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Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

David Gergen: Eyewitness to Power #tls09


These are some of my notes from the sixh session of the Willow Creek Leadership Summit.

  • Each of us has our own journey and path to and in leadership.
  • A teacher of leadership cannot teach a leader.   You can, however, introduce people to models and make them aware of leadership principles.
  • Can you create a culture in an organization in which people are encouraged to behave certain ways towards each other and aspire to serve and to lead one another.
  • Be a "reflective practitioner."  Where you really learn leadership is by doing it in the arena by leading, but then also by reflecting on the practice.  What did I do wrong?  What did I do right?  What have I learned?
  • "Not every reader is a leader, but every leader is a reader."  --Harry S. Truman
  • It's like Jacob wrestling... you have to be willing to wrestle.
  • Don't confuse motion with progress.
Bill Hybels:  What was the most admirable quality of each of the 4 Presidents you served?
  • Nixon:  The best strategist I've ever met... he could see how history was about to unfold and would seek to bend history..."  "Someone who can look further back can look further ahead."  --Churchill
  • Ford:  "The most decent president I've ever worked for."
  • Reagan: "The best leader in the White House since Franklin Roosevelt... he was a principled man... he had a contagious optimism about life."
  • Clinton:  "Resilience... he was always willing to get back up."  "Very, very bright guy with an extremly quick, tactical mind."
"Sometimes the right hand does not know what the far right hand is doing."  --Ronald Reagan
Bill Hybels:  Without saying nasty things, you saw weaknesses in all these men.
  • Nixon:  "I was really glad I read Machiavelli before I worked for Nixon... There is a very dark side in here, too... he had these demons he couldn't control and they eventually took him down.  He was the author of his own demise."
  • Ford: "Sometimes he was a bit naive."
  • Reagan:  "Probably his detachment... Reagan would sometimes let others put their hands on the wheel."
  • Clinton: "Nixon had fundamental character issues that came back to haunt him, and Clinton had cracks in his character, too."
Bill Hybels: Great leaders carry with them great flaws.  Do you agree that general theory is true?
  • Not all great leaders are flawed.
  • All of us are flawed; the process of growing to maturity is trying to come to grips with the flaws.  "Coming to grips with the dark-side."  You have to be aware enough of your flaws that you don't hurt other people.

"The year of the The greatest leaders today are those who have great teams." --Warren Bennis

"If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together." --

Bill Hybels:  Talk to us aobut the "symbolism" in leadership

  • Leadership is working with others to achieve shared goals.  It involves persuasion, trust, and communication.
  • Clothing of Ghandi (to demonstrate simplicity) and Churchill (to demonstrate optimism) and Mandela (to demonstrate servant leadership).
"Speeches take place within a context never a vaccum.  Listeners bring to the occassion not only their dreams and aspirations, but a range of questions about the speaker.  Who is he down deep?  What does he really stand for?  Does he speak with authority?  Does he care about people like me? Can I place my faith and trust in him?"
Aristotle:  Good speeches have the following three components
  • Ethos - believability of the speaker
  • Logos - do yo uhave a compelling logic
  • Pathos - emotions
If you're speaking to a group who doesn't know you, your introduction needs to connect you to them so that they can open themselves up to the reasoned part of your speech (logos).  What people want at the end of the day is a call for action or something that appeals ot the emotions.
  • When Cicero spoke, people said, "Come let us think."
  • When Demosthenes spoke, people said, "Come, let us march!
Bill Hybels: Talk about the personal habits of leaders.
  • What's important to me is the self-discipline so that you have more to give as a person.
  • People who allow their bodies to go flabby allow their minds to flabby as well.
  • Building time into your day to reflect.
  • Building time into the day to be with people you cherish and who cherish you.
Bill Hybels:  As an educated parishioner going into church, what are you hoping is going to happen?
  • A place to find inner peace, to step back into something larger that gives you a sense of well-being and that this is not about you.
  • I'd like to learn something.
  • To find a moral compass, a moral "north," an anchor for the soul and for your leadership.

"Bill Clinton was a man who had a 360 degree view of the world, but often times lacked a moral compass."

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