Top 5 Takeaways From the Global Leadership Summit—Plus A Bonus!

Top 5 Takeaways from the Global Leadership Summit—Plus A Bonus!

This past week I, like 90,000 other leaders, spent Thursday and Friday participating in the Global Leadership Summit. The Summit is a two-day event that is telecast live from Willow Creek’s campus near Chicago. They bring in amazing speakers, both within the body of Christ and also leadership experts and social scientists. It was a great event. 

Because of the flux of information during these two days, I really tried to take minimum notes and just be present to listen. Fortunately, I have this luxury as a coworker is an amazing note taker, so I knew I’d have the margin to go back and access his notes. (You can get them too; click here!) Thanks @BenInIowa

After it was over, I tried to boil everything down to bite-sized takeaways to immediately apply— So here they are…

#1—The highest calling of leadership

“The highest calling of leadership is to unlock the untapped, unlimited potential of others”  Carly Fiorina (@CarlyFiorina).

Wow! That’s intense. Such a simple statement, but when applied my life takes on another dimension of meaning and legacy. So it is really profound in how that statement speaks to me. It was this moment the Lord spoke a few specific things to me—profound, but again very simple things. 

You see one of my calling is being a teacher within the body of Christ, I mainly teach through the power of the internet by writing what God is showing me and sharing it freely. But I also enjoy the occasional chance to preach and I love small group settings where the scriptures are poured over. That’s how I am wired! 

But for me, as a leader and teacher within the body of Christ, it is my most high calling to unlock the unlimited, untapped potential in each of you. Regardless of where you are at on the spectrum of this life. What God spoke to me, is to take the next step when preparing and writing (or teaching from the front) to strive to connect, teach and inspire others to also take the next step and then show them how. I have always strived to remain faithful to singularly teach and explain scripture, and I will continue in that. But I feel the Lord is going to grow me in how connect and unlock this potential in others. I have no idea what this will look like—but my seatbelt is fastened! 

#2—Thank, bless & foster an atmosphere of inspiration

“People want to feel valuable and that their job matters. Tell them regularly” Bill Hybels (@BillHybels).

In the opening session Bill Hybels honestly shared about the struggles within his organization and how feedback from a survey helped him realize the need to let people regularly know their job mattered. 

I left a job after ten years, if I was honest I would have been there thirty. I loved it, I got a lot of satisfaction out of the work and the customers I worked for. But I left because it had become a toxic environment where I was made to feel like what I did didn’t matter. I never want to put someone through this, which means being mindful of the culture I’m creating within my workspace. 

The truth is we spend at least one-third of our time working; our jobs matter not only to the organization but they give us a sense of personal worth. If you have employees make sure you let them know that they are valuable and that their job matters. Thank and bless them regularly! 

#3—Solitude is a precious commodity 

“There is no such thing as a one size fits all work environment” Susan Cain (@susancain).

I was looking forward to Susan Cain’s talk, she is the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.’ And while I am a wordy person with the pen, I am rather introverted in person. So what she shared was interesting. I loved how she highlighted the need to create a work environment tailored to individual needs. 

I’ve known for a long time, the type of environment that fosters the most productivity for me. First the space has to be beautiful. For half of you reading this, this won’t make sense. But I have a need to feel inspired while working. So yes, that means having very large red poppy’s on my wall and a hot pink rocking chair for casual conversations during the day. Secondly, it means I need a work day at home full of solitude and quiet. A day to work non-stop without interruptions which has become my favorite day of the week. And third it means a flexible schedule because I am at my best early in the morning and I get my best ideas at night. So most of the time an 8-5 scheduled feels limiting. For me, these things add up to a great work environment. 

It makes me so grateful that my current employer also recognizes and values this. I feel they celebrate each individual and honors the ways in which we work best. This is a takeaway for me because as I lead others in the future I want to cultivate an atmosphere where others are able to succeed because I’ve met basic needs to create the environment that will foster their success and creativity.

#4—Leading for the wrong reason 

“The most dangerous mistakes leaders make is becoming a leader for the wrong reason” Patrick Lencioni (@patricklencioni).

Wow, this one hits home. This is one of those painful lessons I seem to learn over and over. It is good to be self-aware and to test motives before jumping into something half-heartedly. This makes my list of takeaways because I am a firm believer in the fact that while we can do a lot of thing satisfactory we can only one or two thing really well! Choose the one thing you do really well and do it for the right reason! 

#5—Can we tell the truth and keep a friend?

“What are the conversations we are not holding or not holding well?” Joseph Grenny (@josephgrenny

Man! Again, another one that hits home. Joseph Grenny spoke on the power of having crucial conversations. He identified how to recognize when they were happening and how to behave during them so they turned out well. Being in my mid-thirties, I wish I would have learned some of this early on in my teen years. Avoidance is usually the approach I take #LearnedBehavior. Which instead of having crucial conversations, they end up being emotional or explosive. Grenny commented, that if you do not talk these out, you will eventually act them out… I know this too well

Here’s his summary point… Candor is never the problem. A negative reaction is never in defense of what you are saying, it is in defense of why you are saying it. It’s easy to read between the lines and misjudge the motive behind what is being said. So when you have the opportunity to be candid, start with love, look to learn in the situation and make it safe for all parties involved. In the end this can become a trust-building experience for everyone in the conversation.

My takeaway— Buy and read Greeny’s book; Crucial Conversations. This is going to save heartache if I can learn and grow in this area.  

Bonus—You can do it, but you can’t do it without Jesus!

“Remember, the goal isn’t to do great things. The goal is to get to the arms of Jesus. We have our prize, reward, and what we have been working for. We have Jesus. That’s the extraction point” Louie Giglio (@louiegiglio).

Louie is awesome! I haven’t listened to him much outside of a few YouTube videos but he is awesome in the fact that He is so Jesus-Centered! His whole talk was an inspired reminder that the stakes are too high for us to die with a small vision. We have to cultivate the idea that life is short and God’s power is sufficient enough for you and me to take the next step right now. Here’s his message in a nutshell...

  • Life is short
  • God is big
  • Take the next step

For us, the plan is to not quit because we have fears, doubts, circumstances, adversity, hardship, or because of critics. We need to keep taking next steps because there is power in the name of Jesus Christ. There is no Plan B. Plan A is to fall into the arms of Jesus Christ and that’s all there is.  Don’t stop walking in the confidence that Christ is enough to fulfill everything He has called you to do.

This is a good word! Reviewing all of take-aways from the conference, it would be easy to get side-tracked and discouraged not knowing where to start… but somehow just knowing that the point of all of this, is that at the end of my life to just fall into the arms of Jesus is enough. It gives me the energy to run on! (Hebrews 12:1-3).

Your Turn!

Did you attend this year’s Summit? Share one of your takeaways from the event?


Juli Camarin

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