August 24, 2012


Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the CATALYST : ONE DAY Leadership conference, where proclaimed authors/pastors Craig Groeschel & Andy Stanley spoke on various elements of practical, effective, and healthy leadership. There was so much good insight and inspiration, I couldn't share all of it here, but I have tried to break down the day into some simple points. This is helpful for me to not only process what was shared, but to also hopefully RETAIN what was learned. For more info on Catalyst and their conferences, please visit their website.

"Healthy cultures never happen by accident. They are created. The number one force that shapes your culture is your values." —Craig Groeschel 
This idea kicked off the morning, and really got me thinking "What are my values? Do my actions line up with what I say that I value?" Whether we recognize it or not, our values directly influence our decisions and movement. If you don't know your values/your organization's values, it is hard to truly understand where you are going and what you are doing within an organization, relationship, etc. 
 "The message of mutual submission: I'm here to facilitate your success regardless of where either of us shows up on an organizational chart." —Andy Stanley
I thought of this as the quintessential 'help me help you help me'. Followers will devote themselves to a leader who shows them "Hey, you are a priority, you matter." This can be a powerful way to bring quality to your culture. Inspire those around you by serving them to the best of your ability. Ask them "What can I do to help you?" —show them that being a leader does not mean you just get to be at the front of the line, but that as a leader, you have an increased responsibility to care for the whole of the group. Leading this way, by example, will cause people to work for one another within an organization, rather than just working for themselves or for the "boss."
"Every physical environment communicates something. There is no such thing as a neutral environment...Is your context appealing? Is the presentation engaging? Is the content helpful?" —Andy Stanley
This session was the one I found most interesting. It was not the most applicable for me, but it definitely made me think. As a designer, I am someone that appreciates the aesthetic and values the presentation. From the paint color on the walls, to the lighting in the room, to the sound of speaker's voice and what he is saying: everything around me is influencing my experience. Sometimes this seems controversial to me, to care about such things in a place like Church where the idea is to live "in" the world but not "of" it. It is hard to find the line between valuing these things, and worshipping them, but I think Andy's point was to say that either way these things cannot be ignored. A perfect and relevant example of this would be websites —the design of a website could make or break someone seeking out churches through the internet. There must be purpose and intention behind every aspect of your culture, including the environment, presentation and content. Otherwise it will not appeal to your audience, they will not be engaged, and in the end it will have been of no help to them. Of course there are endless ways of going about this, no right or wrong necessarily. But it will always matter, for the better or the worse.
"We as leaders have a limitless capacity for self-deception. The leader's lack of self-awareness is the leader's greatest barrier. The problems you don't know about are the problems you can't fix." —Craig Groeschel
During this session Craig opened up and shared about instances where his pride had created blind spots within his leadership, and in turn it hurt those he was leading. When they would address him about such things, he ignored their criticisms, and denied what he couldn't see but what everyone else around him was seeing. A lot of hardship and frustration in leadership can be avoided if we can be willing to humble ourselves and allow others to help show us how to be better; iron sharpening iron, in a sense. Good leaders are not afraid to listen to those around them. In fact, these are the very people they are supposed to be leading.
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These thoughts just touch the surface of all that Craig and Andy spoke about on Thursday, and to attempt to cover it all would never do them justice. But these are some of the major points that I came away with, and I'm looking forward to seeing how these ideas will affect me in the way that I follow and lead throughout my life.

: Justin

*NOTE: All photographs used with the designs are used for the purpose of creative sharing and reflection on this blog, and are not property of © theJEDDY . Images can be found here: one two three four five

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