(Here at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit praying for God to give me new insight to help me in leading with Operation Christmas Child. To learn more about OCC click here...)
The One Thing to Get Right
Bill talked yesterday about the fact that leaders matter disproportionately and I thought how true that is. Yesterday we experienced so many things and I thought “Isn’t it true that when you sow into a leader’s life how that return becomes quite amazing.” We owe it to Willow Creek Assn. to let them know how wonderful it is to sit and soak in this great leadership stuff. (applause)
Bill and I are both grandparents. Something happens when you become a grandparent—you hold that child and know it’s the most beautiful and intelligent baby ever born. Then you ask yourself how intelligence skipped a generation.
A few years after the Iron Curtain had come down I was in Ukraine getting ready to speak at a leadership conference. The interpreter said I had a challenge because, “You’re speaking to thousands of people who’ve never had a leader value them.” I asked myself how I would connect with them. When I walked out on stage as I watched their faces I could tell leadership was something they didn’t understand. I asked have you ever been suspicious of a leader or been hurt by one? And all hands were raised. It’s amazing about leadership—you have the ability to bless people or curse people. I told them I wanted to share ONE THING that a leader needs to get right. I wanted to get them to “go there” because before you can lead someone you need to find them. I needed to get them to think intentionally because everything they knew about leadership was negative. The ONE THING I want you to do is INTENTIONALLY EVERY DAY add value to people.
Last week I had a conversation with the CEO of One Hope—largest distribution worldwide for children. He said they started in Ghana and asked how many wanted to be a leader and 95% did NOT because they felt leaders were corrupt. After leadership material was taught, 85% DID want to be leaders. It turned when they realized adding value to people was the core of leadership.
When I talk with Presidents of countries, I ask, “Are you adding value to your people or do you want your people to add value to you?”
There is a thin line in leadership between motivating people and manipulating people. Manipulating people is always wrong.
Three questions followers ask leaders:
1. Do you like me? (compassion)
2. Can you help me? (competence)
3. Can I trust you? (character)
Basically, will you add value to my life? Adding value to people on a consistent basis makes things amazing.
Everything worthwhile is uphill. Everything. Life’s not easy; never has been; isn’t supposed to be. Everything that is precious and beautiful is uphill (a good marriage, a successful business)
People have uphill hopes and they have downhill habits. The only way you can break a downhill habit is to get intentional in your life.
Until people can turn on the switch to be intentional they can never make progress. There is no accidental achievement.
Intentional living is deliberate. We have to come and make a choice in our life that we’re going to be intentional.
Significance is not about me; it’s about others and it’s all uphill and the downhill habit that fights against it is selfishness. Selfishness and significance are incompatible.
So you think you’re not selfish, huh? I think you are. When you look at a group picture, who is the first person you look for? You judge the picture on how good you look.
The reason I teach intentional living is because most people don’t lead their life they accept their life—and it’s unintentional and downhill.
How do we intentionally add value to people? 5 Things to Do—
1. Value people (Jesus values people; God values you; God values people I don’t like) – we as Christ followers are going to have to choose whether to spend our lives connecting with people or correcting them
2. Think of ways to add value to people –intentional living means intentional thinking; who am I going to see today and how can I add value to them? I have my grandchildren practice this, also.
3. Look for ways to add value to people – have your receptors on; when I am an added-value liver I become an added-value looker; I want to add value to people who don’t know me
4. Add value to others – go from knowing to doing; at then end of the day I evaluate and ask myself if I added value to people that day
5. Encourage others to add value to people – every day spread the message of valuing people
Story of a young woman named Gabby from Paraguay who called her husband and said she wanted to quit her job and lead this movement of intentional living in Paraguay. She came back six months later and said I want you to sign your book for the president. I’m going to meet him so he can invite you to come to Paraguay. We were invited to come speak to the leaders of Paraguay and on Sunday I will leave to go to Paraguay for more training. Gabby said, “You are going to cry because you’re going to speak to 8,000 facilitators who will train 70,000 teachers around the country.” She kept saying, “That’s totally God.” Here was one lady who decided to go to a country a make a difference.
The question I have for you is simple: Out of 300,000 people, who is going to be the next Gabby? Who is going to say, “I am going to intentionally add value to people every day and make my life count.” I am guessing there will be Gabbys that will rise up from this Summit and make a difference for the ages.