I had the good fortune to attend a watch party for the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit a few weeks ago. I’ve always enjoyed learning about leadership, especially because it often seems that the business world has such a jacked up view of what leadership should look like: Dress in power suits and power colors. Take charge. Take the floor. Put yourself in the spotlight. Micromanage your team to make sure the job gets done. Etc, etc, etc.
If you haven’t heard these “leadership” tips, then you’ve surely heard others.
That’s why I love learning from people who have different approaches to leadership. And yes, there are many different styles of effective leadership out there. Perhaps even a unique style for each individual leader.
And, as an aside, some leaders are starting to get onboard the countercultural leadership train. Seth Godin talks about “finding the right people, agreeing on where you want to go, and getting out of the way.” (Video) Brad Feld, author of Startup Communities: How to Build an Entrepreneur Ecosystem in your City talks about “give to get.”
Here’s a hodgepodge of great ideas and insights from the Global Leadership Summit:
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Conflict (William Ury)
- “The harder the problem, the softer you need to be on the person.” Listen, put yourself in the person’s shoes, and respect.
- Work together to come up with creative solutions that meet all parties’ needs.
- Ask the person “Why is that?” and ask them to help you understand their interests in the situation.
Great by Choice (Jim Collins)
Collins, author of Built to Last, Good to Great, and Great by Choice, talked about organizational health and planning for long-term success. He’s researched hundreds, if not thousands, of companies to find what influences lasting success. He describes his framework for what makes a great organizations in three parts:
- Fanatic Discipline: Collins says the most successful organizations in the long term are those that make consistent progress, no matter the conditions. He calls this concept the 20-mile march. Rain or snow or sunny weather, these organizations have the discipline not to run too far too fast in the good times and not to run too little too slowly during the bad times. “Chronic inconsistency is the signature of mediocrity,” he says.
- Empirical Creativity: The great organizations use little test cases to figure out what will work. They refine and refine until they can execute the big win and know that it will succeed. Collins says that in this way “discipline can amplify creativity.”
- Productive Paranoia: The great organizations are fanatic about being prepared. During the good times, they prepare for the bad. They’re never caught by surprise.