Leadership lessons from world-renowned leaders

On May 10, I had the privilege of attending the Chic-Fil-A Leadercast. I joined in the program at one of the host sites. There are more than 100,000 leaders from around the world who attend the training every year. The focus this year was on the importance of simplicity. This week, I will cover leadership lessons from three of the world-renowned leaders who presented. This week I’ll share the secrets from the men, and next week, secrets from the women.

Andy Stanley:

Andy Stanley said that business growth creates complexity, which requires simplicity. He advises us not to succumb to the complexity because we will lose site of the clarity that is essential to growing a business. You’ll see this when companies have four-page mission statements and overly complex business processes. Stanley said level five leaders have the humility to aspire to be the dumbest person in the room. This is because they know their weaknesses, and they’ve surrounded themselves by people who can do what they can’t. When finding our purpose for our small business, Stanley gave us three questions to answer, that should be shared with everyone on your team.

1. What are we doing? (As a business, what is your primary goal?)
2. Why are we doing it?
3. Where do I fit in?

Answers to questions one and two are going to be the same for everyone and should be communicated at all levels of the company. The answer to number three is your specific contribution. This should be your one sentence job description. What is the purpose of your position and what is it that only you can do? (Incidentally, everyone at his company has a one sentence job description!)

The example he gave us was from the Ritz Carlton. I loved their answer to question one. It’s simply, “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” For question number two, they do this to provide their customers with the best hotel experience in the world. And the answer to number three is different for each position at the company. But what is most important, is that everyone understands the mission and knows exactly where they fit in and how valuable their individual contribution is to the mission.

David Allen:

David Allen shared with us the secret to getting things done. Allen says you must have appropriate engagement with your life and work. He spoke of crisis situations and how they force you to focus. We need to channel that level of focus into our everyday lives. Each of us probably wishes we had a few more hours in the day, but Allen says we don’t need more time, we just need room to think. He advises us to get organized, create a plan of action, and prioritize and focus. When life is messy, you feel out of control and you lose your perspective. When looking at what must be done, focus and then refocus, and put placeholders on the rest. Success stems from maintaining control and keeping things in perspective. Allen shared a grid with us that I am sharing below.


Have any of you ever known a “crazy maker”? They have a clear perspective but no control. Our goal should be that of captain and commander. We need a clear perspective on what must be done and we need to maintain control by keeping organized, prioritizing, and reviewing frequently. In our plan, we organize information in the most streamlined way, in appropriate categories, based on how and when we need to access it.

Dr. Henry Cloud:

My most important takeaway from Dr. Cloud was his advice about necessary endings. He was specifically talking about issues like having the wrong people in the wrong position, or when a team member or your company is going in the wrong direction, and holding on to things or processes that hurt your business. Cloud shared three ways necessary endings are important.

1. Sometimes we have to prune away really good stuff because the best ones need the resources. This can be especially difficult, because in these situations, you are letting go of an asset, but in the end it is what is best for the business. It will help you go in the direction you need to go. Each situation must be carefully considered, but to be successful, we will need to make these difficult decisions.

2. We also need to let go of team members, processes, or products that aren’t doing well, because they aren’t going to get well. This might be a vendor that you’ve had a long relationship with but that is a lot more expensive than other possible vendors. It might be a product you have sold for many years that actually costs you money, but perhaps you are attached to it because it was your first product. It has to go. When you have done all you can to help or change something, you’ve done all you can. It’s time to let go.

3. We need to remove the dead. It’s detrimental to everything.

I hope this was helpful. Now it’s your turn. Are you a business hoarder? Are their things you need to let go of, but for some reason just haven’t? Speak out and share your story in the comments below. We’ll help you kick it to the curb!

Originally posted on Cup of Jo at www.mymarketingcafe.com

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