Thursday, August 14, 2014

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit -- Bill Hybels

(Here at the 2014 Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit to get some leadership training to help with my job as a volunteer area coordinator for Operation Christmas Child )-- Bill Hybels opens the summit speaking on "Hard Fought Leadership Lessons"....

Everything that matters in this world rises and falls on leadership.  If you care about anything in your community, you'd better care about leadership.  With that premise established, I launched into the first lecture at the first Global Leadership Summit.

World peace rises and falls on leadership as does the eradication of poverty.  As does the raising of kids and grandkids.  I am moved that people around the world are getting this and taking bold steps to better their leadership.  There is so much at stake today.

One of the supreme values of the leadership summit is humility--each of us declaring at the outset we have so much more to learn about influence.  We must cultivate the capacity to learn from a kaleidoscope of leaders.  Pastors can learn from business leaders and business leaders can learn from pastors.  The religious can learn from those who consider themselves less so.

Hard Fought Leadership Lessons--

Some leadership lessons come at very great expense.

First Lesson -- T or F -- All leadership is intently spiritual (TRUE) -- Remember how responses of a negative boss affected your spirit.  Your spirit cannot survive under negative leadership.

Leaders are visionaries and paint pictures that produce passion in other people.  Then comes the adrenaline rush of progress and the vision begins to consume us.  It becomes our identity and affirms our self worth but the condition of our team may fall to second import as we become obsessed with the thrill of the vision.

Often leaders with the highest passion have the lowest level of awareness of the spirit of their team.  The leader sacrifices so deeply for vision achievement that they feel no one else on the team cares as much as they do.  This is crazy-making to a leader.

Once the leader looks at the team through the "they don't care" lens they feel they don't need to be as care-ful for the hearts of the team members.  They feel the team members are expendable or exchangeable.  None of this is discussed openly but everybody starts to feel it.

An employee survey was taken at Willow 7 years ago--the results came and some were positive comments but some sensed a disconnect between them and the senior leaders.  One comment cut me to the core of my being, "I love my church with all my heart but I feel like a grunt."

What God treasures most in this world is people and one of my people felt like a grunt.  I fell to my knees and wept and said 'these things are going to change.' I read the comment at a staff meeting the next day and they were as crushed and agreed things would change and they would transform their culture.

It took me so long to learn this and so many people paid the price of my dim-wittedness along the way.  Don't get so addicted to vision achievement that the people around you feel replaceable or exchangeable or like grunts.

What practical steps are required to set the spirit of your team on fire?  Five key commitments--

1)  Used an outside firm to do a survey and interpret the results

2)  Leader and executive team really owned this change (Your culture will only ever be as healthy as the senior leader wants it to be)

3)  Got serious about training everyone on the staff who manages people  (it should be illegal to allow some people to manage other people)  People join organizations; they leave managers.  You will never reach your culture's full vitality potential until every person in your culture leads and loves well

4)  Raise the level of candor in performance reviews.  Jack Welch said, "The kindest form of management is the truth."  Use the words 'start', 'stop', and 'continue'.   (for example--if meetings need improvement--use the 3 M plan for meetings -- Move ahead; Modify; Motivate before the meeting ends--inspire them)  (example;  "Lisa, continue calling the best out of people."  "Paul, your team knows you pray for them; continue leading like that"--the main point is specificity so employees know exactly how to improve

5)  Ruthless commitment to resolving relational conflict regardless of how scary it feels.  "What if we all looked at conflict as a chance to improve relationships?"  from the book 'Reconcile' by ?Ledereck?

Chilling statistics--in the average Christian organization only 54% of employees are truly engaged in their work;  in the US corporate world only 30% engaged in their work; internationally the rate is 1/2 that;  Willow Creek showed 81% are highly engaged but it's heartbreaking that 19% feel either underchallenged or disconnected.  I won't be satisfied until 100% of our staff want to come to work every day.

Second Lesson -- T or F  Great leadership is by definition relentlessly developmental (TRUE)   Many give up on leadership development because they don't know how.  Bob Eichinger? (leadership guru)  5 ways to develop leaders--

--put them in a challenging job
--assign them to a short-term task force
--offer feedback
--provide coaching
--provide courses and seminars

Assigning people to short-term task forces allow you to test drive a leader's ability.  5 criteria-

--success or failure must both be possible
--emerging leader must be in authority
--must work with a broad group of people
--real pressures and a real deadline
--must be evaluated by a senior leader

How resourceful they are is crucial.  Resourcefulness is the greatest tool for a leader.

I was best prepared for leadership by a dad who fostered resourcefulness.  I was sent on an impromptu ski trip by myself as an eleven-year-old.  I had no idea where Colorado even was and my dad said, "Figure it out."  Then my dad said, "Figure it out and don't call me."   Admittedly my dad's approach was extreme and it wasn't nurturing enough but to this day I benefit from his mission to make me resourceful.

You need to know what an emerging leader will do when they don't know what to do.  No senior leader can know enough right now to figure out what to do when thrust into a big role.  Resourcefulness is key.

When is the last time you took the time to assign an emerging leader to a task force test?  Some young leaders have amazing resourcefulness that you can only discern by giving them task force tests.

Third Lesson --  Finding and developing leaders with a legacy mindset

two kinds of shepherds --

 1) hirelings (will not risk anything for the sheep and will leave when something better comes along)

2)  owner shepherd (actually care about the sheep; have a long-term view; will lay down life for the sheep)

Average tenure for a Fortune 500 CEO is 4.5 years;  In faith-based charities it is increasingly common to see 'hirelings' -- quality organizations cannot be built on the shoulders of hirelings.  Need to discern between short-term ladder climbers and legacy leaders

Legacy leaders will ride out rough patches; willing to address long-term economic viability because they are working for the grander vision; run on a higher-quality fuel source (serving God or wanting to leave a legacy)  example--Nelson Mandela was a legacy leader who even in his final years committed himself to leaving a legacy through leadership in his country.

Ladder-climbers--fueled by personal ambition

The Bible makes it clear--we get one shot at life.  Your gravestone will have a birth date and an end date and your life will be represented by the dash in between.  You can lead small and safe or selfishly.  You can choose to be a hireling your whole life.  Or you can be an owner type who leaves a legacy behind when you're done with the dash.  You don't drift into becoming a legacy leader.  The drift is always toward safety and comfort.  Every legacy leader comes to a decision to pursue a grander vision and never looks back.  Have you reached that point in your life yet?  Or can you really just talk a good game?  This is the only life you get to live out.  Don't go to your grave without tasting life that is truly life; a life that leaves something beautiful behind.

Have you given any real thought to what your legacy will be?  What of beauty will you leave behind when your life is done?  We've been praying that God will speak with you and rock your life and when God whispers to you, I pray you wil pay attention and do what he asks you to do.

Fourth Lesson -- Endurance

The grander the vision the greater the price tag.  The single greatest mission was Jesus' redemption that required the spilling of His blood.  Don't be surprised at the cost of being a legacy leader.  You need to develop strategies to endure.  May need more times of solitude to recharge.  It's hard to hear God unless you lower the ambient noise of your life.

Tells story of a woman who tried to row across the Atlantic Ocean and had been alone for 83 days.  She reached for her radio and said, "Help" (have you ever felt that exhausted, discouraged--on the brink of hopelessness)  Imagine her surprise when an 1100 foot ocean liner shows up and stops for her.  They gave her provisions and cheered for her.  She probably thought, "All I did was ask for help and God sent the Queen Mary II to help me."  -- Some of you are exhausted and you need to radio for help.  Humble yourself.  Look toward heaven and say, "God help me."

We have a transcendently powerful God who will rescue those who are crushed in spirit.  You might be one prayer away from a divine Queen Mary style rescue.

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