Discovering Life, Learning and Leadership

“When a leader gets better, everyone wins!”  “Leaders are Learners.”  “When a leader stops learning they should stop leading.”  These are just a few of the insightful quotes that I have heard from Bill Hybels and other speakers at the Global Leadership Summit (“GLS”) over the past ten years.  Yes, I have been attending this event every year, for ten years.

Last year, total GLS attendance was 120,000+ people across 350+ locations in 60+ countries.  This year, the 2-day long summit was held “live” on August 11-12, 2011 via satellite at 185 locations across the USA and was repeated on September 29-30, 2011 at 22 locations across Canada.  The plan is to subsequently take it to locations in another 70+ countries.

In August, I attended a portion of the GLS in Bellingham, WA, and in September I attended all of the event in Vancouver, BC.  As I do each year, I coordinated a group of people from my home church, Sonrise Church, and from Creation Technologies where I serve as President & CEO.

The summit grew out of the belief (which I share) that “the local church is the hope of the world, because it plays a central role in God’s chosen strategy to redeem and restore a need-filled world.”  As such, the summit is primarily targeted at church leaders but is open to anyone who wants to attend.  Participants include church and community leaders, university students, academic, government and business leaders.  It is an excellent event with world-class presenters and has become an important part of my annual personal leadership development activities.

This year, I gained valuable learnings from each of the 13 speakers and below are a few of my personal key learnings from four of the speakers.

Bill Hybels

  • Bill encouraged us to consider our current leadership challenge level.  He asked if we were under challenged, appropriately challenged or dangerously over-challenged.  Most of the time, I am somewhere between appropriately challenged and dangerously over-challenged.
  • Apparently, research suggests that we are most effective as leaders when operating at a level somewhere slightly above the appropriately challenged level.  While this is where I had rated myself, his session was a good reminder for me not to take on too much putting myself into the dangerous zone (which I am prone to do).
  • As a follow up, I also plan to invest some energy in assessing where our organization as a whole is on the challenge-level scale.
  • The second critical question posed by Bill was: “What is your plan for dealing with challenging people in your organization?”  I learnt a lot from him (and from Dr. Henry Cloud who later spoke on a similar theme).  While we have been greatly blessed at Creation Technologies with a wonderful group of people, I have been too soft and too slow as a leader in ensuring that those with bad attitudes (fortunately very few people) are coached and addressed in a timely manner.

Erwin McManus

  • I was challenged by Erwin’s statement that “as Christians, we need to become the cultivators of human talent.”
  • He noted that if we want to fulfill our role in creating a better future for people, we need to both cultivate human talent and cultivate the human spirit.
  • These two quotes of his really caught my attention and challenged me to step up my leadership another notch:

“There has never been a child born that wasn’t extraordinary. Unfortunately, many people die ordinary.” – Erwin McManus

“Don’t die with your dreams still inside you” – Erwin McManus

Patrick Lencioni

  • I have heard Patrick speak several times and have read a few of his books.  He keeps getting better and better.
  • Patrick said that “despite the power of vulnerability, many of us do not embrace being vulnerable.”  He’s right.  I am not good at being vulnerable but want to be.  Openness is a Core Value of ours at Creation Technologies and one that I work hard to live each day.  Personally, I find it easier to be private than to be open.
  • Increased vulnerability does bring increased risk but, more importantly, it also brings more upside.
  • Over the years, I have moved from rarely being willing to be vulnerable to cautiously being willing to be vulnerable.  My goal, and this won’t be easy for me, is to move into fully being willing to be vulnerable.
  • His most powerful point in my opinion was:

“if people think you are editing yourself, they won’t let you in … be vulnerable. it’s attractive.” – Patrick Lencioni

Steven Furtick

  • When Steven made the following statement it really hit me:

“If the size of your vision isn’t intimidating to you, there is a good chance it is insulting to God.” – Steven Furtick

I’m just getting started and could go on and on about all the other great things I learnt at this year’s GLS.

Did you attend the GLS?  If so, how was the experience for you?  What did you learn?

19 Comments to Global Leadership Summit Learnings

  1. Hong's Gravatar Hong
    Oct 3, 2011 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Thanks Arthur for sharing your notes!

    I love the quotes of “When a leader gets better, everyone wins!” “Leaders are Learners.” “When a leader stops learning they should stop leading.” , too!

    I also love Bill Hybel’s challenge level discuss. I think a recent customer situation might fall a bit in “dangerous over challenged” level. In a very short time, launch an over $10 million account, together with lack of prompt responses from outside Creation may have put our BU as dangerous over challenged.

    In addition to your summary above, I like the discussion on the “under challenged” as well. From my past experience, people, especially young people, if they feel a bit under challenged, they will leave the organization and find the challenge level which will fit them. We probably didn’t think so much about this. Leaders are usually focusing more on the over challenged people.

    I like your other comments as well. Great summary!


  2. Nora O'Donnell's Gravatar Nora O'Donnell
    Oct 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Hi Arthur,

    Thank you for the opportunity to attend the Global Leadership Summit. I enjoyed and learned from the excellent conferences that were part of the two day agenda. I learned many things but one thing stood out above the rest. It was the slogan “Our Canada our time “. I apply this to my own role and organization by translating it to : “Our Creation Technologies our Time”. To me this means my opportunity to exercise the privilege to serve as a leader at Creation and influence the organization by implementing what I have learned at the Leadership Summit . I will lead where I am. I will make a plan to implement what I learned because if I don’t I will miss the opportunity to influence others and continue making a difference.

    With gratitude,


  3. Brittany's Gravatar Brittany
    Oct 3, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    “If the size of your vision isn’t intimidating to you, there is a good chance it is insulting to God.” – Steven Furtick

    Now that’s inspiring. I wish I could have heard him speak!

  4. Pat Ciriacks's Gravatar Pat Ciriacks
    Oct 4, 2011 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Arthur, once again the Summit challenged me to think deeply in at least one new area. I echo your sentiments on the Bill Hybels/Henry Cloud thoughts on people assessment and making tough decisions. I look forward to discussing these concepts with the ELT and P&C Team. Cory Booker inspired me to consider what more I can do to help my community. I thought the program this year was the best yet. Thank you for making this available to Creation leaders!

  5. Constantin Ariciuc's Gravatar Constantin Ariciuc
    Oct 4, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    The GLS was a good example of leadership as a collective resource and social activity inviting for introspection and providing inspiration for increased awareness of ourselves and others.

  6. Arun Mathur's Gravatar Arun Mathur
    Oct 6, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    For me, these were the special moments from the Summit:

    1. Bill Hybels – Be the best for the next 60 days, and make the next five years your best.
    2. Henry Cloud – How to deal with the wise, foolish and the evil.
    3. Seth Godin – “Don’t fit in, create something new.”
    4. Mama Maggie Gobran – In silence you leave many and you are with god.
    5. Patrick Lencioni – How to become vulnerable.

    In the prayer room, I was guided to jump start my consulting businesses.

    Arun Mathur

  7. Dwayne Bernitt's Gravatar Dwayne Bernitt
    Oct 7, 2011 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    I found the GLS extremely rewarding. While all the speakers were exceptional, I was touched by Mama Maggie Gobran’s service to the poor.

    Thank you for making the summit available to us.

  8. Don Bredeson's Gravatar Don Bredeson
    Oct 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for providing the opportunity to attend the summit. It was both informational and inspiring. The lessons learned apply to all types of Leaders.

  9. Ana Cantu's Gravatar Ana Cantu
    Oct 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    What a gift to be part of the Global Leadership Summit.
    Speaker after speaker amazed me with their authenticity and passion for what they do.
    I am a fan of Bill Hybels and I love when he challenge me.

    Have you had your leadership bell rang recently?
    Summits are supposed to ring leadership bells…
    Well, mine was definitely rang.
    What a responsibility I have now.
    I need to act.

  10. Alex Urbano's Gravatar Alex Urbano
    Oct 12, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Attending the GLS is inspiring in itself because it is a reminder that there is so much to learn about leadership in all facets. I was inspired by all of the leaders who shared but more so with the leadership challenge level as presented by Bill Hybels and Erwin McManus’ statements (I am so inspired with his boldness).

    As leaders we are also students to those who we lead and it is our responsibility to make sure we learn so we can share and grow together. GLS is one place we can harness new knowledge and also a place to remind us of the things we may have forgotten. In my current leadership role, I ask myself: am I cultivating human talent and human spirit? Are you? Do you mind sharing because I would like to be better at this?

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