Yesterday and today I am having the privilege of attending my second Global Leadership Summit simulcast through Bill Hybel's church Willow Creek, simulcast at Cove Church in Hampton Cove. It is a two-day leadership summit for over 160,000 leaders of business, church, and community across the globe. This year the summit is simulcast in 90 countries and 42 languages around the world. Music is by Gungor and Kevin O, a beat-boxing cellist. Yes you read that right. :) It is phenomenal!! Yesterday's speakers included Bill Hybels, Condoleeza Rice, Jim Collins (author of "Good to Great"), Marc Kielburger (who cofounded "Free the Children" at age 18), Sheryl Wudunn (Pulitzer Prize winner for her NY Times writing about China), and Craig Groeschel (founder and senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv). I am so blessed to have a husband who views my role in the home as an absolutely essential leader, worthy of time off for training and knowledge building. Last year he went on the first day, thinking he would get a lot out of it because he is a business owner and leader, but on the second day he found a way for me to be there as well. This year he signed us both up and found a sitter for both all-day events so we could learn and grow together. I was so challenged, inspired, and encouraged on day one that I need to sort of "de-brief" and type out all my thoughts before I even begin to take in all that God has for me on day two. :)
Bill Hybels started the sessions with the statement "Everyone wins when a leader gets better." I was reminded that my whole family would benefit from my leadership improving. He said that they recently hired this young lady and he told her to change her middle name to "Better" because she needed to constantly strive for better. I liked that. He said, "God didn't make you a leader to just respond to stuff all day. He made you a leader to move stuff ahead!"As he said last year, he reminded us that a leader's job is to move people from here to there. First you have to build the case for your followers that they can't stay here, and then when they realize it too, you cast a vision for what there will look like. Then you make a decision to go there and you do it, step by step. This one was such an easy application for me. There are so many theres that I want our family, our children to be at. Right now we are at a lot of heres. Some days that gets really tiring. Other days I can see so clearly that we are headed away from here and I need to make sure I have a clear vision of what there needs to look like. I'm going to be asking God over the next few days for a clearer vision of there and what all He wants me to be moving forward in our home. I can't wait to share what He reveals to me. :) I was reminded of a sermon I heard recently from the Gospels in the passage where Jesus calls the fishermen to be His disciples. He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." I love that "I will make you become". Jesus was the ultimate example of leadership, of moving people from here to there. He makes us become. Bill Hybels also suggested that you use an index card to write down your top 6 priorities every 6 weeks. Because sprinting for 6 weeks is doable; sprinting for 6 months is not. So ask God, "What 6 priorities do I most need to have in the next 6 weeks?" When those 6 weeks are over, evaluate and maybe change to a different 6 priorities for 6 weeks. Then only those 6 things get "energy bursts" over each 6 week period, and other things are easily seen as "nonessential" for just that short time. I like the idea and will be asking God what He wants to see on my 6x6 card.
Next we heard from Condoleeza Rice. WOW. That woman exudes intelligence and class and optimism, doesn't she? She began talking about the troubled times we are in as a nation and world, and how we have come out of troubled times before. She gave a couple of tips for anyone "fortunate enough to lead during troubled times": 1) Help your people see their own leadership qualities and potential. Again, Jesus did this when He told the disciples He would transform them. God did this when He appeared to Gideon in the Old Testament and called him a Mighty Warrior. I can do this in my home as I tell my children that they are smart, they are capable, they are gifted, and they are loved. I speak into them what they become. I keep the bar high as I lead them "there". 2) Be an irrepressible optimist! She said that "Today's headlines and history's judgement rarely agree." "One day the things that seem impossible now will seem inevitable in retrospect." She reminded us of Romans 5, which tell us that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces HOPE.
The next speaker was Jim Collins, who has written "Good to Great", "Great by Choice", and many other books. He has done countless studies of companies that failed and those that thrived, seeking a common factor to find what was the difference between success and failure. He started with a couple of examples. One was a march across the country from California to Maine. He said you have those people who start off on a sprint the fist few days, running as far and as fast as they can until they are exhausted. After a few days they lose steam, the weather conditions are tough, they meet with difficulty, and end up finishing dead last if they even make it. On the other hand you have people who determine ahead that they will keep a steady 20 mile march every day. On the beautiful, easy days, they go 20 miles. On the difficult, bad weather days, they go 20 miles. Consistent, fanatical discipline gets them to the finish line first. He said "Be enormously consistent. The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency." The other example he used was of two teams of men, Almondson and Scott, trying to reach the North Pole. Both teams left from the same spot on the same day. Both had comparable courses, comparable weather, comparable ability. Almondson arrived at the North Pole 34 days earlier than Scott. Almondson's men all arrived back home safely. Scott's men all died on the way back home. What was the difference? They have found the diaries of these two leaders. During a particularly terrible blizzard, Scott's diary said, "This weather is just too difficult to travel in. We will rest and wait until conditions improve to move on." Almondson's diary said, "Today was a difficult day." :) He said that "Greatness is first and foremost a matter of choice and discipline." You keep going when conditions are hard. Keep going when you see little to no progress. Keep going when all hope seems lost. Eventually you will get there.
After lunch we heard from some entrepreneurs who are really impacting the world through leadership. Marc Kielburger's brother was reading the newspaper at 12 years old when he found a news story about another 12 year old in a third world country who had been sold to a carpet factory, escaped after years of working his fingers to the bone to make rugs and not making a dime, and then killed by the owners of the carpet factory for escaping. His little brother was so fired up about the injustice of this boy's story that he told his friends about it at school and they formed a club "Twelve 12 year olds" who started taking action. He asked his older brother Marc for help, and together they began the organization Free the Children. As I saw the work those kids did started at 12 years of age, I was reminded that my kids are capable of so much greatness. He said "Gift + Issue = A Better World". Identify your child's gifting, then an issue that they are passionate about, and show them that they really can make a better world just from those two ingredients.
Next we heard from Sheryl Wudunn, who reminded us that "The only things necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing." She wrote a book called "Half the Sky" about women receiving opportunities around the world. I bought the book and can't wait to read it.
The last speaker yesterday was perhaps the most impactful for me. It was the Founder and Senior Pastor of LifeChurch.tv, Craig Groeschel. They had asked him to speak about "leading across the generations". He talked about the importance of believing in the next generation and embracing them, speaking into their lives and taking our role as mentor as vitally necessary in their lives. He has six kids. He said that his sixteen year old wrote a book last year. "What sixteen year old can write a book?" he asked. "One who has been told that she can write a book." WOW. He said that if we only delegate tasks to our children, we will develop followers. But if we delegate responsibility, we will develop leaders. I liked that. Expect more for and from your children. Psalm 71:18. We must be intentional with them because they will naturally bend toward mediocrity. We must inspire them to rise above mediocrity. I have to insert here that one application I took away was that mindless things like TV and video games are just honestly, not for my kids. I've been wondering why I have felt convicted that we should do very little or no TV and video games. It hit me that God was reminding me, "Those things aren't necessarily evil or bad, but they are time-fillers. They will not inspire, uplift, encourage your children to greatness. Stimulate their minds. Provide activities that promote growth and learning and progress, not activities that are simply "chilling out". Things that need chilling out are things that are dead. Stimulate LIFE."
Wow. I certainly have my work cut out for me! But I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me today and what He wants to do with it in our home from this day forward.
Wow. I have a