#RedNoseDay: Richard Curtis’ Grander Vision


One of the most memorable sessions from the 2007 Global Leadership Summit  was Bill Hybels’ interview with British filmmaker, Richard Curtis. Curtis’ filmmaking credits include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’ Diary and Love Actually.

He is also the producer and creative mind behind the British fundraiser Comic Relief, better known as Red Nose Day. This televised event has become an inspiring cultural phenomenon in the UK, combining comedy with cause. During the past 30 years, it has raised more than £1 billion for charities that seek to alleviate and end global poverty.

Now, Red Nose Day is coming to America – airing live tonight (May 21) on NBC.  Watch the video and relive the inspiration for Curtis’ “grander vision” for this event.


Behind the Scenes: An Inside Look at the 2015 Summit Promo Video


Our guest blogger today is Jesse Oxford, principle at OX CREATIVE (www.oxcreates.com), and the innovative mind behind the 2015 Summit Promo Video. The piece includes a seamless narrative told in a visually impactful way. Below, Jesse tells the story of the first day of the shoot.


What’s the one thing every leader, in every country, at any level, language, industry, and gender can relate to? Losing sleep over a critical leadership decision.

This creative narrative for the Leadership Promo Video is written as a simple leadership fable or poem, speaks to that felt need common to every leader. Drawing on the Johnnie Walker “The Next Step” ad and Life Is a Treadmill as inspiration, we staged a series of scenes stitched together like a stage play.

This is the story of a leader who is struggling to keep going, yet, through a series of key scenes, comes to discover his Grander Vision. For me as the director and leader of the crew, this shoot was a practical experience of that exact thing.  Here’s how we did it…

I know a leader who slept through the night.

The deep and peaceful sleep of a man in command.

It wasn’t that his world was in control. Or that the seas were still

But his hand was at helm—and he knew what to do.

Let me explain…

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of this shoot was planning how the scenes would “hand off” to each other without “cutting” between scenes.  We had a 40-foot camera track on which to contain nine scenic keyframes. We wanted the stage to feel like it was twice as long. Our first decision was to split the shot into two moves on two different days of shooting so the entire camera move looks like one continuous left to right shot.

On the first day, we opened the story with a wide shot of a bedroom. When the camera zoomed to the close-up, our hero sits up in bed and the scene transforms into the cabin of a ship on stormy seas. He wears an orange parka that was previously hidden under the bedspread. (Bonus points to anyone notices something unusual about the parka!)

As he sits up, a projector turns on, which adds waves onto the back wall of the hotel room. This was a “live” practical effect, not green screen that was added digitally. Two stage hands slid the living room wall into place while the camera zoomed out.

It hadn’t always been like this.
Many restless nights he sat there—
Paralyzed by a dimly lit, Uncertain Future.
He’d been playing it safe.
Playing it small.

The living room scene was set up while the camera zoomed in. We paused for a moment to replace the actor in the chair with the bouncing ball. This was one of trickier moments of the shoot. Geno, our actor, had to bounce and catch the ball repeatedly.

There was a hard call.
The kind that
had to be made.

There was bit of movie-magic happening in this scene. If you look closely, the ball never actually bounces off the TV. Instead the ball is actually hitting another box that’s just out of view beside the TV. In rehearsal, we noticed that the TV was shaped so irregularly it was impossible to get the ball to bounce correctly. So we “cheated” it.

In a moment of frustration, Geno stands, grabs his briefcase, and storms across the stage into a conceptual mirrored room that closes in all around him.

He found himself in a place he’d never been: Stuck. & Alone.
“Is this what Leading is?
I had a vision once! …
I lost it though.

The ceiling was manually controlled on a series of pulleys and counter-weights that made a loud screeching sound as they moved. It was a good thing no audio was being recorded! As the roof moved, a lighting technician simultaneously cued the light bulbs to turn off in succession.

I definitely lost sleep during the planning phases of this project. But in the midst of all the complexity, the actual shoot occurred surprising seamlessly due to the fact that our team was highly prepared and nothing was left to chance. What started as an inspired concept became, in the skilled hands of my excellent team, our own embodiment of a Grander Vision.

You can watch the Summit promo video.

(Did you notice what was unusual about the parka? One sleeve is cut off!)

Sensitive or Stone-Cold Stoic? Getting to Know Sheila Heen


Sheila Heen, founder of the Triad Consulting Group and Faculty at Harvard Law School, will be joining us for the 2015 Summit. Sheila has taught courses on Negotiation at Harvard for two decades, specializing in helping organizations work through their most difficult conflicts.

William Ury (TGLS 2012), founder of the Harvard Negotiation Project and Summit faculty alumni, recommended that we look into her work. When we learned that Sheila had released a new book addressing the topic of feedback, we were intrigued.  After reading it, we were sold.

Sheila Heen, and her co-author Douglas Stone, conducted groundbreaking research, looking feedback at it from a new perspective – the feedback receiver.

The below article Sensitive or Stone Cold Stoic: How Your Wiring Affects Your Well-Being first appeared in Time Magazine –and it will give you a little flavor of what you can expect to learn from Sheila at the Summit.

We swim in an ocean of feedback. It’s not just those performance reviews at work. It’s your reflection in the mirror, the comment your spouse made at breakfast, or the accusatory note you just found in your mailbox from your neighbor.

Recent research that suggests that how you react to that feedback — whether you take it in stride or get flattened by it — is due at least in part to your wiring. When it comes to sensitivity to feedback, individuals can vary up to three thousand percent in terms of how far they swing, emotionally, and how long it takes them to recover. And that has profound implications for their ability to hear the feedback they get, and to learn anything from it.

Take Alita. She has been highly sensitive to criticism since she was a child. Now an accomplished obstetrician, her skills and confidence have matured, yet her sensitivity to feedback is just as strong as it was when she was young. “Three years ago we did patient satisfaction surveys,” Alita explains. “My patients love the attention I give them, and my reviews were largely positive. Yet there were a few comments from patients frustrated that I sometimes run late.” She adds, “I haven’t felt the same way about my practice since.”

*    *    *

Three factors can be used to measure our sensitivity to feedback. The first is Baseline, which measures your general state of happiness or contentment. In the wake of positive or negative events (or feedback), we all tend to gravitate back toward our baseline. Some people have a relatively high baseline – like Elaine in the next cubicle who always seems so (gratingly) cheerful no matter how much pressure the team is under. Others — like Mortimer down in purchasing — may have a relatively low happiness baseline, perpetually dissatisfied with their lives (and with you), regardless of how well things may be going.

The second variable is Swing — how far up or down you go as a result of positive or negative feedback. Someone with small swing is “even keeled”: Nothing excites them much, and few things really get them too upset. If you swing wider emotionally, your ups and downs will be more intense and you’ll require less stimulation to move you off your baseline.

And finally, Sustain or Recovery, which measures how long it takes you to return to your baseline. How long do you sustain a bounce in your step in the wake of an appreciative email from an important customer? How long does it take you to recover from the public dressing down you got from your boss on the newsroom floor? Recent findings from neuro-imaging show that positive and negative swing and recovery can operate independently. If you have small swing and short sustain on positive feedback, and wide swing and long recovery on the negatives, that’s a tough combination. Positive feedback disappears quickly, while negative feedback hits you hard and keeps you down for a good long while.

You can read the full article here.


Hear more from Sheila Heen and twelve other world-class leaders at The Global Leadership Summit  2015 this August!  The Super Early Bird deadline is May 19.  Register here for your best rate!

The Redemptive Power of Business

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Our Summit Leadership Theme for May explores the topic of The Redemptive Power of Business. This post is designed to introduce the topic and to stimulate thinking around the theme. Watch for the WCA release this month of the 30-minute Defining Moments resource that include Bill Hybels’ thoughts on the topic.

Don Flow, a car dealer from North Carolina, surprised us all at the Summit when his talk became the most tweeted of the entire conference. The way he spoke about the integration of faith and business resonated deeply with many attendees. Since then, we have heard numerous stories from leaders in the marketplace who are seeking to integrate faith and business in a deeper way.

Watch the video below and reflect. It if is helpful, grab your journal or a tablet and ask yourself: What stands out to you from Don Flow’s vision of business?

Take it deeper:

1. Bill Hybels posed a challenging question in this session. How does your relationship with Christ make a difference in your vocation? How do you lead differently from others who are not Christ followers? Take a few minutes to think about ways you are currently reflecting Christ in your leadership

2. Using Don Flow’s 3-part model, envision what might be possible if your faith was more integrated with your work. Write down specific ways your relationship with Christ could impact your:

– Interactions with your customers or constituents?

– Relationships with your employees or co-workers?

– Impact on your community?

3. What specific steps could you take to go from where you are now to a place where you more fully live a Grander Vision in your workplace?

4. Bill Hybels said that our churches should be producing thousands of stories like Don Flow’s. If you are a church leader, identify 2-3 specific ways you might be able to produce more business leaders like Don Flow in your ministry context.

Enjoy the video . . . and let’s take this month to take some brave steps toward living a Grander Vision this month.

The Hungry Beast and the Ugly Baby: Getting to Know Ed Catmull


We are thrilled that Ed Catmull, the Co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and President of Walt Disney Animation Studios, will be joining us at the 2015 Summit for a leadership interview with Bill Hybels. Ed was a pioneer in the field of computer graphics for the motion picture industry. In 1986, he teamed up with John Lasseter and Steve Jobs to create Pixar, where he was the digital animation mind behind great Pixar films like Toy Story and Finding Nemo. He is a five-time Academy Award winner.

Ed has been on our radar since 2008 when his excellent article, How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity, was published in the Harvard Business Review. (You can link to that article here.)  Ed’s hard-won insights – forged in the creative cultures at Pixar and Disney – shed new light on organizational structures that can kill creativity as well as those that allow creative endeavors to flourish.

When we saw that he had expanded the article into a full-length book, Creativity, Inc., we knew the time was ripe to invite him to the Summit.

Since the book’s release, Bill Hybels has made Creativity, Inc. mandatory reading for the top leaders at Willow Creek. Bill is excited to be able to pull out practical, rubber-hits-the-road principles from this book with direct application for organizational leaders.

To get a flavor, take a look at the short video below. This video has an appropriate Pixar title, The Hungry Beast and the Ugly Baby.

How do you see the Hungry Beast and the Ugly Baby operating in creative endeavors in your organization?  Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below.

Summit Faculty in the News – April 2015 Edition


Summit Faculty in the News – April 2015 Edition

“In a world filled with negatives, we love that the Summit is sharing stories of people doing positive things!” We hear this feedback every year. We purposefully select Summit faculty on the basis of their positive leadership impact on the world. Below are some of their headlines that grabbed our attention this month.  Click on the links below to get more details.

Executive Producer Richard Curtis (TGLS 2007) is bringing Red Nose Day, his wildly popular, star-studded, British comedy fundraiser to the American audience on May 21 on NBC.  Red Nose Day has raised over $1 billion for charity over the past 30 years in the United Kingdom.  Richard Curtis Red Nose Day

Brené Brown (TGLS 2013) announced that she will be releasing a new book in August entitled Rising Strong. Rising Strong

Ashish Nanda (TGLS 2006) was named Dean of the prestigious Indian business school, the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad.

Ashish Nanda IIMA Dean

Jack Welch (TGLS 2010) and his wife Suzy appeared on Charlie Rose to discuss their newly-released a new book The Real Life MBA.

Jack Welch on Charlie Rose

Kevin Olusola (TGLS 2012), the beat box cellist, won a Grammy for Best Arrangement with the a capella group Pentatonix.  Kevin Olusola Grammy

Craig & Marc Kielburger (TGLS 2012) reflected on the 20-year anniversary Free The Children, the Canadian youth movement they founded as teenagers to end child labor and poverty.  Kielburger 20-Years

Erwin McManus (2011, 2003) and his daughter Mariah, who leads Mosaic’s Worship Team, released a new worship album Mosaic MSC on iTunes.  Mosaic MSC

Bryan Loritts (TGLS 2014) hosted the second annual Kainos Conference in Memphis to inspire multi-ethnic movements in organizations and churches. @Kainos_Movement

James Meeks (TGLS 2006) was appointed Chair of Illinois State Board of Education.  James Meeks Board of Education Chairman

Rick Warren (2005, 1997) received outpouring of support on the second anniversary of his son’s death.  Rick Warren Anniversary of Son’s Death

When It Breaks – A Guest Post From Blaine Hogan

Blaine Hogan is the Creative Director at Willow Creek Community Church. If you’ve attended a Leadership Summit in years past, you’ve no doubt seen his creativity in action through some of the arts moments during the GLS like this one:

BE HERE NOW from blaine hogan on Vimeo.

Blaine is a creative leader and has a heart to help churches, pastors, and artists get better at art. Below is a post from Blaine that we know you will enjoy.


The photo of flowers on my kitchen table proves the fact that winter has ended in Chicago. Spring has officially sprung and we are ever so grateful!

More so even than the New Year, spring always feels like a fresh start to me, which is exactly what I want to talk to you about today.
Nearly two months ago, Make Better, the online course I’d been creating for the last two years, broke.
And not just flat-tire-broke, more like the-wheels-fell-off-while-we-were-doing-80-on-the-interstate-broke. I’ll spare you the technical details, but it was a nightmare. People couldn’t log in, content seemed to have been lost forever, and the community forum (the heart and soul of Make Better) was missing.

As I sat there staring at my laptop and lots of error messages, I started feeling this strange pain in my leg. It was a sharp poke that came every couple seconds. Bam. Bam. Bam.

“Dada. Come ON!”

Ruby was poking me in the leg with her (rather sharp) fairy wand. Bam. Bam Bam.

“Dada. COME ON!”

I’d been ignoring her for at least 15 minutes as I took in the gravity of the broken site. What would I tell people? How would we fix it? Where do I even begin?

Many of you know this, but 10 years ago, I experienced a series of panic attacks that took me to the ER on multiple occasions. Thankfully, while episodes of that nature are nearly non-existent these days, I still live with a pretty constant, low-grade hum of anxiety. And as I stared at a giant 404 message, the hum quickly increased to a holler until…Bam. Bam. Bam.


So what do you do when things break?

You take a deep breath, close your computer and give your girls a bath (or whatever the equivalent might be in your own stage of life – this is just a metaphor, friends). At least that’s what I did.

There wasn’t anything I could do right then. I knew that I’d work hard and figure out a solution (even if one didn’t exist in that moment), and frankly, I had more important things to do than notify hundreds of people of a situation most of them were already aware of.

As the warm, soapy water filled the bath, and as my ears and heart filled with the voices of the two best things things I ever made (not websites or projects, mind you), my brain filled with answers.

Two months later, my girls are bathed and the site is fixed. Call it a “fresh start.” :-)

And while they are asleep right now, the site is very much awake. Also, it’s brand new!

Use promo code: WCA to get $50 off!

If you happen to be facing a challenge of your own, I’ve got two suggestions:

  1. Take a deep breath and get away from it for a bit. I promise the space will do you good.
  2. Tell us about it! Literally, right now…in the comments. Sometimes just getting it out of yourself can be cathartic.
And may you remember that as a maker (of any kind, mind you), fixing broken things is par for the course. Enjoy the process!

Gary Haugen Featured on TED Sharing The Hidden Reason for Poverty


Gary Haugen is the founder of International Justice Mission and was a part of our Summit Faculty at The Global Leadership Summit in 2008 and gave one of the highest-rated talks in Summit history, “Just Courage.”

While a member of the 1994 United Nations team investigating war crimes in Rwanda, Gary Haugen’s eyes were opened to the appalling extent of violence in the developing world. Upon his return to the US, he founded International Justice Mission, an organization devoted to rescuing victims of global violence including trafficking and slavery.

Gary was recently invited to speak at TED where he shared the hidden reason for poverty the world needs address now. He shared,

“Experts tell us that there’s about 35 million people in slavery today. That’s about the population of the entire nation of Canada, where we’re sitting today. This is why, over time, I have come to call this epidemic of violence the Locust Effect. Because in the lives of the poor, it just descends like a plague and it destroys everything. In fact, now when you survey very, very poor communities, residents will tell you that their greatest fear is violence. But notice the violence that they fear is not the violence of genocide or the wars, it’s everyday violence.”

Watch the entire video here:

This was certainly a tremendous opportunity for the mission of IJM to get a global audience through TED and we’re excited to see how this will shine a light on the work they are doing to combat human trafficking around the world.

Speakers like Gary are a part of The Global Leadership Summit each year to challenge our thinking and to challenge us to live for the grander vision God has for our lives.

Help us spread the word about The Global Leadership Summit and you could win a copy of Gary’s book The Locust Effect. In The Locust Effect, Haugen outlines the catastrophic effect of everyday violence on the lives of the impoverished, and shows how rampant violence is undermining efforts to alleviate poverty. Enter to win below!

Gary Haugen Giveaway


A Leadership Quick-Take: Horst Schulze



The Willow Creek Association is pleased to that announce that the CEO of one of the world’s most exclusive hotel companies, Horst Schulze, is joining the 2015 faculty of The Global Leadership Summit.

Throughout the spring, our WCA content team meets with each member of the Summit faculty to help them understand the event and the Summit audience.

Recently, our team had delightful meeting with Horst Schulze in Atlanta. Horst was born in Winningen, Germany, and although he had never set foot in a hotel, he announced at 11 years old that he wanted to work in one. When he was 14, he quit school and moved more than 100 miles from his home in order to become a hotel busboy.  From busboy to CEO, through all of his experiences in the luxury hotel industry, he developed a strong understanding of the key components of service and he will unpack those at the Summit.

We asked Horst to answer some quick questions for our blog audience to help us get know him better:

WCA: When did you first know you were a leader?

Horst Schulze:  I still don’t know . . .

WCA: Whose leadership has had the most impact on your life?

Horst Schulze:  My first boss when I was 14

WCA: What leaders do you admire and why?

Horst Schulze:

1) Gandhi, as a moral leader (no stick)

2) MLK – peaceful

3) Mandela – forgiving

WCA: What was the best leadership advice you received as a young leader?

Horst Schulze: Don’t make excuses…!

WCA:  What part of leadership gives you the most satisfaction?

Horst Schulze: Mentoring

WCA: What would you consider to be your biggest leadership accomplishment?

Horst Schulze: Success of individuals, promotions, etc.

WCA: In which aspect of leadership are you growing the most right now?

Horst Schulze: Unselfish – less ego

WCA: How have you seen leadership change during your career?

Horst Schulze: More open – less hierarchy

As you begin to prepare for Horst’s session at the Summit, think about your organization. How would a better understanding of service help you grow relationships with your constituents?  Write your thoughts in the comments section below.

Why Pastors/Teachers Should Be Shaken Up By Brian Williams


This is a post from Nancy Beach. Nancy is a familiar face to many who have attended previous Leadership Summits. She recently shared her thoughts for pastors and leaders in the light of recent events surrounding Brian Williams. We believe it’s a great reminder for all of us!

I have been a fan and faithful viewer of NBC News Anchor Brian Williams for the last decade. Throughout the recent controversy, I continue to hope that some new revelations will explain his actions and even exonerate him. But I am also sobered by the tragic downfall that has resulted from Williams’ apparent violation of God’s commandment not to lie. I think all pastors and teachers – all of us who traffic in a lot of words and story telling – should be shaking in our shoes. The wisdom of the Proverbs tells us:

When words are many, sin is not absent,

but he who holds his tongue is wise. (Proverbs 10:19)

Whenever we are given the privilege of speaking, a temptation lurks with every illustration and story we tell. We can alter the story to be just a tiny bit more funny or dramatic or bizarre or painful. We can exaggerate that blistering hot summer day to be 101 degrees instead of the actual 90 degrees. We can alter the dialogue exchanged with our child to make a punch line punchier. We can even adjust the small details of a story to make ourselves look just a little more noble or wise or kind. And because many of us tell our stories in more than one setting, over time the telling can morph slowly until what we communicate is no longer close to the original story. Worse yet, in deceiving others we can also deceive ourselves into believing our new, shinier version of the story is actually the truth!

Pastors and teachers traffic in a lot of words. When words are many, sin is not absent. It’s impossible to completely “hold our tongues” when we are charged with the task of preaching or teaching. But we can be sober minded. We can take much greater care in the writing and telling of events. We can prayerfully ask the Spirit to convict us when we alter the details. I also recommend the accountability of a spouse, good friend, or colleague who will periodically ask us with love, “Is that how it really happened?”

Deception is one of the Evil One’s most wildly successful tools. Whenever we embellish the truth with the goal of managing our image, we are liars. Rather than judging Brian Williams, I am choosing to seek to learn from his experience and turn the mirror of God’s truth on my many words.

See the original post and read more from Nancy at NancyLBeach.com.