Photo: Mike Greenfield of First Baptist Church Abilene waits to hear General Colin Powell talk on leadership
About 250 people took their seats at Hardin-Simmons University’s Behrens Auditorium to hear from General Colin Powell during day one of the two-day 2013 Global Leadership Summit.
The Global Leadership Summit is telecast via satellite each August from the Willow Creek Association campus in South Barrington, Illinois, to more than 230 locations across the country and the world.
HSU is one of just 19 premier host sites in Texas where church, business, government, non-profit, and educational leaders may engage world-class entrepreneurs, best-selling authors, and notable Christian authorities in the exploration of relevant leadership practices.
Powell, one of this year’s 13 internationally recognized speakers sharing unique insights on the theme, Lead Where You Are, was a senior-level advisor to four U.S. presidents; served in the roles of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and National Security Advisor; and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the 65th U.S. Secretary of State.
“Leaders inspire other people to reach beyond themselves,” said Powell. “As a leader, I have never forgotten, I’m not the one getting the work done. It’s the people who follow who get the work done. Never forget, you have to invest in followers.”
Powell carried the theme of caring for followers throughout his speech before he sat down to speak with Willow Creek Senior Pastor Bill Hybels. “If you want to be a great leader, take care of your troops and give them purpose,” said Powell.
Powell spoke with Hybels about the importance of getting mad and getting over it. Powell said, “If you act while you’re mad, you’re not at your best. It's okay to get mad, but don’t stay mad. It freezes an organization when leaders are running around mad. If people are afraid to come to you with a problem, the whole organization can become paralyzed.”
Also speaking at the summit was Patrick Lencioni, founder and president of The Table Group and a best-selling author. Lencioni said there are three factors at work in organizations where people do not enjoy what they do, anonymity, irrelevance, and immeasurement.
Admitting that immeasurement is not actually a word, Lencioni says it’s the best way to describe a situation when an employee has no measure of how to access the job he or she is doing. “Leaders have to help establish qualitative ways to help employees measure their success in their area of relevance.”
Another speaker warned of the disengagement gap – the gap between what a leader professes and what a leader practices. Dr. Brene Brown, a New York Times best-selling author and research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, studies vulnerability, worthiness, connectivity, and shame. “Love and belonging are the irreducible needs of every man, woman, and child,” said Brown. “Anyone who doesn’t understand these needs cannot be a good leader.”
Other speakers at the conference included Vijay Govindarajan, a Top 50 management thinker and professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business; Liz Wiseman, a Wall Street Journal best-selling author and executive strategy and leadership consultant; Oscar Muriu, senior pastor at the Nairobi Chapel in Kenya; Dr. Henry Cloud, a clinical psychologist, leadership consultant and best-selling author; Chris Brown, co-senior pastor at North Coast Church; Joseph Grenny, co-founder of Vital Smarts and a best-selling author; Bob Goff, founder and CEO of Restore International; Andy Stanley, founder and senior pastor of North Point Ministries; and Mark Burnett, executive television producer of such popular television series as “Survivor,” “Celebrity Apprentice,” “The Voice,” and “The Bible.” The four-time Emmy winner was named one of the World’s Most Influential People by Time Magazine.
James Stone, HSU’s director of church relations, said that while the leadership conference was originally designed to help attendees recognize the impact of their leadership upon the work of the church, the summit theme, Lead Where You Are, informs the leadership needs of just about anyone. “Leadership is not only about power or position, but the capacity to influence those around us, through action, toward a more noble purpose,” said Stone. “For those identifying themselves as Christ-followers, the purpose of leadership in any area of life necessitates the use of whatever influence we have to ultimately serve others.”
This was the third year HSU has served as a premier host site for the summit.