Leadership / Maxwell Ideas

Chick-fil-A Leadercast Part 2 — Leading with our Choices

Last week we talked about some insightful and inspiring people: Andy Stanley, Urban Meyer, Tim Tebow, Soledad O’Brien, and Dr. Roland Fryer. They talked about passion and responsibility–using your passion and taking responsibility as choices. This week we’ll wrap up with some great business practical application.

The Speakers

Marcus Buckingham (author and founder of The Marcus Buckingham Company) discussed how a leader’s most valuable asset is his/her authenticity. No, he was not offering any New Age perscription. His point is that there are many dimensions to leadership and to try to be somebody other than you are makes it very difficult to establish/maintain credibility with those you wish to influence. He discussed how our natural style affects how we communicate. If we don’t understand and embrace our natural style, it can be a liability to us. A great example he used was how an attempt to institutionalize a technique a Best Buy store general manager used to move his store from bottom of the pack to one of the primier stores in the nation led to lots of problems and chaos for others because the technique was rooted in his personality. Discovering how we lead and doing so on purpose will hellp us be more effective in all situations.

Angela Ahrendts (CEO of Burberry) gave a great talk about the evolution of the Burberry culture she initiated that has propelled this traditional English brand into a true global brand while remaining true to its principles and English identity. She talked about creating genuine trust and community within the organization and how to tackle that age-old generational challenge, where youthful enthusiasm and ideas can be harnessed in an authentic way while leveraging the skill and savvy developed by the older generation of employees. Being truly committed to the mantra “Protect, Explore, Inspire” Ahrendts developed a systematic way of getting great ideas from the younger generation and charging the older generation to use their skills to make these ideas work in the real world. She also empowered people all levels, operating from the perspective “what is best for Burberry?” to take risks and do great things to enhance the Burberry community of customers, employees, and trading partners. The result has been tremendous growth over the past six years — even during a global economic crisis.

Dr. Sheena Iyengar (Professor and author of The Art of Choosing) talked about how we percieve choice in our lives, and how environmental factors and experiences affect it. At first, I didn’t realize that Dr. Iyengar was blind, which really put an interesting perspective on choices. She shared an interesting study about kindergardeners attitudes about choices they could make or that they believed were made for them, demonstrating that Asian children are much more influenced what trusted people, such as their mothers, think about possible choices than Angelo children. In another study, she discovered that CEOs often deal with over 100 choices a week, spending an average of 9 minutes to decide among an average of 5 choices. Only 5% of their decisions involve more than an hour of thought. This is not to say that they are reckless or that taking more time to choose is bad, since it reflects their accumulated knowledge and experience. The point is that the more decisions you have to make, the easier it is to make them.

Of course, John Maxwell had a speaking slot. He shared with us three of the laws from his upcoming book, The 15 Laws of Personal Growth. He shared with us The Law of Intentionality (Growth doesn’t just happen — it happens on purpose); The Law of Awareness (We must know ourselves to grow ourselves); and the Law of Environment (Growth thrives in conducive environments). Listening to the other speakers throughout the day, you could clearly see the application of these laws in the words of others.

Patrick Lencioni (author and President of The Table Group, Inc.) discussed the principle that the single greatest single opportunity for improvement and competitive advantage comes from creating what he calls “organizationally healthy” teams. He asks the question, if everybody in business has great marketing, research and development, well developed strategies, etc., why aren’t more of them hugely successful? It has to do with creating the right climate of trust within the leadership team and then providing clarity of the organization’s mission to the larger team. His offered model drove home the point that once trust within the leadership team is established, continously sharing and reinforcing the clarity of the mission is the key to success in any enterprise.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, there was lots of great meat… and that didn’t include the short interviews and other elements of the agenda.

But Leadercast isn’t just about great speakers, it is also about networking with great people. Our Fredericksburg venue was sponsored by SimVentions, a local information technology company, and hosted at Fairview at River Club Church. We sat at tables and interacted with some great people and had some local color as well.

As each break was taken on the Leadercast, my friend, co-founder of SimVentions, and fellow John Maxwell Team Coach Paul Gustavson would lead us through an excercise capturing the A-C-Ts –Apply/Change/Teach–we were gleaning from each session. (You can read about A-C-Ting in this blog post.) There was lots to take in and Paul helped everyone realize just how much we’d gained that day.

Chick-fil-A Leadercast is a great way to gain ideas and insights that you can put to immediate use. It is also a super networking opportunity. Remember to save May 10, 2013 and join me and over 125,000 leaders as we take a journey together in leadership!


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