By Susan LeDoux
On August 8 and 9, Lakeshore Community Church hosted the 2019 Global Leadership Summit that was simulcast to 600 locations in 135 nations and 5000 inmates in 87 prisons.
Mid-morning, a sudden, violent storm knocked out power in the middle of the first day’s program. Unfazed, volunteers sent attendees to an early lunch, hoping things would be up and running in an hour. After lunch and still without power, people milled about, visiting with each other, and checking out the speakers’ books on display. Attendee, Bishop David J. Singleton, saw an unseen benefit to the hiatus. It offered a rare opportunity for people to have more time to talk and get to know each other better. God’s timing, as usual, is perfect, he concluded.
This year’s Summit focused on our individual power to influence the world around us. Tom DeVries, President and CEO of GLS, spoke about how today’s speakers live out grand visions that call for the best in them.
Here are a few highlights from the inspiring presentations.
Craig Groeschel is Co-founder and Senior Pastor of Life. Church, as well as host of the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast. He urged listeners to step out of their doubts and into their calling, assuring them that problems are merely opportunities to bend the curve. “You have everything you need to do what you are called to do.”
Bozoma Saint John was just as confident. She is Chief Marketing Officer at Endeavor, a global leader in entertainment, sports, and fashion. Prior to this, she was Chief Brand Officer for Uber and Head of Marketing for several large corporations.
With a cascade of curly brown hair, large pink earrings matching her pink pantsuit, this stunning black woman said she dresses this way to “show up as my true self.” In order to create a positive culture in a company, she encourages everyone to show up as their true selves as well. When she showed up as her true self at Uber, a negative culture began to improve under her leadership.
If a leader is buttoned down and always in control, employees will emulate that leader and “button down” as well. Few will dare share an innovative idea or a concern to change the status quo. People need to be heard.
Saint John said a corporation’s culture is not found in the employee handbook. Nor does it flow down from the CEO. Instead, it flows from each worker’s cubicle. Employees should strive toward a common goal, not compete with each other. This requires diversity and inclusion.
“With diversity, everyone gets invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” She said black people do not want to offend, so they step warily. She recommends, at your next event, bring them into the conversation (ask them to dance). Ben Sherwood, author and former President of Disney ABC Television, said leadership is disruptive and changes the times. While change moved slowly in the past, it is lightening fast now, and forces us to lead in times of disruption. It is the different vision, the unexpected move, like Admiral Nelson’s strategy in the Battle of Trafalgar, which often creates victory. Or consider the farmer with a pitchfork. The greatest swordsman is not afraid of the second-greatest swordsmen, but is fearful of a farmer with a pitchfork, because the farmer has nothing to lose and will fight anyway he can.
In a conflict between weaker and stronger players, when conventional tactics are used, the stronger wins 71.5% of the time. But when employing unconventional means, the weaker wins 63.6% of the time.
Aja Brown, youngest Mayor of Compton, California, shared strategies that revitalized a city in debt, with high unemployment, and streets filled with gang violence. When a situation is desperate, people are open to change. A strong vision creates momentum and pivots toward a different direction. She included all stakeholders and listened to voices of criticism in order to gather information from everyone. She asked gang leaders about the issues they were dealing with. People bought into the vision and collaborated.
Jia Jiang’s talk about rejection was as entertaining as it was and informative. He followed an ambitious path to the corporate world, but really wanted to be an entrepreneur like Bill Gates. Fear of rejection stood in his way. He decided to over-dose on rejection, to desensitize himself from its negative effects. The audience laughed at his rejection-seeking activities that often resulted in “yes” rather than “no.”
One day, dressed for the game of soccer, with ball under his arm, he rang a stranger’s doorbell and asked if he could play soccer in the man’s back yard. He did not expect, “I guess so, why not.”
He concluded that since J.K Rowling received 12 rejections before succeeding, rejection was just a numbers game and merely the opinion of one person. Rejection can promote growth and leadership, and his confidence increased once he embraced it. Author of Rejection Proof, and owner of Rejection Therapy, he now trains people and organizations to become fearless through rejection training.
Dr. Krish Kandiah and his wife are foster parents, and is an advocate for fostering and adopting children in the U.K. He said foster parenting taught him about vision, inclusion, and proximity
Kandiah credits his wife with the vision to see children’s upsetting behaviors differently than others. A visionary leader would see potential and opportunity, while a manager would strive only for organization. Visionary leaders can deal with abrupt change more readily.
He noted everyone has intrinsic value and should be included, as Christ included everyone. Prejudice shuts people out, looks outward, and sees problems. Hospitality, the opposite of prejudice, welcomes people, looks inward and sees people. Vision and inclusion lead to proximity with people in need. Kandiah said he is a leader who likes to “set the table for others.”
In essence, we are all leaders when we daily set the table for others.
To learn more about Lakeshore Community Church visit at www.lakeshorechurch.org.