The Global Leadership Summit (GLS) of 2017 was more than just a conference; it was a life changing experience! An influential meeting for all leaders in different sections. Many got the opportunity to mingle with beings from distinct areas of leadership and such proximity was not undermined as it actually proffered connections for the future. Having attended the Summit for the first time I can confidently let out that I impatiently await next year’s summit. The two days were very uplifting. Each of the speakers effectively delivered that which they had to share.
Speakers for the first day were Bill Hybels, Sheryl Sandberg, Frederick Haren, Bryan Stevenson and Immaculee Ilibagiza. Bill Hybels highlighted the importance of morning reflection as he encouraged leaders to respect everyone and to get connected to God. He enlightened leaders on the aspect of humility, which builds up instead of destroying. His influential words, “everyone wins when a leader gets better” were indeed true. Next was Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and she explained how her life experiences led her to write a couple of anthologies. She highlighted the three things that keep us in grief and these are: personalization, pervasiveness and permanence. Her powerful words were, “What we see ourselves becoming is often what we will become, we can’t become what we can’t see.” Fredrik Haren, an author and Business Creativity Expert defined an idea as combining two things and forming one thing in them. He encouraged leaders to be creative as he gave a personal example of him joining his anthology with a notebook and how it became a best seller. His inspirational words were, “Put your money where your mouth is. Walk the talk.” Bryan Stevenson a Founder and Executive Director of Equal Justice Initiative expressed his ache for justice as he explained how leaders should get close to the group of people they will be serving so as to understand what is beyond. To him, staying hopeful is essential for effective leadership and leaders should be willing to do uncomfortable things.
He summarized it all in his words; “there is power in proximity.” The final speaker of the day was Immaculee Ilibagiza a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, advocate for peace and forgiveness as well as bestselling author. She effectively expressed the concept of forgiveness as she shared her tragic experience. She confirmed that God is real and love and forgiveness are good traits of leadership. She uttered, “Don’t compete with evil.” The second day was graced by Juliet Funt, Joni Eareckson Tada, Sam Adeyemi, Marcus Lemonis, Marcus Buckingham and Gary Haugen. Juliet Funt is the CEO of Whitespace at work and she highlighted the need for rest as well as excellence as she pointed out that the absence of thinking time on talented people is an actual disaster. Her advice was all wrapped up in the words, “Beware of the lollipop of mediocrity. Lick it up and you will suck it forever.” Joni Eareckson Tada is the Founder and CEO of Joni and Friends International Disability Centre. She voiced that the accident that changed her life at the age of seventeen leaving her in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic left her with a low self -esteem as she never believed that she could become a leader. She encouraged leaders to be quick to admit their need for God through realizing their weaknesses. Her words were, “God calls the unqualified.” Sam Adeyemi, the founder and senior pastor of Daystar Christian Centre in Nigeria expressed that leadership is the ability to make people who they have never been before. He also depicted that the choice of being great or otherwise is all in the mind-set. His words, “In leadership you don’t attract who you want. You attract who you are” were accompanied by the question, “If a group of robbers were selected to elect a leader, would they elect a policeman?” Marcus Lemonis is a star of CNB’s The Profit and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam. As he let out that business is vulnerability and success is determined by the level of vulnerability, he encouraged leaders to establish connections. He left leaders with these points to ponder, “What is your purpose? What is your role in that purpose?” Marcus Buckingham, a best-selling author and Founder of the Marcus Buckingham Company let out that excellence has its own configuration and pattern. One has to study so as to know it. He went on to say that as a leader, one should be concerned about creating more teams like best teams as he explained on Purpose, Excellence, Support and Future. He said that the purpose of work was to, “Discover that which you love.” The final speaker was Gary Haugen, Founder and CEO of International Justice Mission. To him, leadership begins with a dream. He brought to light that fear is the silent destroyer of dreams. He encouraged that leaders should arrange their lives, switch from playing defence to playing offense and forge communities of courage around them if they really want their dreams to be pursued. He went on to say that one should lead without fear for the Glory of God but then again, “courage, just like fear is contagious.”
Many of these speakers reached to the emotions of listeners. Discussions were effectively conducted, as attendants were able to bring in their opinions to the ground. It was indeed more than just a summit. It was a time of self- introspection with so many aspects to change in the lives of leaders. Many were agitated to fearlessly bring change to the leadership arena with forgiveness and humility, as it is true that God qualifies the unqualified. It reached to the spiritual man inside as it operated in the boarders of Christianity as well. I can assertively let out with no sign of doubt that every single attendant was renewed, encouraged and changed.
by Sharon Mtetwa