Leadership Summit 2015: Jim Collins

If you missed the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit this year, no worries I’ve got you covered. I’ll be posting my notes and thoughts from each presenter over the next couple of days.

Jim Collins, a Summit favorite, delivered 7 Questions he learned to ask from West Point.

  • Bonus: you never stop being a “young leader”

1: What causes you to serve?

  • If you have a charismatic cause you do not need to be a charismatic leader,
  • Level 5 Leaders are ambitions and fully committed. They are serving, humble leaders.

2: Will you settle to for being a a good leader or will you grow to become a great leader?

  • Well managed organizations are the only obstacle of tyranny.
  • You don’t manage a network, you lead it.
  • We are moving from organizations well managed to networks well led.
  • True leadership only exists when people follow when they otherwise have the right to not follow.
    • As a leader you must know what must be done
    • It’s not about getting people to do what must be done but getting people to want to do what must be done
    • It’s not a science it’s an art
  • Most great leaders don’t start as a great leader but they grow into a great leader.

3: How can you re-frame failure as growth in pursuit of a BHAG?

  • “I am not failing, I’m growing” and that is the point of the climb

4: How can you succeed by helping others succeed?

  • At West Point everybody is failing at something
  • You are never alone
    • Service: to a cause or purpose that you are willing to sacrifice for
    • Success: communal success built into the culture, we only succeed by helping each other
    • Growth:

5: Have you found your personal hedgehog?

  • 3 Circles:
    • What you love doing
    • What you are encoded/made for
    • Your economic engine
  • What is more powerful, one computer 1,000 times more powerful than another computer or 1,000 computers in the hands of 1,000 creative people?
  • True creators stay in the game, even when you get a bad hand.
  • If you believe life comes down to a single hand you can lose really fast, but if you believe life is a series of hands you have a shot.
  • When you get decked, that’s when you need to stay in the game…you love to do it, you’re made to do it, you’re called to do it, so no matter what hand you get you stay in the game

6: Will you build your unit into a pocket of greatness?

  • Great CEO’s became great CEO’s by not focusing on their career but by focusing on building their unit into a pocket of greatness.
  • Be rigorous, not ruthless about your people decisions.
  • Instead of taking care of your career, take care of your people, and your people will take care of your career. Life is people.
  • When you’re suffering at the end of the race, you’re not running for yourself.

7: How will you change the lives of others?

  • The greatest leaders find a way to make a contribution and impact on other people’s lives
  • Life is people


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