Patrick Lencioni Talks About Vulnerability

Talking about vulnerability. Good follow-up to a talk on humility.

How he came to this view on the importance of vulnerability: His faith, the example of his dad growing up, experience as a consultant right out of college — they were told “always look smarter than your clients, etc.” Wasn’t real.

The desire to avoid vulnerability in our society stems from our over valuing of avoiding suffering and difficulty. People say “no, always be on, always make yourself strong.” But there is something attractive about people that are humble and vulnerable.

The three fears that keep us from being vulnerable.

1. Fear of losing the business

Another way to say it: Fear of being rejected.

Rejection is something we are called to — Christ was rejected. We have to be willing to be rejected. “Enter the danger.”

We have to speak the kind truth. Can’t have “terminal niceness” in our churches. We fall into it because we don’t want to be rejected.

People are hungry for those who will tell them the kind truth.

Don’t be afraid of being rejected. 8 out of 10 times you won’t be. But sometimes you will — and you have to accept that.

[My observation: Just make sure you really are accurate about the truth and what needs to be done and how you are assessing the situation. If you tell the kind truth, but are actually wrong, that's not helpful!]

2. The fear of being embarrassed

When we’re serving others, we have to do things that could embarrass us. We need to be willing to say “I don’t understand that.”

Your job is not to look smart, but to help them do better. If you are editing yourself to manage your own image, people will not trust you and you will not inspire them.

Be willing to ask dumb questions!

Celebrate your mistakes.

3. The fear of feeling inferior

Be willing to put yourself in a lower position. This is what Jesus did: washed the disciples feet.

Sometimes people aren’t going to reward you for doing the dirty work. But you should do it anyway.

This is about honoring your client’s work: being so interested in them that you care more about their success than your own.

There’s a standing ovation for Lencioni.

(Note: Lencioni just found out he was speaking this week, as he took Howard Schultz’s slot after he withdrew.)

Which of the three fears of vulnerability do you struggle with the most?

By: Matt Perman (@MattPerman)
Read more from Matt at

Michelle Rhee – Leadership Summit Session 6

Leaders know that change isn’t easy—and it doesn’t come overnight. That’s why, for the past 18 years, Michelle Rhee has stayed the course with a single objective: to give children the needed skills to compete in a changing world. Rhee, who served with Teach for America, founded The New Teacher Project, equipping school districts to transform how they recruit and train qualified teachers. During her three years as Chancellor of the Washington, D.C. Public Schools, students’ scores and graduation rates rose dramatically. Today, Rhee is CEO of StudentsFirst, a movement to transform public education. She holds firm to her conviction that teachers are the most powerful driving force behind student achievement.

Session Notes

I loved my job in D.C. every day.
The children of my district were being done such a disservice. It was the worst school district in the entire country.
People were avoiding making decisions because they didn’t want to face the turmoil
Not on my watch.
How did you go from Ivy League college to “that?”
We grew up with a mindset of what you can do for others.
Joined Teach for America. Assigned to inner city Baltimore.
Wendy Copp suggested she try to figure out how to get more qualified people to choose to teach in inner city and rural school districts.
Biggest myth: there aren’t enough people who want to teach in those schools.
She found it wasn’t true at all.
The real problem wasn’t in people’s interest, but rather the bureaucracy of the school districts.
Suburban schools don’t have the same challenges because they dont’ have the same turmoil.
Washington DC city counsel disbanded the school board, gave the mayor direct authority over schools. Mayor called her. She said no several times.
Being an urban school superintendent was the last thing I wanted to do. I had never run a school much less a school district.
Ultimately I took the job because… in a heart-to-heart I told the mayor you don’t want me… I will cause you nothing but headaches. Mayor said it wouldn’t be a problem. As a result thought it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn from.
Almost everything was broken… 8% of 8th graders on grade level in math.
Kindergarteners were on par with kindergarteners in other places, but the longer they were in the system, the further beyond they got. Teachers weren’t being paid on time. Books were stuck in warehouses.
Thought about maslovs heirarchy of needs. Make sure people are getting paid, etc.
Focus on human capital. Really believed that the way we could have the most impact was to make sure there was an excellent teacher in every classroom and an excellent principal in every school.
Decided to close 23 schools (15%). Cut central office admin in half. Started with 1,000 people, finished with less than 500. Removed 23rds of principles & 1,000 teachers.
Try to create a different culture, a culture where we thought about every single child and every single family in the same way we think about our own.
Sent her own kids to DC public schools.
Example: What do we do if a teacher is measured as ineffective? Some people suggested giving them 2 years. That would mean my child might get them. There’s no way I would allow that to happen.
Brought in a lot of new people. Looked for people with “snap” – the person who can walk into a classroom & knows exactly what’s going on, understands how each child learns. When you see it, it’s like magic.
Also looked for teachers who have “value added.” We want to evaluate our teachers based on how much our students are learning.
Measure the kids at the beginning of year & end of year for each teacher and want to see progress. (Great idea!)
How did you handle the weight of all the criticism (and picketing)?
her mom: “I thought when you were young that you were going to grow up to be anti-social, but I see now this trait has served you well.”
I would much rather deal with anger than apathy.
I’m not much of an incremental girl.
The people who thought I was moving to slow weren’t the people with kids in the system.
Ultimately, the future of the school district is up to the new mayor and city council.
I do this work because I’m motivated by it every day.
Education has been largely driven by special interests – textbook manufacturers, teachers unions.
There is no national organization that is lobbying for the children.
Students First – a movement, knows our ed system is not what it should be, putting pressure for better education.
As an elected official, your job
If you turn your head to the people who are yelling the loudest, you’ll be turning your back to the children, because they don’t vote.
Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.
Engaged to the mayor of Sacramento.
The concept of “Let go and let God” is really hard for me. I’m kind of a control freak.
Going through the Experiencing God workbook. (<== Great stuff!)

By: Paul Steinbrueck (@PaulSteinbrueck)
Paul has been blogging throughout the Summit, read more at!

Engage: Where Am I in My Spiritual Journey?

God calls us to a life of spiritual movement. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to go next in our spiritual journey. Engage is an online tool for spiritual progress that enables you to answer two important life questions: Where am I in my spiritual journey? How can I move forward?

More about engage:

Mama Maggie Groban, Wess Stafford, Bill Hybels

Mama Maggie GrobanMama Maggie Groban led a comfortable life in Cairo. A Coptic Christian from a prominent Egyptian family, she taught computer science and lectured at Cairo University. But following a conviction from God, she started a ministry to serve the poor in her city. A Nobel Peace Prize nominee this year, Mama Maggie has spent 20 years serving the poorest of the poor.

Bill Hybels

    It’s easy to romanticize leadership.
    We love to talk about the feel-good success stories: Apple, Microsoft, etc.
    We love rags to riches leadership stories.
    We need to be careful that we don’t get trapped into the idea that more success in leadership means more money, influence, etc.
    What if God was calling us to important work that was going to unlikely be a success?
    What if God was calling us to lead an organization that would require drastic self-sacrifice and no guarantee of success?
    Would you sign up for that?
    If we aren’t careful we can become addicted to the narcotic of success and growth.
    Beneath the veneer of all of us, most of want to step into leadership that brings success, influence, growth, etc.
    We love being leaders because we get to lead things that are successful and glamorous.
    We can get hooked on the narcotic of success and growth.

Wes Stafford, Compassion International

    This world is not our home, it’s just a campsite.
    We follow a different drummer.
    We belong to a different Kingdom.
    Our world is upside-down.
    Leaders serve, the greatest are the least, etc.
    It’s possible for a follower of Christ and not pray all day long in the USA.
    Christians in Ethiopia risk their lives to meet together.
    It’s worth the risk because they need each other.
    During their oppression, the church had grown 5x.
    Churches are the channel into the Middle East today.
    Revelation 7: all nations, tribes, and tongues.
    May God grant that we are worthy to stand beside them.

Mama Maggie Groban

    Mama Maggie’s Ministry in Egypt is named Stephen’s Children after the first martyr of the church.
    Stephen’s Children employs 1,400 staff serving 7,000 families providing holistic care for children in Egypt’s garbage dumps.
    Mama Maggie is referred to as the “Mother Theresa” of Egypt and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times.
    Mama Maggie attributes all of her success to God.
    We don’t choose where to be born but we choose to be sinners or saints.
    We choose whether to be a nobody or a hero.
    If you want to be a hero do what God wants you to do.
    25 years ago I heard my “tough call.”
    When God wanted to promote me, He sent me to the poorest of the poor.
    Everyone who carries the fragrance of eternity has to experience the dark valley of death.
    To be elegant comes from the inside.
    True love is to give and forgive.
    To give until it hurts.
    Forgiveness is not between you and another, forgiveness is between you and God.
    God holds our accounts.
    People laugh when they hurt.
    We are forgiven much but live so little.
    With God’s grace I left everything and found Him waiting for me with a crown of love.
    When you die to yourself you discover the beauty and power in yourself.
    Who are the poorest of the poor? The children.
    Children are hungry and starving… for love and affection.
    They are naked… lacking dignity
    When one has nothing God becomes everything
    When I touch a poor child, I touch Jesus Christ.
    When I listen to a poor child, I’m listening to God’s heart beating for all humanity.
    We build a church in the heart of every child we reach in a country where it’s not always possible to build a church.
    Silence is the secret
    To be in silence is to be fully inside your own self.
    It’s not easy, but there you discover the taste of eternity.
    The Kingdom is within you.
    The silence is the secret – the first step – to finding treasure.
    There are secrets in silence.
    Silence your body to listen.
    Silence your tongue to listen to your thoughts.
    Silence your thoughts to listen to your heart beating.
    Silence your heart to listen to your spirit.
    Silence your spirit to listen to His Spirit.
    In silence you leave many and be with the One.
    If God has chosen me, believe me when I say I’m the least of any of you here.

Bill Hybels

    Jeremiah received a tough calling from God: to speak God’s word to God’s people.
    The words God wanted Jeremiah to speak were words of warning to shake them up and wake them up.
    Nothing goes well. No one likes what he has to say.
    God tells him to keep speaking so he does.
    He gets beaten and put on display for shame.
    In Jeremiah 20, he tells God how he feels.
    “You sweet talked me… and I bought it. This isn’t what I had in mind.”
    He was torn between being faithful to his calling and his ache for success.
    Give up the ache to be successful in the eyes of the world and go with what God is calling you to do.
    Jeremiah wrote his lament down… it’s in our Bible.
    At the end of his lament he had clarity: throughout all of it, God’s mercies were new to him every morning.
    “I have had very little hardship carrying out what God has called me to do.”
    If you watch one episode of the evening news, you know our world is broken and it’s getting worse.
    The fixes that are going to be required for the ills of our society are not going to be easy assignments.
    They won’t be short-term assignments.
    God is looking for some strong-shouldered leaders who are available to take on tough callings.
    “I stand in awe of leader who receive tough assignments.”
    Do you have the courage to listen?
    What is your tough calling?

Bill said, “This world won’t get fixed unless leaders like us are available for tough assignments.” What tough assignment will you step up to after the Summit?

By: Tim Schraeder (@TimSchraeder)
Read more from The Global Leadership Summit at Tim’s blog!

If it’s worth doing, what are you waiting for?

With a #1 marketing blog, top 100 website Squidoo and twelve bestselling books (including The Purple Cow, Tribes, and latest release, Linchpin), marketing guru Seth Godin is one of the most imaginative free-thinkers in the world today. He makes a career out of perpetually re-inventing himself and his businesses—spreading powerful ideas and delivering something remarkable every day. Godin believes you can be remarkable too. He creates disequilibrium that pushes you to get grounded in what you believe, while firing up your creative prowess to face head-on the roadblocks in your ministry, work and life. Godin is contagious. Spend time with him and shake your brain.
Seth Godin Blog
Seth Godin on Facebook
Mashable Insight, Interview with Seth Godin on What it Takes to be a Linch

    Someone here today is going to change everything.
    Someone here is going to do something that matters.
    They are going to do it, not because someone told them to or asked them to, but because they chose to do it.
    Seth shared the story of Nathan Winograd.
    1 guy decided to want to do work that matters.
    This is the opposite of the legend of Betty Crocker… created average products for average people.
    The legend of Betty Crocker is fading.
    There is something that is not working the way that it used to.
    There is a notion that we can promote an idea from a position of power is something we grew up with.
    Our society is built on the notion of more.
    The TV-Industrial Complex: Buy Ads > Get More Distribution > Sell More Products > Make a Profit > REPEAT
    Leads to average products for average people.
    If you are going to make something for everyone you have to make something everyone wants to buy.
    Mass is built into our culture.
    On our watch a revolution is happening.
    Revolutions do things that are perfect and impossible.
    Mass is fading away.
    We’ve branded ourselves to death.
    Revolutions destroy the perfect and enable the impossible.
    It’s the death of the industrial age.
    It’s being replaces by a new age of weird, edges, and different people needing different things.
    A tribe is a group of people who share a culture and a goal who want to be together.
    There is an explosion of tribes.
    As these tribes spring up and people meet-up, connect up and group up, things are changing.
    People still want what everyone wants… to be in synch.
    We do what we do because we are organized to do it.
    We want to do what OUR people are doing.
    Tribes need leaders.

If it’s worth doing, what are you waiting for?

By: Tim Schraeder (@TimSchraeder)
Read the full post and more notes at Tim’s blog!

What ditch is God asking you to dig?

Steven Furtick
Lead Pastor, Elevation Church
Charlotte, North Carolina

At 31, Steven Furtick is living proof that youth is not a barrier for God. Five years ago, Furtick recruited a team of friends and planted Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Today, Elevation is one of the fastest-growing churches in America, with more than 8,000 in attendance. His new book, Sun Stand Still, inspires believers toward audacious faith, rooted in prayer and unbound by circumstances. “God revels in doing the impossible through those willing to dream big—and ask,” he says. What audacious dream has God planted in your soul? And what kind of leadership does it require? Take the plunge toward leadership marked by deeper faith and riskier audacity.

Session 4 Notes: Audacious Faith

“I’m expert at being dumb enough to believe that God can do anything.”

Audacious faith – believing God to do the impossible

2 Kings 3:9-20

Only God can make it rain. We can do all the things we can do, but only God can make it rain.

Only God can send favor, mercy, salvation, healing…

Proverbs 3:5-6

I can’t expect God’s blessing on my work unless I do it God’s way.

You can do it.
You can make it.
Don’t give up.
No matter what.

How are we going to go from inspiration to implementation?

Good ideas don’t make you a visionary, they just make you a day-dreamer if you don’t move to implementation.

If the size of the vision you have for your life isn’t intimidating to you, it’s likely that it’s insulting to God.

If you want to see the land filled with water, dig some ditches.

Life can beat the audacity right out of you.

Audacity is ambiguous.

No leader is 100% sure they have heard from God. We just have to hear enough to take the next step.

If you will dig the ditches, God will send the rain. If you will do what you can do, God will do what He can do.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21

Questions for Reflection:

What ditch is God asking you to dig?

Where does your faith need to be stretched?

What are you audaciously believing God for?

By Jenni Catron (@jennicatron)
Read more from The Global Leadership Summit at Jenni’s blog

What is Your Catalytic Event?

God convenes God’s people.

Prayer: Thank you for bringing us here. Business leaders, academic leaders. From every sector!

Kingdom come, will be done. Asking you to speak boldly and clearly.

Derek and Brenda in England from Fuller, talking on experience in African American church. Trying to figure out redundant churches. They wanted to learn from the US Black church. Jamaican woman met her, and rather than being overjoyed, she angrily, “Where have you been? Didn’t you know what we were experiencing here? We’re foreign in Jamaica and here in England. Classism isolates us.”

I had no idea. Pastors, academicians, none of us knew enough about what was going on around the world. A defining moment for me about how uninformed I was.

It was a catalytic moment. God used that experience in my life to broaden, my experience to humble me, to expand my worldview.

Catalytic moments are never nice and easy and comfortable. It’s like flying in an airplane, and when those little yellow bags pop down during sudden loss of pressure, we would grab on for dear life! That’s what a catalytic even feels like.

Because words fail, I asked for help from the Willow team to create this video to help you experience a catalytic event. One man forced himself past where others had given up, changing our world forever. He broke the speed of sound! He blew out the windows! In 1947, Capt. Chuck Yeager proved that it was possible. People thought it would make the plane break apart. When the shaking was most intense, he resisted the temptation to pull back and he moved forward.

Most of us have been impacted by economic, demographic and cultural shifts. Who could’ve predicted the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and through social media?

This next generation of global leaders have grown up with this under their feet. They’re experiencing more ethnic and generational diversity than anyone ever before. They are global by default, and they know it.

How have you responded? Has it shut you down? Has it made you want to retreat? Or like Chuck Yeager has it inspired you to push through to a new kind of leadership?

Those have challenged me for a year.

In Acts chapter one, I realized the initial catalytic burst happened in the beginning of the birth of the church. Acts 1:8—you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses…all around the world!

It went to the Jews, to the Gentiles, to the whole human race. That’s our mission, to be the kind of leaders who lead the Church forward beyond the sound barrier, to the globalness of what God calls us to be.

There’s a movement outward. We have to move past one barrier after another. We must begin in Jerusalem. This represents our home turf, our comfort zone! People laugh at our jokes and understand our language. It’s where people are mostly like us. It seems like any decent leader could make a church work in their Jerusalem. It takes courage to be a catalytic leader in Jerusalem. Gotta face our own bigotry and ethnocentricity.

You can get your “Amen!” in with me. You can practice with me.

We gotta face some stuff in ourselves in Jerusalem. Gotta confront the people who look like us, in our own family, on our local church. Challenge the practices and policies of our churches and systems.

There’s a VP of Finance at a university in Indiana, and she is passionate about intercultural competency. She gets it on her president’s desk. She pressed on a committee that didn’t want to celebrate MLK Day! She takes on Jerusalem.

Now, onto Judea—it represents the place that’s close to home but not quite home. It’s kind of familiar but there are some subcultural difference. We can look alike but have different political views. It’s like denominational differences. Somehow we’re not quite speaking the same language. Ministry in Judea is not easy. It requires cultural translation. It’s like and elderly woman being preyed upon by a lender. She was getting foreclosed on, but the church heard about it. They bought that woman’s home and sold it back to her for $1! That’s the kind of ministry that happens in Judea.

But next, we need to go to Samaria—this represents people who are hostile to us! They are foreign, totally other. It’s the neighborhoods that we just drive by. Like District 6 in Cape Town or the garbage communities in Manila or India, prisons where people are locked away and forgotten. It’s the place of sex trafficking. It’s the place of child soldiers. It’s the place of corporate greed. Somebody profits from this stuff, it’s environmental injustice. That’s what happens in Samaria.

You will be my disciples in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria!

It takes a Chuck Yeager to head into Samaria! You will receive power, not just intellectual power but spiritual power from God! It will really be tested in Samaria.

Gender and class and tradition—you don’t have to talk about it in Jerusalem. You can’t avoid it in Samaria! It’s like my friend who’s a priest on the Southside of Chicago! He was concerned about how advertising was affecting youth in his neighborhood. So he painted over it!

We need catalytic moments! We’ve got to have something that pushes us!

Acts chapter two pushes them past the sound barrier. Pentecost came and suddenly a sound came and filled the house. Tongues of fire rested on each of them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Others were amazed and perplexed.

Have you ever been in a prayer meeting and you look over at your brother and he’s on fire! If you catch on fire, someone’s gonna come and watch you burn!

The Church is intended to be a global movement. It’s both amazing and confusing. The Church is supposed to be so utterly and completely countercultural, so others are scratching their heads at how the Church lets their differences go!

What do the catalytic events mean in our day? The Spirit is ready to move just like at Pentecost in Acts 2! Peter interpreted it in 2:17-18. For us, instead of being scared of the rhetoric we’re hearing. Maybe God is doing this so that people who have been isolated from each other have to partner with each other. Maybe just maybe God is moving!

The question is, are you ready? Are you ready to break through your sound barrier? If so, I have some dangerous things for you to do.

You need to pray for a divine mandate. Catalytic events are something we can’t conjure up—God needs to break in. We can do something. God, what things do you want my org to address? What are you calling us to do? The most dangerous prayer you can pray is to take your people to a part of the city where you serve and lead and ask them to walk around, “God break our hearts for what breaks your heart.” Pray it over and over again. Multilingual, multinational—it’s not a good idea. It’s a God idea!

If you still have courage, name your catalytic events. Stop walking by. Stop tsking and saying the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Ask God how the Spirit is moving in this context, in our country. We’re looking for people who are looking at catastrophes and seeing catalytic events. Summon your courage! Interpret for people that God’s not dead! God’s still alive! Jesus said the Father is always working. Our job is to look around and find what God is doing!

After you ask God for a divine mandate, something that doubles you over, something you can’t stand, then look for the catalytic events that are setting you up for success. Mobilize people to go! Faith without works is dead! We’ve got to move outside of our Jerusalem to our Judea. We need our cross-pollination there. Convene people to talk about sexuality—that’s a Judea move. Try to understand their perspective! Talk to some cutters—hear them.

And don’t stop there—push past the sound barrier into Samaria, where we’re culturally, socially not in control. I’m not looking for people to just help. I want people who will go learn. Go find your Mrs Jones like Cory Booker said who will lead you to success. Learn the language of the people. Immerse yourself in the culture, even when you want to run back after checking off the box. Brenda is learning Spanish and asking for God’s help in Spanish.

It’s unacceptable, like Dr Schlesinger said. That’s where God is calling you, even out to the ends of the earth! I pray that like on Pentecost, God would rattle you. I want to know what Pentecost feels like in our life! You may be lost up to this point. But may I submit that this moment may be your catalytic moment? This spark might light a fire under the people you lead, your whole Church.
Breathe on us, Holy Spirit! Let God give you the courage you need to lead past boundaries that have held you back! Come Spirit of the Living God, fall on us, fired up! God, make us the Church, the Global Church, every ethnicity, every cultural.

I wish I had a witness who would stand up and say, “AMEN!”

By: Adam Jeske (@AdamJeske)
Read more of Adam’s Summit notes on his blog Executing Ideas

What are you going to stand up for?

Cory BookerBrief Info on Cory Booker

Mayor of Newark since 2006. Rhodes Scholar. Degrees from Oxford, Yale Law School. Urban reformer. Founded non-profit Newark Now. 1,000,000 people following him on Twitter. Recently entrusted with $100 million donation from Mark Zuckerberg to address education.

Core Points from His Message
“How do you stand up when everything around you is telling you to let go?”

“The challenge of the lesson I’m sharing with you is that I’m still seeking to be a better proponent of it myself. It’s not something I learned at Oxford or Yale, but what I learned from my parents.”

“You will always face in this life outrageous adversaries. People that will try to trip you up. Friends who won’t act in your best interests. You must be the one who regardless of the storm is willing to stand.”

“You drink deeply from wells of freedom and opportunity and dignity that you have but did not dig. You have a choice: are you going to grow dumb, fat, and happy on the basis of other people’s sacrifice and struggle, or stand up and use all your blessings to move forward and serve?”

“My parents exemplified love in action. Unyielding faith, fearless hope.”

“You are a result of a grand conspiracy of love. People stormed beaches in Normandy for you.”

“Many people will try to seduce you into mediocrity. Don’t fall for it. You were born an original, but most die copies.”

“You have access to untold opportunities, but you must claim them. Don’t accept your existence as it is. Rise.”

“We are the result of people who did not see the world as others saw it. In the midst of sweatshops, they saw workers rights. In the midst of slavery, they saw freedom. We are here because of people who had the extraordinary vision and the courage to stand up and do something about it. To me, what you see in the world is less a matter of the facts that are there than more being a reflection of who you are. Your attitude about the world says nothing about the world, but speaks to your character.”

“I’ve found in my journey that I can talk about the world all I want and deplore the darkness and point fingers of blame real easily, but in truth that is nothing but spitting in the wind. The only way to make change in this world is for it to start with yourself. Now I see people every day in my city exhibiting that kind of courage. We as a people, if we live our values, can create radical transformation. Human history is, and American testimony in particular, is a testimony to the achievement of the impossible. But before you tell me what you teach, show me how you live and give.”

“Sometimes you have to fast and pray.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“So now I end with a simple call, that my dad gave me as a boy: Let us now stand up. Let us stand because people stood for us and fought for us and bled for us. Let us stand because … change never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. Let us stand because ‘liberty and justice for all’ must be a passion and purpose every day. And if we stand like this, then we will find a way to get to the roof.”

Three Reflections
1. I loved his emphasis on character. At the heart of character is not seeing yourself as a victim, but as someone who is proactive — someone who can stand up for change. Hardship and adversity will happen to all of us. You cannot make a difference if you respond to that by blaming others and pointing the finger. You have to respond constructively and take responsibility to continue doing the right thing, in spite of adversity. Sometimes people respond cynically to all the problems they see, and they think they are justified in thinking this way because there is indeed lots of injustice in the world. But in reality, “your attitude about the world says nothing about the world, but speaks to your character.”

2. I also loved the fact he did not just talk about character, but exemplifies it. He has clearly made a massive difference for good in his community and as mayor of Newark.

3. I appreciated his story at the end about the importance of sometimes having to fast and pray. We cannot rely only on your own strength, and that’s not what leadership is about. The tasks are too great, and God honors it when we realize that all strength ultimately comes from him, not ourselves.

What are you going to stand for?

By: Matt Perman (@MattPerman)
Read the more from The Global Leadership Summit at Matt’s blog!

Where do you want to find opportunity?

About Len Schlesinger – President, Babson College

In today’s climate of social and economic uncertainty, conventional approaches to problem-solving don’t work anymore. “The traditional way of thinking our way into acting is rendered essentially useless,” says entrepreneurial thought leader, Len Schlesinger. “Action trumps everything.”

A former executive in two Fortune 500 companies, Schlesinger believes that entrepreneurial activity, steeped in experiential learning, can transform the way leaders move forward in the face of unpredictability—and that entrepreneurial thinking can be codified and taught to anyone. Leaders hungry to stay ahead of the 21st century change curve are invited to unlock this entrepreneurial code for themselves and shore up their ministries or organizations for success, regardless of what the future may bring.

Session Notes

  • Leaders get incredibly sold on a position and then don’t realize that most people are comfortable right where they are.
  • There’s a standard vision speech heard all around the world. Do you know it? It’s the Martin Luther King, Jr. “I have a dream” speech.
  • You can’t get There until you make it clear how unacceptable it is Here.
  • Find out who your customers are! Find out what they want! Give it to them!
  • What they don’t tell you in leadership school is that MLK spent 3-4 years smashing the current reality he was in to adopt a new reality.
  • Engage in dialogue with people who share your vision for where you want to go, or getting there will be a very tough challenge.
  • Entrepreneurs have a passion for discovering opportunities. Once they do, they act.
  • Millennials are the first generation looking towards a future less attractive than their parents. This is unacceptable.

Believe in the Future By Creating it First

  • If all you do is think, you are less interesting as a person. Action trumps everything.
  • Entrepreneurship helps us create the kind of future we desire to have. Believe in the future by creating it first.
  • I get asked: “How do you ever teach people how to do [entrepreneurship]?”
  • When we look at the behavior of successful entrepreneurs over time, the really good entrepreneurs are good at reducing & spreading risk, not looking for it.
  • An entrepreneur sees how to do something better. That’s it.
  • Babson’s purpose is to educate leaders to make and find opportunities to create economic and social value everywhere.
  • Entrepreneurship and ministry are not mutually exclusive.
  • You cannot ride one business model for the entirety of your career. You must reinvent yourself 3-4 times during your career.
  • The half-life of what you hear on the news won’t withstand the half-hour broadcast you watch.
  • We need to develop mechanisms in entrepreneurship that allows us to address sustainability.

Experts and Schooling

  • Most of what you hear about entrepreneurship is almost all wrong. It’s simply about discipline.
  • We are all entrepreneurs, so few of us get to practice it, however.
  • Venture capital isnt’ necessary to be an entrepreneur. You simply need to unlearn everything you’ve learned your entire life in school.
  • Most of what you hear about entrepreneurship is all wrong. It’s not magic. It’s discipline.
  • Schooling is based on cause and effect, or results. The future is an extrapolation of the past. What happens then? You become paralyzed.
  • Successful entrepreneurs realize that you can’t predict the future. You simply see what is available to you and you act.
  • Treating an uncertain world as if it were predictable only gets you into trouble.
  • In face of unknowability, what would irrational thinking look like? How about sitting and thinking. You can’t think your way into an unknowable future.
  • How do you create movement?
  • Take small steps, not big leaps. Take a small step with what you have at hand
  • Minimize the risk with each step.
  • Build off what you find in each step.
  • Maximize the results by utilizing the resources of the people around you.

Creating Movement

  • Where do you want to find opportunity? Do what you want to do. Let’s start there.
  • Entrepreneurs are always doing what they want to do or what they think will get them what they want.
  • Pick something that you want to do and then act on it! It’s amazing how that works.
  • Most people get completely caught up in what they’re trying to do. Which most people don’t know. Instead, focus on what you want to do next. What do you want to do next?
  • We are deathly afraid of taking action because of failure. We have been educated to believe that failure is a dirty word.
  • Smart people, with your money, fail 60% of the time. That’s up from 35% in the 80s. In other words, failture does not spell the end of it.

How to (Not) Guarantee Success, But Get You Moving

  • If you try and try and try, you get more times at bat and increase the amount of times you succeed.

Further Thoughts

Overall, a good session. Way to hard to try and catalog everything he said, but the gist of it was “Don’t give up. Keep trying.” We all have an entrepreneurial streak inside of us, but so few of us ever take that risk. Why? Because we’re fearful. If the future doesn’t exist, why don’t we work hard to try and create the future we want?

By: Justin Wise (@JustinWise)

Read the more from The Global Leadership Summit at Justin’s blog!