World Leaders Conference Recap (Day 2)


Better late than never! At least I hope  you are feeling that way. Here is a portion of my recap from Day 2 of the World Leaders Conference. The focus of the WLC for 2014 was "Traits of a Servant Leader."

Adam Grant: Servant Leaders Are Givers

Dr. Grant is the youngest full professor and top-rated teacher at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the author of Give and Take, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best Seller. His talk was fascinating. I wrote feverishly the entire time.

Key Points:

  1. Definitions: Giver, taker, and matcher are terms Grant employs to identify styles of reciprocity, or how we interact with others.
  2. Takers serve their own ends while carefully guarding their own expertise and time.
  3. Givers enjoy helping others and do so with no strings attached.
  4. Matchers live life quid pro quo (something given for something received).
  5. The fear: "If I'm a giver, I'll be exploited." People who do fear this settle for being a Matcher (quid pro quo). In their minds life is a great balance sheet.
  6. Question #1: Which style is least effective? Interestingly, when Grant surveyed engineers, medical students and sales representatives, Givers were the poorest performers. Example: The sales person cares so much about his/her customers that he/she won't sell them a crappy product.
  7. Observation: Despite being the poorest performers, Givers added the most value to the organization. Example #1: As a group, they help drive profits better than Takers and Matchers. Why? They share knowledge. Example #2: They account for better employee retention.
  8. Question #2: Who are the best performers? Grant's research indicated that Takers rise & fall. Matchers, believing "an eye for an eye," punish the heck out of Takers. Givers (the engineers, medical students, sales professionals surveyed) bring in the best results and also finish as the top performers. Givers may start behind, but then they move ahead. Why? Because in collaborative roles they thrive. In the long-term, Grant's research shows that giving pays off. Implication: Giving brings the long-term payoff, not the reward in the 100 yard dash.
  9. Illustration: Grant highlighted Kat Cole who went from Hooters girl to CEO of Cinnabon at 32. Givers get ahead because in the long-term it comes back to them.

Creating a culture of successful givers:

  1. Selection: Get the right people on the bus.
  2. A Taker has 2 1/2 times the negative impact of a Giver so you must weed Takers off the team. How? Screen out Takers in three ways: (1) Personalities and references - Watch out who you trust. Takers kiss up and push down. Note: There is no correlation between agreeable & disagreeable people and Givers and Takers. It is the difference between the outer veneer (agreeable/disagreeable) and the inner motivation (Giver/Taker). (2) Watch behavior at interview: Takes use "I" & "Me," Givers use "Us" and "We." (3) Ask about situations at interviews: Don't ask people what they would do, but what they have done. Ask them what other people would do in a given situation. People extrapolate from their own experience & behavior and apply it to what they think others would do.
  3. Redefine Giving: Help people understand what giving is.
  4. Adam Rifkin is the #1 connected person on LinkedIn. He said, "In the end only kindness matters." The way you build your network is by helping others. The mistake we make when it comes to this is that we think we need to be Gandhi or Mother Teresa. Not so. Grant highlighted a practice called, "The 5-Minute Favor." Giving can be as simple as taking five minutes to make an introduction for someone else." That is what Rifkin has done. He has made three introductions everyday for the last twelve years.
  5. Encourage Help-Seeking: Help other people ask for help.
  6. 75%-90% of helping starts with a request, yet people hesitate to ask. Make the BIG ASK. The biggest difference between successful and failed Givers is a failure to ask. Do not take all the helping on yourself. Remember The Reciprocity Ring.

For more on Givers and Takers visit You can also read the post, "Are You A Giver, A Taker, or A Matcher?".

Wayne Huizenga, Jr: Servant Leaders Are Ethical

Wayne Huizenga, Jr. is the President of Huizenga Holdings, Inc. He became a follower of Jesus 13 years ago. Here are highlights from his interview with James Davis.

  • "I've been raised up to be a minister in business."
  • "It's easy to have ethics when there's no pain involved."
  • Why don't leaders take the path to restore fallen leaders? It is difficult to teach and people are overloaded.
  • He came to the place of asking: "How do I become a miner of individual talents? What is that raw hidden talent others don't see and how can I help draw it out?"
  • "I hear the Holy Spirit, most of the time it sounds like my bride's voice."
  • Fight the instinct to defend yourself. Go back to the person who addressed you on the issue and check in with them.
  • He shared a powerful moment of conversation with Eduardo, a man who was working on his house, that brought Huizenga to the place where he realized it wasn't all about the money and prestige. Eduardo used two quarters and put them very close to Wayne's eyes and Wayne said, "All I can see is the money." It was an ah-ha moment.
  • About the future: His greatest concern is for our nation. He sees a lack of leadership and wants to help create a dialog and get involved. For his part he joined the Board of Governors in the university system as a step of engagement.
  • He wants to see us return to the values that made our country great -- not proselytize, but move toward those values that shaped us as a nation.

Craig Groeschel: 3 Disciplines That Every Leader Must Master

Craig is the Senior Pastor for and provides leadership and guidance for the church as a whole. Following a vision God gave Craig for a different kind of church, he and a handful of people launched in 1996. At the WLC Craig spoke about running to win from 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Craig highlighted a few essential thoughts about discipline and then shared the three disciplines that every leader must master.

  • "The path to public success is always paved with private discipline." It is always the things other don't see that got you there -- the tough times/hard times.
  • We are what we repeatedly do.
  • What is discipline? "Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most."

1. Do first what matters most.

  • The barrier to a meaningful life is not commitment, but over commitment.
  • The urgent tends to overwhelm the important. If you are consistently frustrated you are likely doing too many things that you do not value.
  • The difference between the values you embrace and the life you live is the frustration you experience.
  • We all have time for what we choose to have time for. Craig said that he devotes time to his Sunday message at the very beginning of the week. He's no good to anyone until that is done.

2. Do what is right over what is easy.

  • Example: Jacob and Esau. Esau chose to trade his birthright for a bowl of stew. He focused on the immediacy of the moment over the long-term benefits of his birthright.
  • Effective leaders do what is right over what is easy -- every day. He attributed part of the success of LifeChurchtv to this.
  • Example: If a staff member is not performing well, the easy thing is to ignore it; the right thing is to address it. Great leaders do the right things behind the scenes. Rather than "sound off" through an email, the effective leader will sit down with the person to grow the relationship.
  • "I'm going to do what is right and trust God with the results." He said, "Obedience is my responsibility. Outcome is God's."

3. Do now what will lead to what you want most.

  • Decide one discipline you will do now FIRST.
  • "Christ in me is stronger than the wrong appetites in me."
  • "I have a secret weapon (the Holy Spirit) -- a power stronger than me."
  • It's the things that no one else sees that produces what everyone else wants."

Craig concluded with these two thoughts:

  • "When the organization plateaus the leader's capacity has been defined."
  • I have learned not to listen to myself, but to talk to myself.

Take time for your takeaways . . .

It's not enough to take the notes and review them. I have to identify my key takeaways and act on them. Here are a few of mine from these talks:

  1. Write about the spiritual implications of Adam Grant's research.
  2. Done. You can click here to read the post.
  3. Listening to Craig made me realize that I need to step-up my game in the leadership development department. Specifically, I need to clarify and improve our leadership development pipeline. Action: Set aside the afternoon of 4/3 to assess this.
  4. My key "first disciplines" are: 1. Early morning walks, 2. Creative work, i.e.. writing, 3. Quiet time in the Bible and prayer.
  5. There are a couple of communicators I want to listen to, to help me improve my communication. Action: Subscribe to their podcasts.