Thursday, August 11, 2011

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit--Len Schlesinger

Getting ready for the second session at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. Hoping to learn something that will help our team mobilize more persons to pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Len Schlesinger president of Babson College where they use the case study of Willow Creek Church in their studies of business.

Len's formula for business success
Find out who your customers are
Find out what they want
Give it to them

(We know children around the world want to know God loves them and so we're doing all we can to give them shoeboxes so they'll know that)

Getting from 'Here' to 'There'--
The problem of leading people somewhere else when they're comfortable where they are.
Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech is used as an example but no one talks about the 3-4 years it took for him to get people energized to receive the message of that speech.

You need to get people to understand the unacceptability of 'here' before they will move to 'there'.

A 'here' where people live in povery is unacceptable
A 'here' with an inadequate education system is unacceptable
A 'here' where we have too much food and can't get it to those in need is unacceptable
A 'here' where the young people can't look forward to a better future than their parents is unacceptable
(and a few more I couldn't get recorded)

What are we going to do about it?

Entrepreneurship can go a long way to providing for the future we aspire to achieve.

Successful entrepreneurs get 'writers' to write a book for them and tell their story in a more dramatic and disenfranchising way. So we get a skewed view of what entrepreneurs really are like. Most of those views are complete nonsense

Research about successful entrepreneurs shows
--low appetite for risk
--start without a sharply defined goal or vision
--distrust research that purports to predict the future
--don't usually come up with totally creative businesses
--not unusually self-confident
--are decisive but so are others
--sometimes and sometimes not egotistical

Family enterprises--the first generation creates, the second enjoys, and the third destroys

Large organizations who are unwilling to embrace entrepreneurship tend to disintegrate.

You cannot ride one business model through your life and career. You have to reinvent yourself 3-5 times in your career

We need to develop mechanisms who we can deal with challenges simultaneously instead of sequentially.

Peter Drucker says entrepreneurship is not magic; it can be learned.

Successful entrepreneurship requires you to forget everything you learned in school. History doesn't always predict the future.

1921 (someone) talked about the juxtaposition of risk and certainty. When you can't predict the future, you create it and that's what entrepreneurs do.

Think about being Indiana Jones--you fall in a hole, it's dark and you can't see. How do you get out? What do you do? What do you think about? First, look for what resources you have, take one careful step and assess, etc. Those are the rules for entrepreneurial action. In the face of unknowability what would rational action dictate?

--take small steps with what you have at hand
--limit the risk for each step
--build on what you find from taking that step
--build a team to help you

(the above steps are what it takes to pack a lot of shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child!)

affordable loss--pay only what you can afford to and want to--how badly do you want to do something? You can 'enroll' people then to come alongside you.

What keeps people from doing this? Don't worry about what you're going to do--just think about what you want to do NEXT. Focus on where you are before you take the next step.

We're afraid of taking action because of fear of failure. Only over the last 100 years have we intermingled organizational failure with personal failure. Failure rate of venture capital endeavors is 61%. Failure doesn't mean 'game over' it means try again with experience.

Instead of failure, call it an exercise in learning what no one else knows.

To be an entrepreneur--
--Know what you want
--Start with the means you have
--Be alert to what you are getting
--Take steps based on your means and what you want to pay
--It's not what you're going to do but what you're going to do next.
--Bring other people with you and remain flexible in what you do and how you do it.

This will take us from 'Here' to 'There'

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