Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. ~John F. Kennedy
I sat in my usual spot high in the mezzanine level of the 7000+ seat auditorium to the left of center affording both a great view and an easy exit strategy for breaks and end of day quick access to the parking lot. My skin tingled at the energy infused by the electricity in the air. No, it wasn’t a sporting event nor a concert. The electricity oozed from the 1000s of leaders, many of them church leaders, sitting in the auditorium of Willow Creek Community Church anticipating the beginning of the annual Global Leadership Summit.
This event is one of the premier leadership teaching events in the world and is a highlight of my leadership year. The GLS is unique in that it combines teaching from both the church and the secular communities. It is at this summit that I am blessed with great practical leadership teaching and a healthy dose of inspiration from exemplary leaders that feeds my engine for many months. There are a number of blogs capturing the bullet points of the various sessions so I am not going to be redundant and create my own. One of them is Jenni Catron if you are interested in learning more.
This was my fifth consecutive year in attendance, the fifth consecutive year listening to some of the greatest minds in leadership and the greatest leaders in the world share their knowledge and experience. I marvel every year at the quality of the teaching brought together over the course of two days. And every year I take away a sack full of nuggets that help me become a better leader for those I am privileged to lead.
I lost count of the notes I took and the notations I made to add certain concepts to the leadership training course I am creating and delivering at my company. It’s a course aimed at new leaders, however, it is one that would benefit many of the experienced leaders in my company…if only they were humble enough to recognize the need for continual, personal leadership development.
Too often, once people are in leadership they think they have arrived. For some reason, they fail to understand that leadership, like any skill, must be continually grown and refined if that skill is to remain sharp, effective, relevant. The need to continually grow in leadership was both explored in my first leadership training class and the closing thoughts in the sixth and final segment of my leadership training course.
This sixth class could be the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end. The determination which it is depends upon their mindsets going forward. If they think they have arrived in leadership and quite learning then the end is on the horizon. If they seek to continue growing their leadership abilities then the sun is just rising on their leadership careers.
I am creating a foundation for the concept of end of the beginning by encouraging them, us, to continue our association beyond the final class. We are going to meet on a regular, monthly basis in an ongoing effort to continually hone our leadership skills. It is through this association that I am hoping to create an exemplarily leadership organization within my company with highly skilled leaders ready to take us in whatever direction is needed to improve the organization.
I have always gone to the Leadership Summit as a personal quest to improve my own ability to lead. The lessons I learned there have helped me to see a bigger picture, encouraged me to take a bigger risk. This leadership course and my vision for leadership at my company came about, in large part, to the many lessons I learned at the Leadership Summit.