Bill Hybels is senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, a church of more than 25,000 that celebrates its 40th year in 2015. He founded The Global Leadership Summit with a commitment to develop and mentor leaders worldwide. In 2014, the Summit equipped more than 220,000 leaders in 785 cities and 108 countries. Hybels is the best-selling author of more than 20 books including Simplify, Courageous Leadership and Leadership Axioms.
Notes from GLS15, Session 1
Bill Hybels: The Intangibles of Leadership
40 years ago, Bill went door-to-door asking people if they attended a local church. This October, Willow will celebrate its 40th Anniversary at the United Center in Chicago.
We are all at different places in our leadership journey. Leadership is about moving people from Here to There.
Some of you are at the beginning of your leadership journey.
- Your question is: Can I do it?
Some are halfway through.
- Your question is: Can I sustain it?
Some of us are near the finish line.
- Your question is: Can I take this across the finish line?
The stakes are high at each of these junctures.
The greatest value of the Global Leadership Summit is humility. We can learn from everyone.
I USED TO TEACH THAT THERE WERE 8 CRITICAL FUNCTIONS OF LEADERSHIP
- Casting Vision
- Building Teams
- Motivating & Inspiring
- Solving Problems
- Change management
- Establishing Core Values
- Allocating Resources
- Developing Emerging Leaders
Bill watched some leaders get better and better. But not others. Why? He wondered, is there another list?
Then his assistant, Jean, brought him a book. The Intangibles of Leadership by Richard A. Davis
- Subtle qualities, intangibles that set great leaders apart
INTANGIBLE #1: GRIT
- Research by Angela Duckworth: The secret to top performance is unremitting, long-term tenacity.
- The Little Engine That Could. “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” That’s grit.
- Grit matters in life. And it matters in leadership. Those with more of it will succeed more than those with less of it.
- Leaders with grit: Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King
- Question: Do you have it?
- Take the GRIT Assessment at willowcreek.com/events/leadership/survey.asp
- Grit can be developed—but the arch enemy of grit is ease. Grit development demands difficulty.
- Bill assigned both his kids difficult tasks in their growing up years.
- Many top leaders push themselves physically. Examples: Jim Collins, Craig Groeschel, Larry Page (Google), Richard Branson, Condoleezza Rice
- Most elite leaders volunteer for extra work assignments and show steely determination to carry it out.
- Jack Welch says, “Don’t just deliver. Over-deliver every time.” Show grit.
- How can you get grit:
- Read biographies of people who had it
- When senior leaders push themselves hard, teammates notice and develop an appetite for it themselves
INTANGIBLE #2: SELF-AWARENESS
- Story of a pastor who was demeaned as a child by his dad. As an adult, he engaged in ambitious building projects at three churches that ruined the churches financially. Who was he trying to impress?
- Story of a CEO of a charity that was considering international expansion. There was strong disagreement on the board. She quit. Intense conflict brought her back to the alcoholic violence in her home.
- When you read about a huge mess or meltdown, odds are that it is tied to a leader’s lack of self-awareness.
- Definition: something someone believes they do well but everyone on the team knows it is not true.
- According to Lominger: All of us have 3.4 blinds pots in our lives.
- For years, Bill prided himself on being cool under pressure. One day, he was confronted by a female colleague. “You don’t even know that you drive everyone crazy when you are stressed out.” This was confirmed by his running partner. I had a moment of self-awareness. He saw his blind spot in all of its ugliness.
- Question: Do you have any blind spots?
- How would you go about identifying them?
- Ask a direct supervisor
- Ask peers, friends and colleagues
INTANGIBLE #3: RESOURCEFULNESS
- Korn-Ferry group: Resourceful leaders outpace non-resourceful by 25%. When senior leaders are thrust into situations where they honestly don’t know what do to do, they start figuring out what to do.
- Story of the Wright Brothers. They experimented and failed, and experimented and failed. They stayed at it until they figured it out.
- Can resourcefulness be developed? Yes – by putting yourself in situations that are confusing and dysfunctional.
- Story of Bill’s son, Todd learning how to fly a helicopter. Instructor took hands off the control and said “Figure out how to land this thing without killing us.”
- Leaders need to identify real problems and create a short-term task forces for junior leaders to figure it out. You will identify those with high learning agility.
INTANGIBLE #4: SELF-SACRIFICING LOVE
Story of David
- He had been given an army of “leftovers.” And through his love for them, the army developed a deep loyalty to him and to each other. One night, three senior leaders broke through enemy lines to get water from the Bethlehem Well.
- It was David’s greatest leadership moment. He had a flashback to his early days – and realized his investment had paid off. He remembered hearing the whispers of God who said, “I want you to love these guys.” Self-sacrificing love has always been at the absolute core of leadership.
- I Cor. 13:8, Love never fails.
We live in a day of narcissistic leaders. Trust in organizations is low.
Gallup says that when workers feel love coming from their managers, their organizations perform better.
Bill stands as an example of this. For 40 years, Dr. B mentored and loved him sacrificially.
Don’t hesitate a single moment in showing love and concern to your team mates. Get personal. Say affirming or encouraging words. It will set the tone for the entire organization.
KNOWING YOUR “WHITE-HOT” WHY
- Start with Why by Simon Sinek. He says most leaders don’t know the “Why” of your what they do.
- Real Life MBA by Jack and Suzy Welch. Every leader should be a Chief Meaning Officer.
- Bob Buford once hired a strategic planner who asked, what’s most important to you, “Money or God?” What goes in the top box?
- Get clarity. What is your white-hot why?
Examples of the White-Hot Whys
Steve Jobs. “Do you want to sell sugar water or do you want to help me to change the world?”
Howard Schultz. “We don’t sell coffee. We create a third place.”
Rich Stearns, President of World Vision. “What if you shifted your why from plates for rich people to food for poor people.”
Bill’s White-Hot Why: Sharing the gospel message. The message of grace simply transformed his life. He realized that his “white-hot “why is never going to be money. Transformed lives are in his top box.
Find out what is in your top box and pursue it with all your heart. Life is too short to live with someone else’s why.
THE STAKES OF LEADERSHIP
Bill’s mother-in-law recently suffered a major stroke and passed away. He saw excellence in leadership in the people in the ambulance, hospital, church, funeral home.
Leadership matters. It matters in churches, businesses and not-for-profits.
Leaders – Step It Up!
- Learn how to lead with grit
- Become self-aware
- Increase your resourcefulness
- Demonstrate self-sacrificing love
- Find your white-hot why