Several times a year I am dispatched to Christian conferences to capture the most important lessons from the event.  Often I put such effort into not missing anything I actually learn nothing personally.  In an effort to improve as a leader, I am revisiting last week’s Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit to apply its lessons.

With that in mind, the following are 14 Brand New Leadership Lessons I Learned In The Last Seven Days from the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit.  To read more comments from each person simply click on their name.

  1. “There is dignity in choice instead of just being given a bag (for people needing food).” – Bill Hybels.  At the church’s newly constructed Care Center,  people are not just given a bag of food.  They are allowed to select the products to go into the bag.  What a great way to meet a need and provide dignity simultaneously.
  2. “Soldiers want to talk about their experience.  They’re not looking for sympathy.  They want their service recognized and respected.” – Gen. Colin Powell.  I put this lesson to work immediately with a member of our Armed Forces.  To read that story, click here.
  3. “Who are the happiest celebrities?  The ones with interests in other things.” – Patrick Lencioni.  It is important for leaders to create interests and an identity apart from their work and position of visibility.
  4. “When you get stressed you get physiologically stupid.” – Liz Wiseman.  Liz taught me why I personally shut down and become insecure during stressful meetings with high-volume and intimidating personalities.
  5. “In the future we’re going to have some great civic centers that used to be churches because the personality left.” – Chris Brown.  Effective succession planning will be the most important issue many great churches face in the next 10 years.
  6. “Every single Thursday I quit something…God will drop something in there.” – Bob Goff.  I need to create a Stop-Doing List to create room for God to bring exciting new things into my life.
  7. “In business, there’s lots of “No’s”.  NO means ‘next opportunity”’. – Mark Burnett.  Great leaders are irrepressible.
  8. “Motivation is a big part of change.  Ability is profound factor in influence.  Those who are best at influence start with ability, not motivation.” – Joseph Grenny.  As a leader I spend a disproportionate amount of time “firing people up” when I should be investing in their skills.
  9. “India has so many problems with so few resources.  India can only solve its problems through innovation.” – Vijay Govindarajan.  Creativity is best produced in environments with limited staff, facilities and financial resources.  Necessity truly is the mother of invention.
  10. “When you judge yourself for asking for help, you, by default, always judge others when you offer help.  You have attached judgement to help.” – Brene Brown.  Bottom line – I don’t ask for help enough.
  11. “When you live for your own generation, you will grow up with your own generation and die with your own generation.  And your vision will die as well…Live for the next generation.” – Oscar Murui.  Healthy churches have a sustainable future by targeting their messaging to 20-somethings.
  12. “If you have a chose between those who can but think they can’t and those who can’t but think they can, choose those who think they can every time.” – Henry Cloud.  Optimism is in incredibly attractive in future team members and developing leaders.
  13. The leadership gift enables all the other gifts to flourish.” – Gary Schwammlein.  The success of churches largely depends on their ability to identify, cultivate, and release those who leadership gifts.
  14. Jesus has been at the epicenter of the local church for 2000 years.  He has and will continue to build His church and nobody’s death is going to stop it.” – Andy Stanley.  Many Christians need to relax.  Jesus has everything under control.

What did you learn from these quotes and how can you apply it?


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