Friday, August 10, 2018

Willow Creek GLS18--Craig Groeschel--Anticipatory Leadership

Here's Craig Groeschel's talk from the Willow Greek GLS18 about anticipatory leadership (which pretty much drained my brain.)

Where do we go from here?  We’ve absorbed so much.  I want to talk about anticipatory leadership. How do we look forward and anticipate what could be coming in the future?

I lead a church and we’re passionate about eradicating Bible poverty.  About 12 years ago we had an idea to create a website called like a Christian Facebook.  We were about two weeks from taking down the site when Bobby Grunewald said Apple is coming out with an app.  What if we took our content and built and app and released an app with the Bible on it.  We decided to ask around to see if anyone knew how to create an app. We found a 19-year-old part-time staffer who built the app and we launched it 10 years ago.  We found the first weekend 81,000 people had downloaded the app.  On Monday the 19-year-old had a full-time job and now 10 years later 1/3 of a billion people have downloaded the app.

Everyone say “What if”—how do we anticipate where things are going?

The difference between a good leader and a great leader is one who learns to anticipate rather than react.

“Most players skate to where the puck is. I skate to where it’s going to be.”—Wayne Gretzky

The lifespan of your structure is diminishing as we speak.  If we are not changing we’re falling farther behind.  As we’re anticipating the future you have to realize what you know may be wrong.

For centuries around the world pastors ministered in one local church but now because of technology we can do ministry in multiple sites. We formed very strong opinions about how this should work.  Some called us experts. If we start to wrongly own the title of experts we’re susceptible to the “curse of confidence.” 

When Twitter came out I didn’t believe people would care what I thought about in 140 characters or less…or pictures on Instagram.  I thought it was a fad. I was sure.  Therefore, I am behind in social media influence.

When we’re completely sure, we’re vulnerable:
The Curse of Confidence
--Difficult to receive feedback
--Answer more questions than they’re asking
--Assume too much and stop innovating

How we learn to anticipate:  The three D’s of Anticipator y Leadership


1)   Develop situational awareness—honestly and accurately assess the true current state of our organization. Many times we don’t know what we don’t know. Self-awareness is incredibly difficult. The Dunning-Kruger Effect—people have difficulty recognizing their own incompetence. Those who rank themselves as the most skilled are generally the least skilled.  Those who are the most capable often don’t know it.  We have to work hard to fight for humility so we can assess ourselves. Most leaders could learn more from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them. Look honestly and have the integrity to tell the truth. No one lies better than leaders. Look at the culture and the health of the team.  If something is not working, ask why. Andy Stanley says, “If you don’t know why something is working when it is, you won’t know how to fix it when it’s not.”  A doctor who was diagnosing me said, “I always force myself to ask 21 questions.” I asked him why and he replied, “Because 21 is one more than 20.”  You are asking questions to get to the root reason of why something is working or not—honestly diagnosing your organization
2)   Discern future threats and opportunities—I encourage you to start to learn to anticipate in areas outside of your area of expertise.  Begin to practice in areas outside your field developing theories.  For instance, I have a theory that younger people may reject social media.  I have a theory about higher education—that it might be overrated.  The cost/benefit may be starting to tilt.  How do we approach this?  --Embody healthy skepticism and lead with bold optimism. What we’re doing now will not work forever.  In 66 years Lego never had a down year, then suddenly everything changed in 1998 and profits plummeted from 146 million to 48 million in one year. Lego underestimated the digital revolution.  All kinds of things could go wrong. The price of oil could drop, the housing market could plummet…  At the same time we remember fear is a choice and so is faith.  You’ll always face obstacles but we remember new challenges always equal new opportunities. Lego showed this when they partnered with Star Wars which led to them creating their own movies.  When you see a problem you train yourself to think opportunity.  Innovation is born out of limitation. “ Innovation is seeing what everybody else sees and thinking what nobody else thought.”
3)   Disrupt what is and create what could be—Think about Air BnB or Uber. See possibilities before others see them.  Sometimes people ask me what I see as the future of the church.  These are my opinions for my culture.  My theory is that for a while churches have been trying to make the gospel cool. I think people are getting tired of cool and want more Jesus and less cool. The contemporary service is the new traditional. There needs to be more focus on substance than style.  Now I believe the focus should go from trying so hard to get them in the one hour and go to them for the rest of the hours. What matters in engaging people? They need to be needed and to be known. One of the greatest forms of discipleship is getting people into community. Less Jesus in me and more in we.  Christianity is experiencing God together.  When the world gets darker the light shines brighter. Through Jesus Christ the local church can make a difference.

What do we do from here?  Three Questions:
1)   What is the true, current state of your organization? Your leadership: Where are you successful? Flat? Struggling?
2)   If you were starting now, what are you currently doing now that you would not do? Why are you doing it?
3)   If you were starting today, what would you attempt? When are you going to attempt it?

If you wait until you’re 100% to try something new you will always be too late.

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