Next Steps - Leadership SummitAfter attending Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit last week, the question in my mind is: What happens next? Attending leadership summits to gain insights and take your thinking and actions to new levels is essential. Of course, what you do after a leadership summit is even more vital.

Do the words just ring in your head, but never reach your soul and hands for action?

Do the words which gave you a shiver when they were spoken but just fade quickly into a stale puddle of inaction?

It is our choice in what we do afterwards.

The Global Leadership Summit is one of the best. It delivers an excellent cross-section of food for your spirit, mind, and actions. It is a nourishing mix of personal, professional, and spiritual challenges and, in our life, all three are required to come together in some consistent fashion to produce real meaning across our life’s spectrum.

So, what am I going to do with what I heard and experienced?

Sorting through the two-days, my thoughts are divided into two groups: Leadership and Beliefs. Here are some of my thoughts and challenges for next steps – not only for me, but maybe for others to consider as well.


  • Make the critical decisions. Bill Hybels presents leadership principles simply and strongly. There are two take-aways. First, there is a concept of talent elasticity. As your organization grows and challenges increase, do your people grow? You need to determine where your people do their best work and address them when they are not advancing with your mission. Second, when is the last time you examined your core? Is there clarity across the organization’s core? We need to spend the time to outline the five key areas that define who we are, organizationally, in our market or niche in the world.
  • Need to take a stand to move things forward. Cory Booker had a simple message – “Do something.” People are trying to “seduce you into mediocrity.” Don’t let it happen. Do something.
  • Take a globally-connected view. We are connected beyond our state and national boundaries. We need to respond, sometimes, with this connected view to help others. There are “catalytic moments” happening. Are you ready? Don’t walk by them, pick them up, and do something with them. (Rev. Brenda Salter McNeil)
  • Stop bowling. People are not going to come to watch you bowl. Don’t do the ordinary. Do the extraordinary. Don’t wait to get picked. Pick yourself and do. You have the tools at your fingertips. (Seth Godin)
  • Be ready for the tough callings. Most of us have it easy. We have our challenges, but we have reasonable missions, decent surroundings. Are you willing to have your heart broken often? Are you ready to fix the problem? Are you ready to continue a cycle of broken heart / fix the problem? These are tough callings. How would you answer it?
  • Keep focus on the right priority. Michelle Rhee does an incredible job of aligning the work to the critical mission at hand. As DC school chancellor, she kept the focus on the kids in trying to fix the schools. Having the capability to boil a mission down to what really matters is a fundamental ability. It is a skill we need to focus on and develop.
  • Manage to the three types of people – wise, foolish, evil. We make things too complex. In working with people, it can be simplified to three types – wise, foolish, and evil. With the people we work with, we need to thank the wise; set consequences for the foolish; and reject the evil. Recognizing each, dealing with each – a leadership requirement. (Henry Cloud)
  • Be humble to inspire. Humility is an essential leadership trait. Humble leaders inspire others to do more, go further. It is a servant leadership attitude. Embrace it. (John Dickson)
  • Get naked, being real and admitting mistakes. It is similar to humility, but it adds vulnerability. As leaders, there are times to admit when we make mistakes. It sets a standard of responsibility and accountability, as well as humility. It eliminates a fear of asking the “dumb” questions and honors the work that needs to be done. (Patrick Lencioni)


  • Listen and act. Simple words and actions can inspire change. Faith is enlivened through our actions. People always see us, define us by what we do or don’t do. Do the best works you can always do. As Momma Maggie Gobran said, “Silence your body to listen to your words. Silence your tongue to listen to your thoughts. Silence your thoughts to listen to your heart beating. Silence your heart to listen to your spirit. Silence your spirit to listen to His spirit.”
  • Enliven your Spirit inside. We all have a story to tell and a spirit to inspire. We need to unlock it through our faith. Our faith can set free the spirit in us to create. Taking the view that “there is nothing new under the sun” is a self-defeating prophecy. When we are spiritually aligned, we create. We do. We make and do new things. (Erwin McManus)
  • Dig ditches. There is a theme, especially to the first day, and it is take action. This one is no different. At times, the progress isn’t immediately noticeable, but we need to continue the work, continue digging the ditches. The rain will come, and we will be refreshed. Our work will count. It is a key part of faith, and it is God-inspired. (Steven Furtick)

Many thoughts. Now, what to do?

How do you take what you have learned and apply it after leadership training? What are your suggestions?

Global Leadership Summit Resources: