I usually come away from the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit with ideas to pursue, new books to read, and at least one new “person of interest”—someone I did not know about before and whose work I would like to learn more about.
The speaker who was the “person of interest” for me this year was Chris McChesney, the Global Practice Leader of Execution for Franklin Covey. McChesney is the co-author of The 4 Disciplines of Execution and is a very dynamic presenter. He emphasized something that most leaders have learned the hard way—developing strategy is easier than executing that strategy (just ask any church that has produced a strategic plan and never looked at it again). He explained that execution involves people and a change in human behavior which is often hampered by the system in which they function. His insights were helpful and I look forward to reading the book.
Another speaker that I anticipated hearing was Erin Meyer, an instructor at INSEAD, a prominent business school in France. Originally from a small town in Minnesota, Meyer is married to a Frenchman and (as she said) has “French children.” Her area of expertise is navigating the complexities of cultural differences in multicultural work environments. I read her book The Culture Map prior to the meeting because this is a topic of special interest to me. Cross-cultural effectiveness is not limited to business but should be a concern of educators and ministry leaders as well.
I am glad that I had read the book and I appreciated Meyer’s enthusiasm for her subject but it was like drinking from a fire hose. She had too much material and too little time. I love the book and have already recommended it to several friends. It is very insightful and challenging.
One of the most inspirational parts of today’s program was Bill Hybels’ interview with Bishop T.D. Jakes, founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House. Jakes is a ministry entrepreneur who understands that the gospel must get outside the walls of the church and use the tools of culture—music, publishing, motion pictures, and television—to engage people. He is a strong personality, but he realizes that he can’t do it alone. As he told Hybels, “If you can accomplish your dream on your own, your dream is too small.” You need God and you need a team.
There was much more to today’s program, but I once again appreciated the opportunity to be exposed to a premier group of speakers who want to make a difference in the world. I think everyone this year was a professing Christian, but Hybels and his team are open to learning from those who have little or no Christian commitment. If we are to engage the culture, we must listen to the culture. The Summit is a good place to do that.