2016 Global Leadership Summit Highlights

 John Ruh  Professional Development

By John Ruh and Todd Stukenberg


The 2016 Global Leadership Summit was a worldwide event (128 countries) viewed by more than 300,000 people either live or by satellite.  It was an outstanding occasion featuring an abundance of superior speakers.  Here is our 2016 summary.

Key Speaker Overview/Key Takeaways

Bill Hybels (founder of Willow Creek Community Church, the organizer of the summit)

  1. Everyone wins when leaders get better. Leaders help others get from here to there.
  2. The highest value of the Summit (held annually internationally) is to learn humility
  3. Used eye glasses as a metaphor. Hybels called them the “lenses of leadership”
    • “Red Glasses”-Passionate leaders. They inspire the human spirit one person at a time
    • “Shattered lenses”- A culture that is fear based
    • “Self-adjusting lenses”-Leadership where you stop, review and adjust based on people and conditions
    • “Rear view lenses”-Managing and leading by looking backwards. We know this is very self-limiting. New breakthroughs are not possible with this type of thinking


A brilliant use of glasses as symbols on lenses of leadership presented in a way where I think any leader can relate.  Hybels generalized here, but captured different approaches to leadership that are commonly recognized.  One of the thoughts conveyed was to “change glasses” depending on the situation, though fear based and backward looking styles have many limitations.

Alan Mulally (Former Pres/CEO of The Ford Motor Company, 2006-14)


Another superior presentation by Alan who led the complete turnaround of Ford (without government money). His presentation was down to earth and showed the power of transparency in leadership. He broke his presentation down into three slides that summarized how he has led both Ford and Boeing.

Slide 1. People first.

Include everyone.  Mulally suggested that this includes stakeholders outside of the direct team, including suppliers, etc.  Create a compelling vision including your strategy/structure/support. Set clear performance goals and measure everything. Get honest, open feedback. He used Green, Yellow and Red lights for classifying manager’s updates.  This offers a simple and direct way for everyone to understand status and work on the items that need support.

Slide 2 Facts and Data.

Again ensure that everyone knows plans/status. Be positive/can do. Listen to and show respect for all people.

Slide 3. Emotional Resilience.

By this he means we need to show up well, trust the process, have fun and enjoy the journey.

Melinda Gates (Co-Chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)


I have never heard her speak nor be interviewed before and I came way very impressed. They have applied practical business concepts and practices to a huge non-profit organization. It is what she called faith in action to support the ideas that all lives have value.

Some highlights

  1. The world is getting better as evidenced by facts that tell us the poverty rate has been cut in half
  2. She explained that she and Bill came from middle class families and are trying to raise their 3 kids as normal as possible. She uses spiritual practices including daily silence to support her role as wife, mother and Chairman of the foundation
  3. Gates foundation
    • 1400 employees
    • Built on the values stated above
    • They measure results vs. just do “feel good” activities
    • 155 billionaires so far have committed to donating half of their wealth to the work they do
    • She and Bill discussed issues that most in the audience were unaware of including; the basic vaccines we take for granted and birth control. The lack of these things, in poverty situations, increase the child mortality rate, mothers dying and not having basic needs met.

Dr. Travis Bradberry (co-author of Emotional Intelligence)


An award winning author who explained that while I.Q. is fixed early on in life, E.I.  can be grown at any stage. He believes that emotions are the primary driver of behavior and you want to raise your E.I. quotient by being aware of and practicing in the four areas discussed below.

He discussed E.I. being a skill where one can learn and grow in four areas

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-management
  3. Social awareness
  4. Relationship management

He also discussed three things to work on that impact your E.I. results

  1. Getting stress under control
  2. Getting enough sleep
  3. Making sure caffeine intake is under control especially after noon each day

Patrick Lencioni (Author of 10 books and International speaker on corporate culture and leadership)


Patrick has spoken here almost every year on the importance of culture and leadership. In this session he discussed his new book “The Ideal Team Player”. Like all his previous speeches it was very impactful. We recommend you see it (and his others).

The Three virtues of a Team player

  1. Humble
  2. Hungry
  3. Smart

We found it interesting how he asked leaders to assess themselves honestly within their group. It helped create teamwork and made people accountable to each other. A simple thing we all can do and it helps people gain self-awareness. He also discussed the importance of having honest, open, compassionate conversations with people. He talked about how to use this model (and he emphasized you need to have your own values and use them in same way) in recruiting, supporting and empowering people.

Bishop T.D. Jakes (Famous pastor, entrepreneur, provocative thinker and visionary)


He had an interview with Bill Hybels which I loved. I have heard him preach and speak previously and frankly was not that moved. However, this interview was special. The essence, which is based a great deal on his Christian faith, was the power of understanding and accepting your purpose in life, taking your seed (your word) and growing oneself. Your seed needs to multiply.

Key points

  1. We all need to challenge ourselves
  2. Dream big
  3. Do not hoard your gifts but give them away
  4. When overwhelmed (which happens to all of us) restructure. (this was significant and part of our work)
  5. Combine faith with works
  6. “We are at your greatest when we are Entrepreneurs”

Chris McChesney, author of “The 4 Disciplines of Execution”


McChesney in his research and writing has identified that leaders most often struggle with execution rather than strategy.  To execute properly there needs to be a focus on 4 basic disciplines.

Key Points 

  1. Focus on the most important
    • What are the fewest battles that need to be won in order to win the war
    • Simplicity and transparency are the best friends of execution
  2. Act on lead measures
    • Lead measures are predictive
  3. Keep a compelling scoreboard
  4. Create a cadence of accountability

John C. Maxwell, Internationally known expert in the area of leadership


Maxwell speaks often on leadership and the key concepts that make for great leaders.  His focus was on what people look for in a leader.

Key Points 

  1. There are 3 questions followers initially ask of leaders:
    • Do you like me?
    • Can you help me?
    • Can I trust you?
  2. A follower will then shift to “Will you add value to me?”
  3. Most people don’t become the leader of their lives, they accept whatever comes
  4. Leaders can make the most impact by:
    • Valuing people
    • Thinking of ways each day to add value to people
    • Looking for opportunities to add value in the simplest manner
    • Go from knowing, then to acting/doing
    • Encouraging others to add value to people (multiplier effect)