This is my fifth year participating in the social media room, which is a wired room shared by about twenty of the most talented bloggers, photographers, and social media specialists in the church world. (more…)
Let me start off by saying that the first day of the Global Leadership Summit was so powerful that it’s taken me three days to recover enough to write a recap of Day 2.
Vijay Govindarajan was the second speaker on Day 2, and one of the questions he asked early on was, “How do you create the future while managing the present?” Vijay answered his question by saying, “Ongoing operations are at odds with innovation.”
Vijay’s thoughts caught my attention because I feel like so much of my life is finding a balance between maintenance and creation. One way I can sort that out is to follow some advice Bob Goff gave on Day 1: “Every Thursday, I quit something.”
Along similar lines, Brené Brown spoke about the importance of taking chances and how it is connected to a leader’s courage. Here’s the quote that hit me the hardest: “You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot have both.”
Comedian Michael Jr. was also at the Summit, and he was hilarious! Beyond that though, the guy had some other great things that he slipped in between jokes. Here’s one that we caught and used from @WCAGLS on Instagram:
I do have a lot more written in my notes, but the rest of that day is a haze. It’s going to be weeks before I fully understand what I’m going to do with all of the great messages given at the Summit.
In the mean time, here are a couple other quotes that stuck with me from Day 2:
“Unless we understand positive change, we won’t be true leaders. Leadership is intentional influence.” —Joseph Grenny
“Don’t live just for your own generation. Live for the next generation.” —Oscar Muriu
The first day of the Global Leadership Summit was awesome, and I’m already thinking of ways to apply it to my life.
Liz Wiseman stands out the most in my mind. Her talk was on multipliers—leaders who bring out the best in their teams. She had one quote that was particularly challenging: “Are you leading like a genius who has all the ideas and answers or are you the genius-maker?” So good.
Before Liz spoke, Patrick Lencioni was on, and he shared something simple yet profound. The team I’ve been working with all day made a graphic out of it.
The great news is that I’m ready for tomorrow. The concerning news is that I felt the same way after Day 1 last year, and I got completely overwhelmed during the first speaker on Day 2. Here’s to hoping for the best, and here are some of my favorite quotes from today:
“So many of God’s rewards for leaders are reserved for late in the race. Do not give up early. Finish strong.” —Bill Hybels
“People say, ‘Failure is not an option.’ Oh yes it it. Every time. Great leaders know that.” —Colin Powell
“Our calling has to trump our culture.” —Chris Brown
“If you want to lead strong…say yes even when it seems crazy to say yes.” —Bob Goff
“The one thing about a calling from God, when He calls you, you have to get your ass off the couch and do something.” —Mark Burnett
I’ve been attending the Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit (aka the Summit) since 2008, and it has consistently given me inspiration beyond what I could’ve hoped for. And it’s always been more than I can handle.
My first year at the Summit, I walked out on the first day feeling overwhelmed. There were so many good things, that I couldn’t process them all. I remember not being able to take notes because I didn’t want to miss anything, but that became a problem because I couldn’t remember all of the points that the speaker made when it was over.
My second year at the Summit was the year they brought down Twitter. With so many people sending messages about the same topic across the country, Twitter’s fail whale was all anyone could get for a half hour or so. After that, Twitter blocked all of the IP addresses coming out of South Barrington to defend their system from an “attack.” Again, everything was coming at me so fast that I couldn’t get myself to take any notes.
For the last three years, I’ve been working for Willow Creek Community Church (yes, it’s different from the WCA) during the Summit—tweeting from @WillowCreekCC. Actually, for the last three years, I’ve been the only one tweeting from that username. But I never have the opportunity to tweet as much as I do during the Summit.
I’ll admit, it’s tough to work during the Summit. I have been sitting in a special room made for social media people and bloggers, and the experience just isn’t the same as it is in the auditorium. But I wouldn’t have access to same resources if I was in the auditorium (i.e. behind-the-scenes info, reliable wi-fi, free food).
This year I will still be working during the Summit just…differently. I will still be running @WillowCreekCC on Twitter, but I’ll be tweeting more about the on-site experience. There will be 8,000 people attending the Summit at Willow Creek and another 70,000 watching it telecast across North America. So I want to send messages that are specific to the people at the campus, and maybe to make people at the other locations a little jealous. 🙂
I will also be taking over the Instagram from the WCA (@WCAGLS) and working with a team of photographers and graphic designers to send out the best content possible. Post-Summit, I’ll probably pin all of the Instagrammed photos onto my Summit board on Pinterest, which I’m going to try to keep updated with new content throughout the conference.
My only hope is that when the Summit is over, someone else will have blogged some good notes for me to reference.
When I arrived for the second day of the Global Leadership Summit, I was told that I looked energetic. I didn’t feel energetic, but I was very relaxed after having put my thoughts together about Day 1.
Then Patrick Lencioni started off the first session, and I was absorbing every word like a sponge. Three speakers later, it was lunch time and my information cup was full again. I dragged myself back to my spot for the start of the afternoon sessions, and I was thinking of creative ways to sneak out and go home. (The rule follower in me never would have allowed it, but my imagination loves to think of different ways my days can end.)
Then John Ortberg took the stage. My cup began overflowing immediately, but, instead of it wearing me out, I was craving more. And I got more. And when five o’clock came, I was officially wiped out.
Now that I’ve had a little time to think things through, I’m starting to see some cohesiveness between the sessions that relates to me.
Patrick Lencioni talked about the importance of a healthy organization. William Ury talked about solving conflict within an organization. The entrepreneurial side of me was so thankful for their insights. I wanted to start an organization of my own just to put some of their words into practice for myself.
Then there was Bill Hybels’ message in the final session. It was a forty minutes story that I’ve heard at least a handful of times before—the message of how he started a church. I wasn’t thinking of the entrepreneurial aspect of those beginnings, but it struck me sometime this evening.
By connecting those dots, I feel like that’s what I needed to get out of today. I also realized that I need to go back and read my notes from Len Schelsinger’s message about entrepreneurship at last year’s Summit.
I still don’t know what to do with it all. I don’t know what to do with my energy around entrepreneurialism. But I guess I have a whole year to figure that out before I feel this challenged again.
Today was a whirlwind of important information at the Global Leadership Summit, and I will consider myself lucky if I am able to remember any of it next week.
I’m going to save my favorite conference quotes for a post after the Summit to focus on a topic I’ve been trying to process since the last session ended today: the next generation of leaders—my generation.
Bill Hybels talked in his session about sowing seeds, and he took some time to talk specifically about sowing seeds of new leaders. Marc Kielburger talked about how the next generation is already stepping up to the task of taking on big issues like global poverty. And Craig Groeschel wrapped up the day talking about how young leaders need to honor those who have come before them (and older leaders need to train up those who will come after them).
By those examples, it may seem like the day was stacked on the issue of raising up young leaders, but the topics were a lot further apart than that.
I am just elated to hear about people who want to raise leaders up out of my generation.
I get excited when I read an article about how a small startup company has started changing the world, but there’s a part of me that’s nervous that those startups with their endless creativity and tireless effort don’t have the right leadership to get them to be a major player in the marketplace. I end up rooting for those startups anyway just because I want a story of someone from my generation making it. (What’s great is that Chicago is in the process of becoming a startup friendly city thanks to organizations like Excelerate Labs.)
Why am I, someone who isn’t event invested in their project, afraid that those organizations will fail? Because I feel like those people are a great representation of the creative and hard-working group in my generation.
But there’s another group in my generation that Craig Groeschel hit on—the “entitled.” Craig went on about this group for five minutes, and, while I definitely know some people in my generation who act that way, I don’t think “entitled” is the word to describe the entire group.
With that said, there was something else that stuck out from three of the other speakers: Great leaders have humility.
The first time I heard that phrase today, I thought it was one of those phrases about leadership that one leader needs to mention at a leadership conference. The second time I heard it today, I chalked it up to the speaker making a reference to the prior speaker as a respectful action rather than a to emphasize the same point. The third time I heard it, I knew I needed to pay attention to it, but I wasn’t getting how it played into the big picture.
Then, when I was frustrated at Craig Groeschel for calling my generation “entitled” for the tenth time, it hit me. Anyone who is entitled lacks humility and can’t be a great leader.
What a tragedy for my generation.
I’d love to say that I have a solution for my generation to help them out of entitlement so that we can have great leaders, but I don’t (which sucks because it’s hard to wrap up this post now). Maybe I’ll find that solution when I have a chance to process the rest of the Summit. And when I do, I’ll start writing up the book proposal.
I’ve surprised myself by blogging from two conferences already this year. “Surprised” because I don’t consider myself a conference blogger, but writing about my experiences has really helped me process the large amount of information I’ve been given in such a short time.
This Thursday and Friday, I’ll be at the Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit. For those who are unfamiliar, the Summit pulls great church, business, and organization leaders together to share best practices, new techniques, and insightful knowledge over two days.
I’ve attended the last four years and I’ve seen Bono, Jack Welch, Catherine Rohr, Tony Blair, Gary Haugen, Tony Dungy, Blake Mycoskie, Cory Booker, Seth Godin, and many more. Each year I walk away wondering how I will ever remember the wisdom and learnings I was presented, and there’s a part of me that wishes I could walk away with more.
This year, I will be one of 8,000 watching the Summit live in South Barrington. Another 62,000 attendees will be watching the satellite feed all across North America. The neat part is that I will be watching the whole event in a room that about 50 people have access to—the Summit’s social media room. I get to be in there for my job (I’ll be tweeting from @WillowCreekCC), and each year I’ve been in there, the room has gotten just a little bit bigger. If there’s one downside to being in that room, it’s that I can’t always tell the mood of the auditorium from what I’m seeing on a screen. Some speakers command a presence when they speak, and that doesn’t always translate over a monitor.
So expect to see a couple blogs before the end of this week. Plus I’ll be tweeting parts of the event from my person Twitter account (@iphilpot) as well as from my Google + and Pinterest accounts. (That’s right. No Facebook love from me.)
This weekend I attended Calvin College’s Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, MI. This was my second time at the biannual conference. Both times I’ve attended I’ve been representing Relief, of which I am the web editor. This means that I spent a good amount of the conference at the Relief table in the exhibitor hall telling people about the journal and meeting people who we have published.
The sessions I saw were incredible! This is in stark contrast to my experience at AWP. Though I only went to four sessions (all on Friday), I couldn’t have been happier with them. The first session was called “The Word Needs Flesh: Sex and Faith in Contemporary Writing” with John Estes and Amy Frykholm (a Relief published author). The second session was “From Page to the Screen: Adapting Novels and Short Stories for Film” with Scott Teems. The third was an interview of one of my favorite authors: Craig Thompson. The fourth and final session was Craig going through his graphic novel writing process. I ended the day at Calvin’s art gallery where some of Craig’s drawings were on display.
Here are some of the snippets that I took away from the sessions:
- “We’re uncomfortable with our needs and our wants because they’re selfish and we don’t want to be perceived as selfish.” —John Estes
- “The church can’t make you holy any more a school can make you smart.” —John Estes on self motivation
- “If you don’t really look at pleasure, you can’t have discipline over it.” —Amy Frykholm
- “Our job as adapters is to attempt and theme—attempt to portray the author’s intentions and sort out the themes to display to keep the audience interested.” —Scott Teems
- “Once you’ve done something autobiographical, you’ve burned all your bridges and you’re free to do whatever you want.” —Craig Thompson on the creative freedom that opened up after writing Blankets
- “Because of the paper canvas, comics feel like a letter from the author.” —Craig Thompson
I also had the opportunity to meet some new people who were very kind, entertaining, and nice from Antler, Rock & Sling (here’s a picture a the awesome banner over their table), Word Farm, and many more. I also had a great time meeting some of the Relief staff I hadn’t met before, like Jake Slaughter, Lyle Enright, Andy Koenig, and Tania Runyan. Our evening shenanigans were the best I’ve ever had at a conference, and I was sad that they had to come to an end. Great people.
Over the last few days, I attended the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ (AWP) conference held in Chicago. I woke up early to catch trains, ate quickly to catch panels, and slept little as my mind tried to process new thoughts even though my body needed rest.
One of the most exciting parts of the conference was being in Chicago. The whole experience reminded me of 2007 when I commuted to Columbia College from the suburbs. I missed the smell of Garrett’s popcorn on Madison Avenue. I missed the inspiration I’d find in people watching from a seat in an Argo Tea. I missed it all, and I was glad to have it back, even if for a couple of days.
I sadly report that about 50% of the time I spent at AWP was listening to uninformed informants or endlessly expounding educators—neither of which lent me any new thoughts except for “I wish I had gone to another panel.” I didn’t think I would have said that. For the three days, there were six sessions a day and an average of 20 panels for each session. But it was nearly impossible to know which panel was going to be a hit and which was going to be a flop.
At the same time, it is with great enthusiasm that I report that 50% of my time at AWP was well-spent listening to writers who believe in what they do and love engaging and sharing their thoughts and learnings about our craft. I would love to share every detail, but I will instead provide some quotations I heard shared in the panels I attended. (Each quote includes an attribute and the session I heard it in.)
- “A novel isn’t meant to be perfect.” —Sabina Murray in “Reports from the Tenches: Teaching Novel and Novella Workshops”
- “Writing literary books was never a good way to make a living—that predates the Internet.” —Stephen Elliott in “Literature and the Internet in 2012”
- “Go out, meet people, make friends. Don’t network.” —Blake Butler in “Literature and the Internet in 2012”
- “If we’re not supposed to dance, why all this music?” —Gregory Orr (from To Be Alive) in “God at Every Gate: Dialogues in Silence”
- “It is not incumbent on you to finish the task; neither are you free to give it up.” —Alicia Ostriker in “God at Every Gate: Dialogues in Silence”
- “If life isn’t enough, then the afterlife won’t be enough.” —Fanny Howe quote mentioned by Kazim Ali in “God at Every Gate: Dialogues in Silence”
- “Don’t spend so much time studying the jug that you forget to drink the water.” —Rami quote mentioned by Kazim Ali in “God at Every Gate: Dialogues in Silence”
I feel fortunate to have walked away with such strong words as those. I also came out of the conference with about eight new ideas for stories. (They will all have to wait until Script Frenzy is over though.)