The Leadership Summit 2009

Aug 11, 2009

THIS is where I spent Thursday and Friday of last week. Not in Chicago, where the Leadership Summit was hosted (I love Chicago). But at a satellite location in the Denver, CO area. I am one of 120,000 people internationally who joined this year’s Leadership Summit, some in person and many more via satellite. And I loved it.

This is not a first for me … I grew up in Illinois and have long been familiar with Willow Creek and their Summit. However, this year’s line-up of speakers was fresh, and my heart is a new organ from when I last attended a couple years ago. All this means that my thought processes and vision were stretched and challenged and refreshed. And that’s a very, very good thing.

I can’t possibly encapsulate everything I learned, and I’m still processing. But I can provide you with a few highlights. A handful of my favorite quotes are below:

  • “The best thing you bring to the table of your organization every day is a filled up bucket & a heart that is right with God.” ~ Bill Hybels, Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church and author many, MANY times over.
  • “The longer you’re down in your trenches, the easier it is to mistake the edge of your rut for the horizon.” ~ Gary Hamel, Director, Management Innovation Lab; Visiting Professor, London Business School
  • “The main thing separating you from God is not your sin; it is your damnable reason for your good works.” ~ Tim Keller, author of The Prodigal God (I AM buying this book) and the bestselling The Reason For God, among others.
  • “The really hard thing is not inventing, but re-inventing yourself and bringing about change.” ~ Gary Hamel
  • RE: The Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 … “Both the older brother and younger brother are alienated from the Father’s heart. Both want his money. One does this by being very bad (irreligious) and the other does this by being very good (very religious).” ~ Tim Keller
  • “Success is a self-correcting phenomena.” ~ Gary Hamel (Cheese-whiz, this guy is GOOD!)
  • “Most leaders have the paralysis of analysis.” ~ Harvey Carey, Senior Pastor, Citadel of Faith Covenant Church, Detroit, MI
  • “I think we don’t see the breadth of God’s power because we don’t create a context for the fulfillment of his word.” ~ Harvey Carey

Any favorites?


  1. Susan

    I like Tom Keller’s comments about the prodigal son. Both sons are prodigal. It’s interesting the irreligious one woke up and smelled the coffee and came back to the father. The religious one – well, the parable leaves me wondering if he ever got reconciled in his heart to his father and brother.

    I recall Jesus saying of the tax collectors and prostitutes, that many of them would enter into the Kingdom of heaven while many of the very religious would not.

  2. Rhonda

    “Integrity is being truthful about what you need to do to get out of a difficult situation. ” ~ Andrew Rugasira of founder and CEO of Good African Coffee.

    “Don’t confuse motion with progress.” ~ David Gergen – Political Analyst and former White House Advisor

    “Know what is your irreducible core. That which you stand for; can’t yield on it; will stand by it and if necessary, fall by it.” ~ Tony Blair – former Prime Minister for the United Kingdom.

  3. Michele

    Susan, you highlighted the one truth that has stuck with me ever since last week … the fact that the reckless, foolish son finally discovered the Father’s heart, while the “perfect” one never seemed to get it.

  4. Michele

    R, loved the Tony Blair quote … that’s a powerful one.

  5. Ashleigh

    (ok sorry, totally blog stalking tonight, I wanted to catch up on all your posts) 🙂

    LOVED the Tony Blair quote. We all need to know what we stand for and what we won’t give in on.

    LOVED also what Tim Keller had to say about the Prodigal son, I never thought of the parable like that… and I took tons of notes on that one.

    The one I have to say I took the most notes on though, was the Eyewitness to Power with David Gergen. He contributed so much experience and through a laid back interview gave more information on leadership than my pen could keep up with. One of my fave quotes from him was “It’s easy to confuse motion with progress in leadership” (David Gergen) It is so easy to see all the work we do in leadership as progress towards the goal when so often it isn’t. It’s motions, but unless it’s all going toward your goal and contributing to the greater purpose, it’s not progress, it’s motion.

    Just some thoughts. 🙂


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