficult tasks
  • When your supervisor gives you an assignment, over-deliver every time
  • Organizations are desperate for resourceful leaders
  • Senior leaders: The quality of your loving sets the tone for the organization
  • We all need to be Chief Meaningful Officers – Let people know WHY they do what they do
  • Life is too short to not live with a white hot why

Session 2: Jim Collins 

  • What cause do you serve with level 5 ambition?
  • If you have a charismatic cause, you don’t need to be a charismatic leader.
  • Commitment to service is a life choice, not a sector choice
  • Will you settle for being a good leader or grow to be a great leader?
  • True leadership is when people follow you when they would have a choice not to
  • Leadership is about getting people to want to do what must be done
  • Learn from people, but do not copy them
  • Leaders do not start as great leaders, they grow into them
  • Will you do whatever it takes to grow as your enterprise grows and scales?
  • How can you reframe failure as growth in pursuit of BHAGS?
  • If you know you can achieve it, it’s not a BHAG!
  • The opposite of success is not failure, it’s growth!
  • How can you succeed by helping others succeed?
  • We succeed at our very best only when we help others succeed.
  • Have you found you personal hedgehog? – Where passion, gifting and economic engine meet?
  • What if Steve jobs quit in 1985 when he was fired from Apple?
  • Life is a series of hands, not a single hand, and we must play every hand to the best of our ability.
  • Focus on your unit, not your career!
  • Life is people
  • Change your focus from taking care of your career, to taking care of your people.
  • The best leaders make an impact on people

Session 3: Ed Catmull

  • Great animation not connected to a great story is worthless
  • Everything great starts as an ugly baby
  • Measure of progress: How are people working together? If they’re connected and having fun, they’ll figure it out.
  • Magic in organization cultures: Loss of Ego in the room!
  • There is great danger in failure when it is not handled properly
  • What are the barriers to telling each other the truth?
  • Leaders need to make it a safe place for people to fail so they can grow faster.
  • Once you get over being embarrassed, it frees you up!

Session 4: Adam Grant

  • The negative impact of a taker will have triple the impact of one good giver
  • Ask other people if you’re a giver or a taker
  • Do as many 5-minute favors as you can!

Session 5: Brene Brown 

  • There is great freedom in sharing the stories we make up in our minds with others
  • We all want more belonging, love, intimacy, etc. The only way that happens is through vulnerability
  • Middle Space – Too far in to turn back, but can’t see ahead. Who you are in this space is what separates the leaders from no leaders.
  • Transformational leaders do discomfort!
  • Transformational leaders have absolute emotional awareness of themselves and others
  • We’re emotional beings who sometimes think!
  • Emotion dictates behavior
  • Leaders can choose courage or choose comfort, not both
  • Courage is uncomfortable, that is why it is rare
  • If you are brave often enough, you will fail. Be willing to fail knowing that you’ll rise up

Session 6: Sallie Krawcheck

  • We’re hired to do what’s most beneficial for the organization, regardless if it’s what people want or not!
  • There is false comfort in agreement
  • Work everyday as though your children are watching you… they are!

Session #7: Albert Tate

  • A dumb idea + God’s hand = Life transformation
  • Don’t underestimate the power of a dumb idea
  • God will do a miracle with something you bring
  • Take what you have in your hand, give it to Jesus, and get out of the way
  • When was the last time you were blown away by the goodness of God?
  • If you don’t know how to fall on your knees and hear from God, you’re missing out on one of the best parts of following God!
  • If you overwork, you’re missing an opportunity to let God be God! You miss the beauty of giving it to Jesus!
  • My name can only do so much, His name gives us full access to the Kingdom of God!
  • You don’t have to live outside the promises of God!

I’ll be live-tweeting from the Leadership Summit again today! Follow along!

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