Leadership, Resources

Inspiration and Frustration

Last week I set aside two days to take in a simulcast of the Global Leadership Summit from Willow Creek. The is a highly respected international event; I enjoy it and appreciate what Willow Canada is doing to maximize the rich inspiration and solid content. At an event like this I’m expecting to go away with 3-4 specific action steps to begin applying within the week, and a few resources I want to explore more deeply in the coming months.

The 2016 Summit definitely came though with both. I love being introduced to ideas and presenters I didn’t know previously and the most useful presentation for me was Chris McChesney from Franklin Covey who managed to make The Discipline of Execution fun and fascinating. I look forward to getting into his book later this week.

I was also particularly impressed with the sessions from Erin Meyer and Danielle Strickland. Both brought insights I need to use to improve both at work and in the rest of my life.

I would encourage anyone to look for a site to take in the rebroadcast in October to hear both of them and the other great presenters. The founder of the Summit, Bill Hybels, always brings passionate and practical teaching in his sessions. (I still think he should find someone else to take over the interview slots, but that’s a minor critique).

One of Bill’s sessions was more a workshop than a lecture. He opened with a warning that what he was about to ask us to do would be difficult for most of the leaders watching. Then he began to talk about all that he has learned by developing a habit of reflection in his life. The raw emotion as he spoke of the importance of taking time to stop and consider his own life was compelling. Then he invited us to do something he emphasized would be tough: to take 2 minutes to reflect on a particular question he set up with a few minutes of teaching.

There were actually 3 two minute moments of reflection, each prepped with 5-10 minutes of expert teaching and a specific question. Our Summit workbook had several pages ready to record our thoughts.

I am sincerely stunned and quite discouraged that one of the most prominent Christian leaders in the world believes most of us would struggle to spend a total of six minutes in reflection. I am convinced that being able to explore and understand  our own actions, emotions, and motives has to be a fundamental expectation of leaders, and that it is essential to the character growth that should be every leaders priority. I can only hope that a majority of us saw this session as a springboard to deeper and more extensive reflection at another time.

Leadership is unrelenting. It takes discipline to step away from the daily churn to learn and develop. That is why events like the Global Leadership Summit are so valuable, and also why reflection should be more familiar and regular than a two minute challenge.