Chick-fil-A Leadercast: Part 3

Chick-fil-A Leadercast Conference 2010

Speaker #1: Connie Podesta

Speaker #2: Jim Collins

Speaker #3: Tony Dungy

Speaker #4: Mark Sanborn

I have been sharing some of the wonderful nuggets that I received at the Chick-fil-A Leadercast Conference 2010.  I hope you have enjoyed it so far.  This is a great way for me to process my notes and share what I learned.  For this post, I am going to cover two speakers and try to be very brief…enjoy!

Speaker #3: Tony Dungy – Retired head coach for the Indianapolis Colts & Author

A lot of what Mr. Dungy said can be read about in more detail in one of his books; Quiet Strength and Uncommon.  I have read both books and would recommend them, especially to young men.  For the sake of brevity, I would like to share the one thing that Mr. Dungy said that was, for me, the biggest “takeaway” lesson of the whole conference.  It is a poem that one of his  coaches taught him as a young player.

Talent is God-given, be thankful.
Praise is man-given, be humble.
Conceit is self-given, be careful.

My guess would be that we all need to hear one of those three lines about 90% of the time.  Powerful.  Truth.

Speaker #4: Mark Sanborn – Best-selling author of The Fred Factor.

Mr. Sanborn spoke to us about the power and importance of “story” in our lives.  Our lives are full of story and we cannot afford to be passive actors in the story of our life.  We need to understand other’s story.  We need to learn the story of our teams, and understand that leaders don’t just tell a better story, they make the story better!

There are  3 Levels of Story:

1. Stuck – Many people are stuck in their story and they need someone or something to give them a nudge.  They need to be resold on their value and the value of their story.

2. Struggle –  Struggling with your story is not necessarily a bad place to be.  Struggling is how you get unstuck.  Afterall, there would be no heroes, no victors,  if there were no struggles.  People who are at this stage need to be reminded that no one is exempt from struggling.  They may need to have their definition of failure updated as well.   Failure is something that happens to you, not something that defines who you are.

3. Shaped – At this stage we must look for the lesson and the destination.  Ask yourself, “How does my story impact others?”  I may add, “How does my story impact eternity?”

Be a shaper of stories.  How many “Happily Ever Afters” will you be a part of?

Chick-fil-A Leadercast: Part 2

Chick-fil-A Leadercast Conference 2010

Part 1: Connie Podesta

Part 2: Jim Collins

 This is part two of my series of “Takeaways” from the Chick-fil-A Leadercast Conference 2010.  I was so blessed to be able to attend this year.  Here are a few nuggets from the conference’s second speaker.  This post is a little long, but the lessons are very powerful.   I encourage you to read the entire post.

Speaker #2: Jim Collins – Business & Leadership Guru.  Author of Good to Great, How the Mighty Fall, and coauthor of Built to Last.

Jim Collins spoke to us about the lessons that he has learned from studying failure.  Many leadership and business books focus on success but, “the contrast between success and failure always teaches us more than just studying success.”  When you contrast two companies (or individuals) with similar circumstance but different outcomes, you learn a great deal about the importance of choices and character.  We learn that we are not imprisoned by our circumstances, we are freed by our choices!

Collins found that the stages of failure are very similar to the stages of cancer (This speech was taken from Collin’s book, How the Mighty Fall).  The one major difference; cancer is not self-inflicted, failure is.  The five stages of failure are as follows:

1.  Hubris (Outrageous Arrogance) Born of Success – In other words, there is a serious lack of humility.  The difference between a good company and a great company is not leadership; both have great leadership.  The difference is the type of leadership.  Great companies have a leader marked by humility (this is different from weakness).  These leaders are not self-consumed; their concern is for the team.  A company or an individual who does not display this quality is in the first step of decline.

2.  Undisciplined Pursuit of More – A little taste of success results in an unquenchable thirst for more which often leads to overreaching.  It is possible to grow too fast, to take on more that you can handle.  How do you tell if your growth is disciplined?  By following Packard’s Law:  if growth exceed you ability to fill all your key positions with the right people you have went too far.  Why is this?  Because it all starts with having the right people.  Many times in this stage, a lot of growth in a short period of time causes companies to hire people who aren’t really the best fit for the job.  As a result, everything looks good on the outside, but cancer is spreading on the inside!

3.  Denial of Risk and Peril – We have all been here before.  The facts are staring us in the face but we try to excuse them.  The key at this stage is to practice true leadership as defined by Napoleon (this is my favorite definition of leadership); define reality and give hope.

4.  Grasping for Salvation – This is the stage when the fall actually happens.  As the free fall begins, most companies reach out for help.  This may bring some temporary relief but in most cases it is only prolonging the fall.  The evidence of false hopes and undisciplined growth has now made its way to the surface and is visible to everyone.  Remember, most overnight successes took twenty years or more.

5.  Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death – There is not much to say about this final stage.  The End.

 We learn some very important lessons in leadership and growth by looking at this process of a fall.  We learn that we will make many changes but we must not abandon our values (truth).  As we grow and experience success we must preserve the core and at the same time stimulate progress.  Mr. Collins put it best when he married together two very famous speeches; “We hold these truths to be self-evident” goes with “I have a dream”.

My challenge to you, take a moment and consider what these lessons can teach the Church about growth.  Consider what these lessons can teach you as an Individual about growth.  Let’s not make the same mistakes as those who now lay in the graveyard of the once mighty.

Chick-fil-A Leadercast: Part 1

I had the awesome opportunity to take part in the Chik-fil-a Leadercast Conference 2010 this past Friday.  This ten-year-old conference is all about “developing leaders at all levels, positions, and stages.”  This year was my first opportunity to be a part of this great event but I do hope that  it is not my last.  Over the next couple of weeks, I want to share some of the “takeaways” for me on this blog.  I hope that something that challenged me at Leadercast 2010 will challenge you as well.

Speaker #1: Connie Podesta – Expert in the psychology of human behavior and leadership development.

Ms. Podesta challenged us to ask ourselves two questions; (1) Are you proud of the professional choices that you are making right now? (2) Are you proud of the personal choices that you are making right now?

She went on to make the case that there is no separating the personal life from the professional life.  The choices that we make in our personal life have a great impact on our professional life.  As a matter of fact, the choices that you make from the time you “clock out” until the time that you “clock back in” may have more to do with your success than the time that you are “on the clock.”

I was so glad to hear her talk about the importance of being the same person in the workplace that you are in your personal life.  This is something we all struggle with (if we will be honest).  We live in the age of political correctness.  PC gags and handcuffs the Christian in the workplace.  This should not be!  We will never be proud of both our professional and personal choices if they are not guided by the same truths, values, and principles.

Other Takeaways:

Stop trying to make people happy.  There is not a person in  your life that you can make happy!!!  (They need Jesus for that.)

Happiness will come when we (1) are respectful (2) work hard and (3) serve others. 

Happiness is result of doing right things, making right choices, and serving others!

Character is revealed when what you had planned is so far from your current reality that you can hardly breath, this is when you are revealed for who you truly are at the core.