Since I’ve been posting recaps of the various speakers, I’ve had a few people ask for some more personal opinions on the day. Well, glad you asked. Here are 12 random thoughts from the day.

1. Bill Hybels can teach, and teach well, when it comes to leadership. – I remember last year’s Leadership Summit having a bit of an awakening when Bill delivered another good message on leadership. I realized it’s easy to overlook him because you’re always wondering who the speakers are going to be at the event. It’s easy to forget that he always does a great job of teaching.

I know a number of people who don’t like Bill and/or Willow Creek for any number of reasons. (And, the reasons are usually weak.) Tis a shame because they miss out on great teaching from Bill, especially at Leadership Summit. There have been a lot of flash-in-the-pan pastors and teachers, and yet Bill Hybels is still going strong. In my opinion, I thought his message, from beginning to end, was the best of the day. There’s a lot to process from it. (click here to read recap of Bill Hybels’ session)

2. Decline starts when you’re still going strong. – A salient point from Jim Collins. He was running with his wife in the Colorado mountains, and she was running with ease on the switchbacks at over 10,000 feet. Two months later she’s diagnosed with cancer that would led to a double mastectomy. Cancer was already ravaging her body even though she appeared to be fit and strong. It’s the same with organizations. The first three stages of decline happen when the organization still appears to be healthy on the outside. If you have early detection, you can cure it easier. We need to know how to detect it early so it doesn’t kill the organization later. (click here to read recap of Jim Collins’ session)

3. Culture is key. – Hybels talked about wanting people on his team that had the three C’s: character, competency and chemistry. He’s added a fourth, culture. We need people on our teams that will understand, fit and flourish within our organization’s unique culture. If we have people on our team that don’t fit our organization’s culture, then we need to have a hard talk with them. Your organization is not going to be successful if you have people on the team that don’t fit your culture. (The point Hybels made here reminded me a lot of what Tony Hsieh talked about at Big Omaha.)

4. What is A21 Campaign? – Christine Caine gave a passionate presentation about hope and redemption, yet I felt it was a bit of a missed opportunity to highlight the A21 Campaign she directs. Her personal story was good, but I would’ve liked to hear more details of her ministry work. I think a number of people were ready to act, but weren’t given an opportunity because she didn’t talk directly about her work. At past Leadership Summits, we’ve heard the stories of the people who founded Kiva, Teach For America, International Justice Mission, Compassion International and more, but then heard the stories of how those organizations came to be. Some of them made direct asks to the audience to get involved. Directly or indirectly, it propelled people to get involved. (I would know. I gave to those organizations after hearing their stories in detail.) There wasn’t that with Christine’s ministry work. We didn’t hear about the A21 Campaign and I thought it was a bit of a missed opportunity by her. A lot of people would’ve jumped to help with her work to trafficked individuals if she told more of the story and/or offered the chance. Why am I harping on this? Well…

5. 27 million slaves on Earth right now. – Christine dropped that stat on us during her talk. What can we do to reduce that number? (click here to read recap of Christine Caine’s session)

6. Will China export tv programs and not just tv sets? – An interesting tidbit that Dr. Zhao Xiao mentioned was despite all the growth China has had recently, there is no “China Dream”. People around the world know of the “American Dream” because they are values. China needs to have defining values if it is going to be a superpower. (click here to read a recap of Dr. Zhao Xiao’s session)

7. China and how it views its own history. – I’ve been doing work in China since 2000 and I’ve always been a bit amused at how proud China is of its history. They talk about how long they’ve been around, and I’m wondering, “So what?” That came up a bit in Dr. Zhao Xiao’s talk, about how China was a world leader in economics and literature up to the 19th century. I’m thinking, “By who’s standards?” (I always liked this gem the Chinese would tell me. The Great Wall is the only man-made object viewable from space. Right…) Because no other nation in the world took China that seriously at the time. It does have a long and rich history, but it’s not as key as they think it is. (Of course, everyone has been taking China seriously for awhile now.)

8. Redemption is hard and messy, but needed and rewarding. – While Christine talked about redemption, I appreciated Adam Hamilton’s story about leading his church through the redemptive process. It’s one of those principles in the Christian faith everyone likes in theory, but doesn’t like dealing with in reality. Adam’s example, and what he shared, was good to hear because if you’re in ministry for awhile you’re going to have to deal with someone’s moral failure. How will you handle the subsequent redemption? (click here to read a recap of Adam Hamilton’s session)

9. God can redeem, but Plan A is ideal. – I sometimes hear Christians say their own sin was a good thing because it ultimately led to good. I always find this justification to be idiotic. Of course, God can use evil for good, but that doesn’t mean that we should strive to do evil for good. I was glad when Adam Hamilton briefly said it. Redemption is great and it can transform people in amazing ways, but we should always strive for the ideal.

10. Every organization has problems that shouldn’t be solved and tensions that shouldn’t be resolved. – We need to learn to manage the tensions that come up in work and life. If we can manage them, and thus leverage them, it will lead to progress. Many of the tensions in work are things we cannot choose between and then move on from it. We must manage the tension. Andy Stanley’s example of the tension a church faces between being a church for mature believers or seekers is relevant. I’ve heard the argument numerous times at Christ Community Church. (Where I work.) People want CCC to choose one over the other. Why not both? Why not manage the tension? Why not stress one at one point in the year, and then go to the other at another point in the year? Why not leverage the tension so CCC can grow more? (click here to read recap of Andy Stanley’s session)

11. To-Do’s – Most sessions end with me wanting to act upon something I heard. Between the things Bill Hybels said, and the list of ten things Jim Collins provided for people to do, I’ll be keeping busy.

12. Go Big Red! – Tony Dungy mentioned how Scott Frost recruited his son to play football. When he said Scott’s name, there were murmurs all over the room at Brookside. (Brookside Church is a satellite location to watch Leadership Summit live.) In case you don’t know who Scott Frost is, he is a former Nebraska Cornhusker quarterback that led the team to the 1997 National Championship.

Of course, there was a lot more from the day that could be put here. I need some sleep, though! I’ll be blogging more tomorrow.

Kudos to Brookside Church and the job they do being the satellite campus in the Omaha area.

2 thoughts on “12 Thoughts On Day One Of Leadership Summit 2010

  1. Thanks Micah!

    Working on wrap up of the entire Summit. Probably will go up tomorrow. Interested to see what you think.

    Sure we'll talk more about Summit at work. Looking forward to it.


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