Another Leadership Summit has come and gone, so here are fifteen observations and thoughts from it. Why “15”? Tommie Frazier. (Click here to read my thoughts on Day 1 of Leadership Summit.)

1. Day 2 of Summit brought it. – While I missed the opening speaker on Day 2, Jeff Manion, I thought the next four speakers did great in their sessions. (And I heard Jeff Manion’s session was good as well.) The speakers were varied in their backgrounds and businesses, yet for me they all seemed to complement each other. It made for a satisfying day as a listener. I have a lot to process from Terri Kelly, Daniel Pink, Blake Mycoskie and Jack Welch.

2. “But they made a choice”.Jack Welch said that when Bill Hybels pressed him on ministries not being able to pay their top performers what businesses can. I loved it for some reason. Jack refused to back down from the corporate culture of paying top performers high salaries and feeling sorry for people in ministry who aren’t paid as much. But they made a choice. Those of us working in ministry know the deal when we chose it. If it’s about money and providing enough so we can send our kids to college, then we should look elsewhere. We know the deal. We can either feel sorry for ourselves and miss out on some things, or embrace the call on our lives. I may not have as much as others working a similar job in the business field, but I have seen God provide enough all along. I chose this.

3. Management is an outdated technology.Daniel Pink got people’s attention when he talked about management being technology from the 1850’s. What other technology do we use that is over 150 years old? Management was originally about getting compliance, but the business world we live in is too complicated for that now. There needs to be more autonomy in the business world. (This was echoed by Terri Kelly during her session.)

4. Culture, culture, culture. – It doesn’t matter how smart and experienced the worker is, if they aren’t a good fit in the company’s culture they shouldn’t be there. An organization needs to have defined values and culture and not deviate from them in practice or personnel. This is key in ministry. What works in Seattle or Chicago is not necessarily going to work in Omaha. In Omaha, what works at Brookside or Core is not necessarily going to work at Christ Community Church. Know your organization’s culture and hire people accordingly that will fit in it. Numerous speakers hit on this.

5. Get back in the real world.Blake Mycoskie talked about how everyone at TOMS goes on a shoe drop after two years of working there. It’s a way to connect them with the core of the company and reenergize them. I think this is crucial for people in churches and ministries. Well, crucial for Christians in general. Get outside the Christian bubble every once in awhile and get involved in some way that immerses you with people in need. I think it’s easy for Christians to stay within their comfort zones and become numb to the various needs people have in the world. Go on a missions trip, get involved locally, do something where you don’t forget why Christians are called to be a light to the world.

6. Will people walk the talk? – I’m always fascinated listening to people talk about all the changes they are going to implement in their own life, and at work, when they leave a conference. Two weeks later it’s back to the status quo. (I know this firsthand, unfortunately.) There were some great ideas from Leadership Summit, and a lot of people were talking like they were going to start implementing them right away. I hope so. Will non-profits give their employees the kind of autonomy Terri Kelly and Daniel Pink talked about?

7. Gossip is deadly. – Jack Welch very well could have invoked the Book of Proverbs when he called the hallway whisperer “deadly”. I think the “whispering gossip” is one of the most dangerous things churches have to fight against. I’ve seen it split a ministry firsthand and ruin lives. I could type a couple thousand words about this, so I was glad to see Jack call it for what it is. Deadly.

8. I was underwhelmed by Day 1. – So far this list has been all about Day 2. Granted, I briefly talked about Day 1 already. Still, it’s saying something when you’re underwhelmed by a day that had Bill Hybels, Jim Collins and Tony Dungy in the lineup. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by attending Leadership Summits since 2005. I asked a few other people in attendance and they had similar opinions about Day 1. It was a solid day of teaching, highlighted by Bill’s talk, yet some of the day felt like if you would’ve missed it you wouldn’t have missed anything. For example, it’s nice to see someone as prominent as Tony Dungy discuss their faith and leadership style. Yet, I didn’t think there was anything new there. Maybe it’s because I follow sports and know Tony’s story. I think people liked seeing a Super Bowl winning coach at Leadership Summit, but the interview skimmed the surface. If your average Christian leader would’ve been interviewed instead Tony, yet answered the exact same as he did, I think people would’ve felt their time was wasted.

9. T.D. Jakes, Best Communicator? – Bill Hybels believes that, and T.D. Jakes was solid, but it may have been an unrealistic expectation to hear for someone (like me) who has never heard a complete message from Jakes. When he finished his session, I immediately thought of three speakers I heard at Big Omaha 2010 that I thought were better: Scott Harrison, Tony Hsieh and Dennis Crowley. Now, I’m sure I didn’t hear T.D. Jakes at his best, but I’d put Scott Harrison’s presentation up against anyone. (I should listen to another message by T.D. Jakes.)

10. Speaking of Big Omaha, it was better. – Nancy Beach said the following at Leadership Summit. We can learn from anyone. If we’re open, we can learn from all sorts of people. Totally agree, which is why I got more out of Big Omaha 2010 than I did Leadership Summit 2010. Day 2 of Summit was great, but the lineup and networking that Big Omaha provided was phenomenal.

11. Keeping it with candor… – There’s a need for more of it in churches. (And, if possible, in a healthy manner!) Annual reviews should not be, as Daniel Pink put it, America’s form of Kabuki theater. We need to have honest discourse about the work we’re doing, and not be sensitive over menial things. Especially if we want to have impact in lives and the community.

12. Willow Creek is still striving to get there. – There’s a reason why Willow Creek, led by Bill Hybels, continues to be relevant. They aren’t satisfied by being here. Bill isn’t interested in maintaining the status quo. I know Willow Creek has its detractors, but for thirty-five years they’ve been doing great things. And, they’re still headed toward there.

13. 100 and counting… – There were a number of things people were encouraged to do, topped off by Jim Collins’ list of ten things to do. One thing I think all of us should be doing that’s on that list? Counting our blessings. Collins’ challenged everyone to create a spreadsheet of 100 blessings you may have. While I may not do a spreadsheet, I’ll come up with 100 in some fashion. And, I’ll be reminded again of all the good in my life I didn’t cause.

14. Good job Blaine, Justin and Tim.Blaine Hogan, Justin Wise and Tim Schraeder are three guys I follow on social media. They were all involved with Leadership Summit in varying capacities. I’d recommend following all three. They are excellent at their craft.

15. Jim Collins’ closing. – While this isn’t verbatim, I think you’ll get the idea. How they mighty fall. Never capitulate, never give in. Never, never, never. It’s one thing to suffer a staggering defeat. Another to give up on the values and aspirations that make a protracted struggle worthwhile. Be willing to change tactics or ideas but never give up on purpose. Be willing to endure loss or pain or freedoms but never give up on ability to prevail. (Amen.)

There’s a lot more to say, but I’ll keep it at that for now.

Once again, I was glad I had the opportunity to attend Leadership Summit. I’m grateful Lead Pastor Mark encourages us staff to go. Brookside Church does a great job of hosting. The volunteers were great, especially the ones who helped me out when I was blogging away during lunch breaks!

Thanks for reading.

2 thoughts on “Leadership Summit 2010 Wrap Up

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