Willow Creek Leadership Summit, Day 1!

I’m very excited to join the Willow Creek Leadership Summit at the Grace Community Church satellite site in Indianapolis for the first time!  My church brings almost 100 people to this summit, and I love being able to do this with almost our entire staff team, as well as many of our dedicated volunteers.

Here are some of the highlights of the day that will stick with me:

One theme that was talked about was the idea of “visions” as part of being a “legacy leader.” If you want to leave your mark on an organization and leave a legacy, then Bill Hybels said:

  • What God treasures most are people…even more than visions.
  • Nobody drifts into being a legacy leader
  • The grander the vision, greater the price tag.
  • Legacy leaders will ride out the rough patches because they are working for the grandeur vision.

Another thing I loved is that the conference on our campus was full of young people.  Older leaders were inspired to give younger emerging leaders a chance, and by increasing the realms of responsibility, we can entrust emerging leaders with more.  One of our volunteers, who is active throughout the church and is an empty nester, pulled me aside and said, “The whole time I was thinking of you.” Mmm. So powerful.

None of us are “born” leaders, but have a passion and a vision and put it into action.  Carly Fiorina said, ” The highest calling of leadership is to unlock the potential in others.” This means that one of the greatest parts of being a leader is being able to groom new leaders. Leadership doesn’t happen top-down, but bottom-up–you can’t change an organization by changing the heads, but by getting the “grunts” on board. She said, “Jesus didn’t go to the poor because they needed help. He went to the poor because he knew the potential they had.” Yes yes yes.

Susan Cain’s talk on introverts was very inspiring. I’m a pretty middle-of-the-line kind of gal, who is extremely outgoing, but gets drained and needs pajamas and her cat. I loved that she was willing to challenge the status quo of organizations run by extroverts, and explain that we need to give space so that every person can work within the stimulation they’re capable of handling. We live in a world where everything is so loud, that we forget the beauty of quiet; therefore we forget the beauty of introverts.  She also pointed out that we need to think of “networking in terms of service.” Instead of sweet-talking, I could prove myself through my actions (a model I’m way better at).

The idea of self-sacrifice as a leader was important to Patrick Lencioni; “I’m tired of hearing about servant leadership because I don’t think there’s any other kind of leadership. . .A true leader sacrifices themselves for the well-being of others without a guarantee of a return on investment.”

There’s much more than I can write here, but day one was inspiring!

I’m going to stock my bookshelf tomorrow…

(PS–I LOVE conferences, but I cannot sit still to save my life…Millennial problems.)

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