Bill Hybels is the senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church and the Willow Creek Association Chairman of the Board. He has been the opening speaker of every Global Leadership Summit that I have been to and this year was no different. His talk was really four different talks all rolled into one where he hit on different topics that were loosely related and centered around leadership. He started out with the Parable of the Sower as found in Luke 8:4-8. He didn't go into a great exegetical explanation of the passage but that wasn't the intent. What he did was pick out that the parable has a 75% failure rate. The sower threw seeds and some landed on the path, some on the rocky soil, some on the weedy soil and some on the good soil. Only the seed that landed on the good soil (1 out of 4 types of soil) actually grew into flourishing crop. The point is that if we want to see more good crop grow in our churches or organizations then we need to sow more seed. He went on to share how we as the leaders need to set the tone for sowing more seed in our organizations.
The second session started off with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. I had heard her in sound bites from the news but I had not heard her speak in length. Now I understand why people keep calling for her to be Mitt Romney's Vice Presidential candidate. She would have my vote no matter what office she ran for. One of her main points was that as a leader you cannot just lead others but rather you need to help others realize their own leadership qualities. We can't just create a nation of followers but we need to build up other leaders.
Jim Collins finished off the second session and it is easy to see why he was one of the most popular teachers at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He covered his research into what made leaders ultra successful. The three qualities that they found to be common among all of those leaders is Fanatical Discipline, Empirical Creativity and Productive Paranoia. For me the idea of Fanatical Discipline was the key to the whole talk. Fanatical Discipline is the discipline to have the discipline to keep to a consistency of action regardless of the circumstances. You push through on the tough days and you don't over do it on the easy days. That way you always are moving forward and you have enough reserve for when you hit great difficulty.
The third session had Marc Kielburger and Sheryl WuDunn. They were interesting but spoke more about their social justice work than leadership.
Finally the fourth session featured lifechurch.tv pastor Craig Groeschel. He spoke very well about the need to reconcile the older generation of leadership with the younger generation. He didn't put the blame for the disconnect on one of the generations but on both. He gave three keys to bridging the gap. The first is that we need to create intentional feedback loops that include a wide range of people. The second is to create specific mentoring moments. And the third is to create opportunities for significant leadership development.
So far the event has been very good and this is all I have time to share right now. I will share more and in depth in upcoming blog posts.