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Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

Summit: Session 3 Part 1


from Willow Creek Leadership Summit 2008: Session 3 Part 1, Bill George, Finding Your True North George quoted the following wonderful poem called Our Greatest Fear by Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, Our presence automatically liberates others. —Marianne Williamson [Often said to have been quoted in a speech by Nelson Mandela. The source is Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, Harper Collins, 1992. —Peter McLaughlin]

"Leadership is not money, fame, and power. Leadership is responsibility." --Peter Drucker

  • Give people the opportunity to stand up and lead.
  • People are looking for meaning and significance in their work.

4 Characteristics of 20th century leaders

  1. Align – people need to be aligned around the vision, not around you.

  2. Empower – followership is really about helping others to unleash their power, not follow you

  3. Serve – people are not here to serve leaders, but to serve others

  4. Collaborators – there are so many large problems in the world today, we need to collaborate with others to bring together the best talent to solve really difficult problems.

Bill really talked alot about being true to who you are, who God has made you, how he has gifted you.  What does it mean to be true to yourself? 


Important things good leaders know:

  1. The purpose of your leadership - "follow your compass, not your clock" (another leadership axiom)
  2. Gain self-awarness - Why are we afraid to let someone know who we really are?  Get feedback. (from parishioners, from staff)  What are your blindspots?  See yourself as others see you.  Go into a period of self-inspection.
  3. Be true to your values.
  4. Follow your motivating capabilities - what are your strengths, passions, what fuels you?  What are the intrinsic motivations?  Are you allowing those to come out?
  5. Build a support team around you - leadership is very lonely.  Have at least one person with whom you can share all things and be open and honest and get real feedback.
  6. Lead an integrated life - Be the same person in every environment.

"Everyone I've seen fail as a leader has not failed to lead others, they've failed to lead themselves."

"I learned a lot more working in a soup kitchen than I did working on the board of the United Way."

When Bill was speaking, a number of times I was thinking about a book that my Children's Ministries staff read together last year by Henry Cloud called Integrity: the courage to meet the demans of reality.  In that book, Cloud talks about what it's like "on the other side of me."  He encouraged his readers to ask friends, colleagues, and others who are in our lives (family, friends, co-workers) what it's like to be on the other side of us.  How do people experience us?  That is some good feedback, so long as you're ready to hear it and can accept honest feedback that might hurt. 

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