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Leadership Summit 2017: Bill Hybels

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.

If you’re unfamiliar with Leadership Summit, more than 300,000 leaders participated in this world-class experience designed to help people to grow in their leadership capacity and effectiveness. Global Leadership Summit is a two-day event telecast LIVE in HD from Willow’s campus near Chicago every August to more than 600 locations in 128 countries and 60 languages.

Willow Creek Community Church Founder and Senior Pastor Bill Hybels opened the Summit addressing The Challenge of Leading an Organization in an Era of Divisiveness and Disrespect. The following are leadership quotes and lessons from this incredible session.

  • Armed with enough humility anyone can learn from anyone
  • Who do you owe the most for calling leadership out in you in your early years? Who saw potential in you before anyone else did? Who gave you an opportunity before anyone else did? Who kept saying to you, “You can handle this, you can figure this out, I know you can.”
  • Leaders must plant leadership seeds in the lives of younger people that they see leadership in.
  • We are where we are in our leadership journey today because someone gave us an opportunity.
  • Sometime in the next 7 days: reflect on who those leaders were in your early years and express your gratitude to them

The challenge of leading an organization in an era of divisiveness and disrespect

  • Where is disrespect and divisiveness taking us?
  • 95% of the US population believe we have an incivility issue
  • We of faith do not get to choose who we respect

10 Rules of respect

  1. Leaders must set the example of how to differ with others without demonizing them
  2. Leaders must demonstrate how to have spirited conversations without drawing blood
  3. Leaders must not interrupt others who are talking and not dominate the conversation
  4. Leaders must set the example of limiting their volume and refusing to use “incendiary” or “belittling” words that guarantee to derail a discussion
  5. Leaders must set the example of being courteous in word and deed
  6. Leaders must never stereotype others
  7. Leaders must form opinions carefully and stay open minded if better information comes along
  8. Leaders must set the example of showing up when they say they are going to show up and doing what they say they are going to do.
  9. Leaders must set “Rules of Respect” for everyone in the organization and enforce them relentlessly
  10. So…looks like I missed one…sorry readers!
  • Tolerance is easy and requires little of us…we must move into uncomfortable territory and seek to understand each other
  • Those we lead are dying for us to challenge them and call the best out of them
  • Succession:
    • Who is going to make the decision? Is it the Sr. Leader or the Board or someone else?
    • When will it happen? Getting to clarity on this will drive the whole process.
    • How will it be led? Board going to run it, Sr. Pastor?
    • Planning: transition document is built
    • Internal: Research shows that internal successors have a much higher success rate
    • External: global search
    • Transition: credential the successor and set them up to win
  • Succession Learnings:
    • Having a well thought through road map is essential,
    • Keep the journey bathed in prayer and keep personalities and politics out of it
    • Our process has probably been too long (if a succession plan is long and complicated enough it will motivate any leader to want to move on)
    • When it goes too long it takes a toll on the vision of the organization
    • We underestimated the emotional toll it would take on the Sr. Leaders (asking the SLT to live in limbo is a huge risk)
    • We made 1 process mistake that caused unnecessary pain. The board didn’t do a regular check in with Bill during their vetting process.
  • God is an equal opportunity storywriter
  • Is it possible that God is writing an ending to your story and season so He can lead you to something new or different?
  • Endings matter too
  • Challenges:
    • Spend 15 minutes each morning in a chair you love to read and reflect on your life. Are you getting busier or better as a leader? Don’t squeeze all of the reflection time out of your life.
    • Make this year the year of the grander vision. Don’t just improve your product but make a difference in your community. At a certain point mere financial success should bore you.
    • Measure the health of your organizations culture and be committed to improving it. Your culture will only be as healthy as the top leader wants it to be.
    • Do you have a personal betterment plan for your leadership in the coming year?
    • Are you leading on the home front as well as you’re leading at work?

Posted in Leadership


Leadership Summit 2016: Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shared her incredible story and journey of generosity.

  • She is a self described “Impatient Optimist” –  Things are getting better, statistics bare that out but we can do better and we have the capacity to do better
  • “In business you have data all the time from your customers, in the non-profit world, it is amazing how many decisions are being made without real data!”
  • “One person can change the world and make a difference in another persons life”
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private foundation in the world with more than 1,400 employees
  • She met Bill at Microsoft but left the company because she felt that they couldn’t have a great family and both have hard-charging careers.
  • She has tried to give her kids a “normal” upbringing, she even uses her maiden name to enroll them in school.
  • Growing up going to Catholic schools taught her the value of service, silent retreats, and other spiritual disciplines. She still carries out these practices in her life today.
  • Bill and Melinda have used their intellectual horsepower to not just build a great business and wealth but also build an incredible Foundation and give back.
  • “All lives equally matter-no matter where they live in the world”
  • “The foundation is the embodiment of our values in the world” Their money follows their values.
  • “We need to live out our values in the world.”
  • “It’s in the humanity of the work where you connect with other people…”

Posted in Leadership


Leadership Summit 2015: Bill Hybels

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.

If you’re unfamiliar with Leadership Summit, more than a quarter million leaders participated in this world-class experience designed to help leaders lead better and embrace a grander vision – the reason God called you to lead. The event was broadcast live in HD from Willow’s campus near Chicago to more than 375 sites in North America and later around the world.

Willow Creek Community Church Founder and Senior Pastor Bill Hybels opened the Summit addressing The 5 Intangibles of Leadership.  The following are leadership quotes and lessons from this incredible session.

  • Leadership is about moving people or an organization from here to there. From where it is to where it needs to go.
  • Leadership is not about protecting a position.
  • The highest value at the Leadership Summit is humility…
  • Armed with enough humility, leaders can learn from anyone

8 Basic functions of leadership

  1. Casting Vision
  2. Building Teams
  3. Motivating & Inspiring
  4. Solving Problems
  5. Change Management
  6. Establishing Core Values
  7. Allocating Resources
  8. Developing Emerging Leaders

5 Intangibles of Leadership

#1 Grit: Passion & Perseverance over the long haul…unrelenting long-term tenacity. Gritty people play hurt, expect progress to be difficult, but progress to be made. This is the key that unlocks the ability for less talented people to win. Those with more grit undoubtedly accomplish more in life than those who do not, regardless of talent.

  • Can grit be developed? Yes. But the archenemy of grit is ease. Grit development demands difficulty.
  • Overcoming physical challenges is one way to grow grit, and any area you develop grit in spills over to other areas of their lives.
  • Young leaders grow when volunteering for extra work assignments and then delivering and over delivering above expectations.
  • When Sr. Leaders push themselves hard teammates and followers notice and they begin to push themselves to the next level.
  • The whole organization gets grittier, and gritty organizations are unstoppable.

#2 Self Awareness: Who are you trying to impress? Without understanding the decisions and how they’re tethered to your past you destroy your future.

  • Under-performance is connected to leaders not being self aware.
  • Blind spots: stuff that leaders think they’re good at but everyone else knows that’s not true…they’re making a laughing stock of themselves.
  • Something someone believes they do well but everyone else on the team is aware of.
  • On average every leader has 3.4 blinds spots.
  • The danger is you really have no idea that they exist.
  • Everyone will win when you grow in self awareness.

#3 Resourcefulness: (learning agility), quick learners, tinkerers,

  • People with a high learning agility are promoted more than 20% more than others.
  • Resourceful people may not know the right answer but they stay at it until they figure it out.
  • Resourcefulness can be developed, but only by putting yourself in difficult situations and experimenting and trying to figure things out until you do.

#4 Self-Sacrificing Love: serve them, invest in them, pray for them by name, pull down the professional veil.

  • Vision & strategy are not at the core of leadership. It’s self-sacrificing love.
  • Love never fails.
  • Love is what melts teams into families instead of just work-groups.
  • We live in a day with narcissistic blood flowing through the veins of most leaders, trust in organizations is low, and at the root of it is a lack of love that must begin in the heart of the Sr. Leader.
  • Gallup measures what separates healthy organizations from toxic ones with one simple question: “Do workers feel personal concern coming from their managers?”
  • The quality of your “loving” sets the tone of the culture in your organization.

#5 Sense of Meaning:

  • Start with Why / Simon Sinek / What How Why
  • People want a “why” to come to work…a compelling reason to do what you do at your organization…what’s worth giving your life to?
  • What is your “white hot why?”

Posted in Leadership