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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, August 26, 2018 1:00 am

Be adaptable, be a visionary, speakers assert

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Leaders need to learn the value of being “hands off.” When they have their “fingers in everything,” it's harder for organizations to execute.

That advice is courtesy of Juliet Funt, CEO of Whitespace At Work.

And here's some from Angela Ahrendts, an Indiana native who is senior vice president of retail for Apple: 

• The job of a leader is to align and inspire people.

• The higher up the ladder you go, the more important it is to communicate and stay connected with others in the organization.

• Leaders also have to keep pace with everything that's changing around them, including technology.

“Like it or not,” she said, “it's a Snapchat kind of world.”

But if you feel overwhelmed with increasing responsibility, Ahrendts offers a simple strategy.

“You take a deep breath,” she said, “and say 'I'm here for a reason.'”

Funt and Ahrendts were among more than a dozen speakers at this year's Global Leadership Summit. The annual training conference is hosted at a suburban Chicago megachurch and broadcast via satellite to dozens of other locations. 

Last week, I shared highlights from summit opening speaker Craig Groeschel, an author and pastor whose church created the YouVersion Bible App and is known for other technology initiatives.

About 2,850 attended the Aug. 9-10 conference in Fort Wayne, held at Memorial Coliseum.

Frank M. Yanko, a retail lender at First Federal Bank in Fort Wayne, attended the summit for the first time.

After the early sessions Aug. 9, Yanko said some of the information wasn't “necessarily new” but “refreshing lessons.”

“It was good to hear it verbalized,” he said.

Summit speaker Carla Harris, a vice chairman, managing director and senior client adviser with Morgan Stanley, said there is no monopoly on intelligence and leaders don't always have the best idea.

Decisiveness, however, is important, Harris said, noting that someone else suggested the price of inaction can be worse than the wrong decision.

Diversity in organizations is also important, but doesn't mean less should be expected.

“There is no woman or person of color that would ever want you to lower the bar because that devalues their contribution,” Harris said.

Danielle Strickland, who spent 22 years as an officer in The Salvation Army, said how people use power is a measure of their leadership.

The wrong approach would include coercion and threats rather than negotiation and fairness, said Strickland, known as a justice advocate. The wrong approach would also include minimizing, denying and blaming rather than honesty and accountability.

Great leaders use their power to empower other people, she said.

Bishop T.D. Jakes, a pastor, author and producer, said people need a vision that is bigger than what they think they can achieve.

If you don't believe in anything “crazy enough,” the vision will not motivate you.

“You need to think something that scares you,” he said. Some of the biggest accomplishments have come from people who “didn't have enough” but dreamed “big enough.”

Timing and location are crucial.  

“It might not be that you have the wrong airplane, but the wrong wind,” Jakes said.

Author John Maxwell said true leaders need to see more than others and see it before others see it. The key is how do you increase your “more and before.”

Some effective steps, Maxwell said, include doing autopsies on your successes, putting yourself in places with people who will inspire you to see more, being creative and having an intentional plan for growth.

“If you're still excited about what you did five years ago,” Maxwell said, “you're not growing.” 

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at lisagreen@jg.net. Lead On also appears online as a blog at www.journalgazette.net/blog/lead-on/.