Willow Creek Leadership Summit Day 1 Notes

This is a huge event, it is hard to capture the size of the auditorium, and the event is being broadcast to a couple of hundred other sites. It will eventually invoke 150,000 leaders in over 80 countries.

This summit is unashamedly Christian but open to learning from people across the spectrum. It is about learning.

Bill Hybels

Leadership matters and you can become a better leader.

Five critical questions:

1. What is you challenge level?

Under, averagely or over challenged.
Where do you do your best work on this scale? -need to be under a little stress. We need to ensure that we have the right amount of challenge and that we are no too stressed for too long.
Can organisation be stressed in the same way people are? Yes, organisations can be over or under challenged.

2. What is your plan for dealing with challenging people?

One way to measure who are the challenging people is to rank them in the order of who you would lose first if someone had to go. If you would be willing to let people go you have to ask some hard questions about the people and their challenges. If people have bad attitudes you need to have a plan to deal with it and time limits. Likewise, underperformance needs to be dealt with.

If you don’t deal with challenging people, you drag down the good ones.

3. Are you naming, facing and resolving the problems you are facing?

If you don’t name problems you won’t deal with them.

4. When is the last time you examined the core of what you are all about?

It is easy to lose the plot of what we are all about. Can we find five woods that sum up what we are about?

5. Have you had your leadership world rocked recently?

Leaders need to be challenged if they are to grow. Your job as a leader is to move the organisation from here to there. If you are not prepared to do this, then get out of the way.

Len Schlesinger

Find out who your customers are, find out what they want, give it to them!

If you want to lead people to “there” you have to show why “here” is unacceptable.

How entrepreneurship can help move us forward.

The received wisdom about entrepreneurs is off-putting for mere mortals, but in truth entrepreneurs are very similar to the rest of us. Entrepreneurs don’t all have new ideas or an appetite for risk.

Leaders can be trained to find and create value. Business is changing so fast that even large corporations need entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is a discipline, not a gift.

Measuring cause and effect is only a good predictor if the future can adequately be extrapolated from the past. If you can’t predict the future then create it.

In the face of an unknowable situation, thinking is pointless you have to act. Small steps forward with what is available to you is the way to go. This is not profound, but it is all there is to it.

Start with things you care about. Don’t look for opportunities, look at what you care about and take the next step. Do things with you friends – partnerships start out of friendship.

What keeps people from doing this? Fear of failure. Failures vanish. The failure rate of professional venture firms is around sixty percent – these are smart people. If you fail, you have just learned something that no one else knows.

If you want to be an entrepreneur
1 know what you want
2. Use what you have at hand.
3. Take steps based on reality
4. Work according to what you can risk and invest
5. Bring others along

This won’t guarantee success, but it will improve your odds.

Cory Booker

One lesson learned every day: you will always face opposition: but we are only here because of the sacrifice of others and we can stand up to the world.

Everyone is born an individual, but too many die as copies.

The world you see outside of you is a reflection of what is inside of you. If you only see problems and not hope, you can’t help others.

The only way to make change in the world is to start with oneself.

The founder and CEO of Starbucks has pulled out of the conference. This is because an online petition has said that if he attends Starbucks will be signing up to an anti-gay agenda. Bill Hybels gave an excellent explanation of the Church position on this issue. They hope to meet with the people who launched the petition.

Brenda Salter-McNeil

Needed to learn to become a world Christian. Experience as an African-American did not equip her to understand the world. This was a life changing event.

World is changing really fast now and emerging leaders are much more global by default.

How do we respond to the global changes? We need a new global leadership.

The church was called to Global witness (Acts 1:8). We still have that call. The outward movement from Jerusalem on to the ends of the earth involves crossing a series of boundaries.

Jerusalem is home.
Judea is like home but not quite. We meet people who look like us, but don’t talk like us.
Samaria is nearby, but hostile. Like neighbourhoods that we drive through with our car doors closed or prisons. Samaria is corporate greed, child soldiers…

We need something to push us across these boundaries. The Spirit was the catalyst in Acts 2. The church was always multinational and multiethnic from the start. This is how we are meant to be.

We need to see world events through the eye of faith, not fear.

If you want to lead in these times
– We need a divine mandate
– Recognise how God is moving through the events in the world.
– Mobilise people to go. We need people who will go long term, to learn from people, speak their language and live alongside them.

Seth Godin

We used to do things from a position of power. Mass marketing leads to average products that appeal to the masses.

But the rules have changed and we now have huge variety. The industrial age is over and has been replaced by an age of tribes. Groups of people who want to be together and want the same thing. All people want to be in synch, to be part of a tribe.

Tribes need leaders and this provides us with opportunities.

Laptops have become the means of production and it is owned by the people. In a job you don’t work your hardest or your boss will give you more work. Mass production leads to interchangeable people. If you don’t come to work, your job will be given to someone else.

The thing with a race to the bottom is that you might win.

The new world gives us the opportunity to do things differently -to be an artist. If your boss knew the way to do things they would have done it. We won’t change the world by doing what our boss tells us.

If failure is not an option then neither is success. Art always invokes the possibility of failure.

Part of the future will involve giving gifts.

We are always looking reasons not to do our art.

Steven Furtick

Key question: how come a kid like this is on stage with famous people?

Youth was not a barrier in the Scripture and youth has the advantage of being audacious and a bit crazy. Believing God for the impossible is the theme of my life. Don’t want to work, buy a boat and then die one day, I want some stories to tell.

2 Kings 9:3-20
Elisha is as awesome as Elijah but gets less press.
The Kings had done all they could, but they ran out of water- and only God can make it rain. I can’t expect God’s blessing if I don’t do things God’s way, cause only God can make it rain.

The thing about a conference is that it great while we are here. But what happens when you go home.

The question is how do you go from inspiration to implementation.
Having ideas doesn’t make you a visionary, it makes you a daydreamer. You have to make things happen. You don’t have to see the end, just the first step.

If you want to see the land filled with water dig some ditches.

Life can beat the audacity out of you – but God hasn’t finished with you.

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