My Top 10 Takeaways From The 2019 GLS

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.
— Proverbs 4:7

The 2019 Global Leadership Summit is in the rear view mirror. It was FANTASTIC! No doubt, the shadow of the Bill Hybels fallout still hangs over the event, but the Summit team did a spectacular job selecting a diverse faculty and building an engaging and creative experience.

In his session, Hollywood producer DeVon Franklin said, “No discipline. No destiny!” Amen to that. This post is my attempt to synthesize my learning and initial attempts toward Implementation. With that in mind, here are my Top 10 leadership takeaways from The Global Leadership Summit.

1. Conduct A Bad Ideas Funeral

Liz Bohannon is Co-Founder and Co-CEO of the socially-conscious fashion brand, Sseko Designs. The company is experiencing great growth, but not every effort has yielded great fruit. Liz shared one of her ventures that failed miserably. Rather than live under the dark cloud of failure, she actually had a funeral for the failed footwear and moved on. Lessons: Admit failure. Learn from failure. Don’t try to “prop up” the failure. Bury it and move on. In another session, Bear Grylls, former British Special Forces, and climber of Everest, urged us not to fear failure. The avid adventurer actually failed being selected to Special Forces on his first attempt. Yes, it was crushing, but he endured a second attempt and joined the elite unit. “Failures outweigh successes” Bear said. Don’t let them deter you from pursuing your goal.

2. GETMO — Good Enough To Move On

Craig Groeschel, Co-Founder and Senior Pastor of Life.Church shared the GETMO concept in his opening talk. “Perfection is often the enemy of progress,” he said. Spending more and more time on the same task will not produce a return in keeping with the investment. Large initial gains will give way to minuscule progress. Wise leaders look for the sweet spot where essential effort yields a higher return for equal or less time. Case in point, Craig spends 8-10 hours a week in message prep. That’s all he can afford in order to tend to other responsibilities. In fact, he finds that devoting two more hours will not yield a corresponding improvement for the time spent. GETMO — It’s good enough to move on. My takeaway was not necessarily mirroring the amount of time Craig spends, but putting a limit on the amount I will spend.

3. Think Inside The Box

“Think inside the box” has to do with embracing our limitations. This concept also came from Groeschel. Life.Church started when Craig and his team had to figure out how to get the Sunday message to other campuses after Amy (Craig’s wife) gave birth to their fourth child. Someone suggested showing the video of Craig preaching from the service a day earlier. The team tried it and the rest is “history.” Craig urged us to see constraints as a motivating factor. “God guides by what he withholds,” he said. My application: I am wrestling with this concept as it relates to writing and podcasting. What can I do within the confines of my current role to maximize time for blogs, writing projects, and podcasting?

4. Diversity: Are you inviting someone to the party or asking them to dance?

Marketing star Bozoma Saint John said, “Diversity is being asked to the party; inclusivity is being asked to dance.” If we are serious about diversity, we will ask someone to dance! This hit home. It’s not enough to be open to a multi-cultural or multi-ethnic ministry (inviting everyone to the party). Am I actively engaging others who don’t look like me (asking someone to dance)? My application: I am planning a future Leadership Team meeting to assess and adjust our “inviting/dancing” efforts as a church.

5. Remember “Disney’s Folly” and “Nelson’s Touch”

Critics dubbed Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, Disney’s Folly. The first full-length animated film took three years to produce and was over-budget by a factor of four. Despite the naysayers, the animated classic was the highest-grossing film of the year. It also landed Disney a special Academy Award in 1939. Ben Sherwood’s anecdote about Disney encouraged me to persevere on ideas, especially those that push against the organizational grain or are not the darlings of those who may not value certain aspects of my work.

Sherwood also shared “Nelson’s Touch.” Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) was the revered naval commander whose statue dominates London's Trafalgar Square. In 1805, the Royal Navy lined up against the combined forces of France and Spain. Sea battles were often fought in parallel lines, but Nelson “did something called the Nelson Touch; instead of attacking in parallel, he attacked perpendicular. And he destroyed the Spanish-French fleet. . . . The lesson: "You cannot fight the fight in the traditional way." Sherwood’s focus on “Nelson’s Touch” coincided with Groeschel’s “Think inside the box,” in that both urged approaching problems in non-traditional ways. Fight challenge and crisis with creativity. The best ideas win!

6. The #1 trend that shapes generations

Jason Dorsey, the President of the Center for Generational Kinetics (CGK), delivered an informative and entertaining address on generational differences. The leader of the research-driven CGK noted the top two trends that shape generations: #1 Parents; #2 Technology. Obviously, implications for parenting abound. It was Dorsey’s Key Action Steps for interacting with millennials that I want to implement:

  1. Provide a specific example of the the performance you expect, because language varies among generations. Example: “Business casual.” It’s not enough to say it, leaders must provide a visual example so both generations fully grasp the intended meaning.

  2. Millennials and Gen Z are not linear thinkers. They are outcome oriented. When communicating with them, start with the end/conclusion and work backward.

  3. Give “quick-hit feedback.” Millennials don’t need a trophy or a reward, but they do need immediate, personal (no voicemails) feedback.

7. CEO = CRO

The leader is the Chief Reminding Officer. I needed that. We are beginning year four of a five-year plan at Spanish River Church. People may tire of hearing the same message as to our vision, but it’s my job to ensure that they “get it” and that we “get there.”

Patrick Lencioni also gave us the outline of his forthcoming book, The Motive: Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities. Bucking conventional wisdom, Pat said, “I think a lot fewer people should become a leader — unless they have their ‘WHY’ in the right place. If your ‘Why?’ is off, none of your how’s will matter.” Here are Pat’s five Leadership Sins of Omission:

  1. Having difficult conversations.

  2. Managing their direct reports, i.e. working and coaching with them to align to the vision.

  3. Running great meetings.

  4. Team building.

  5. Failing to over-communicate.
    Alan Mulally, former CEO of Ford, said: “My job is to keep people focused.”

8. The most important aspect of negotiation:

Former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss said, “Hearing the other side out” is the most important part of negotiation. Chris added: “Connect with the other side. Go silent and let the other person go on. Turn the negotiation into a collaboration.” He urged “tactical empathy” and the importance of using “How?” questions. His quickest hack to avoid fear that arrives with the negotiation is genuine curiosity.

9. Practice VIP Leadership

Dr. Krish Kandiah, Founder of Home for Good, provided the helpful acronym V.I.P. (Vision, Inclusion, and Proximity). What stood out to me was his emphasis on inclusion. He said, “The opposite of prejudice is hospitality.” That focus tied well to Bozoma Saint John’s distinction between inviting someone to the party or asking them to dance. Looking at my life, I can definitely improve when it comes to “asking others to dance.” How? By sharing more meals, more side-by-side collaboration, and more intentionally seeking out those whose ethnicity/culture are different from mine.

10. Earn the right to be followed every single day

“Trust,” said Todd Henry, “is a lot less like a bank account, and a lot more like a water balloon.” Loss of trust occurs through the little (mostly) self-inflicted pricks to our leadership that drain our effectiveness. To instill stability, leaders need to earn the right to be followed every single day. Trust is the currency (or water) of creative teams. Trust grows as the leader grows. Henry said, “Your team ought to be drinking from the fountain of your well.” That can only happen as we “commune with great minds,” i.e. engage as life-long learners. Creative people need stability, clarity, and challenge.

A Few Quotes That Really Hit Home:

  • "Disruption isn't a threat. It's an invitation." Danielle Strickland

  • “There is no improving the future without disturbing the present." Catherine Booth

  • “No discipline. No destiny.” DeVon Franklin

  • “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'” Muhammad Ali

  • “The fastest way to change someone’s mind is to connect with their heart.” Craig Groeschel

  • “Communication: Share stories purposefully, because stories stick, but facts fade.” Craig Groeschel

  • “We may impress people with our strengths, but we connect through our weaknesses.” Craig Groeschel

  • “Always a little further.” Unspoken British Special Forces Motto (shared by Bear Grylls)

  • “Life rewards the dogged.” Bear Grylls

  • “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” Jonathan Swift

  • “You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Jack London

  • “Commune with great minds.” Todd Henry

  • “Don’t abandon vision with delay.” Aja Brown

  • “Collaboration is your force multiplier.” Aja Brown

  • “You can learn a lot by rejection.” Jia Jiang
    Jiang shared how J. K. Rowling was rejected by twelve publishers before the thirteenth gave it to his grand daughter, who could not put it down.

The one Summit speaker I would like to sit down with for an hour:

Aja Brown. Aga was 31 when she won her first mayoral race for the City of Compton. She has done a remarkable job in a city beset by a multitude of challenges. She easily won a second term. This woman is sharp! Click here for an article and brief video that highlights her achievements.

Summit Books I’ve read, am reading, or are in the queue to read:

  1. In the queue: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. Bozoma Saint John noted this was her all-time favorite novel. The Guardian has it as the 89th greatest work on their Top 100 Novels.

  2. In the queue: Beginner’s Pluck by Liz Bohannon. Liz is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Sseko Designs, a socially conscious fashion brand. She was a stellar communicator.

  3. Read: The Truth About Men: What Men and Women Need To Know by DeVon Franklin. I recently finished this book by Summit speaker, DeVon Franklin. Visit On My Walk for my upcoming book review.

  4. In the queue: Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss. Paula Faris interviewed the Former FBI hostage negotiator and now CEO & Founder of The Black Swan Group.

  5. Reading: Die Empty: Unleashing Your Best Work Everyday by Todd Henry. In queue: Herding Tigers: Be The Leader That Creative People Need.

  6. Reading: Mud, Sweat, and Tears: A Survival Guide For Life by Bear Grylls.

Click here if you would like to find out more about the 2020 Global Leadership Summit.


  • Did something called the Nelson Touch . . .” from “Disney/ABC TV's Ben Sherwood on a 'Star Wars' Series, "Mistakes" in Michael Strahan's 'Live' Exit and Bob Iger's Future” by Marisa Guthrie. 09/14/2016 Accessed 08/13/19.