Thank you to all who attended the Des Moines Live2Lead 2016 simulcast, and to our sponsors and volunteers who helped make this event possible! L2L took place on October 7th at Valley Church in West Des Moines, with 250 local leaders in attendance. At the event, we heard from four amazing speakers – John C. Maxwell, Simon Sinek, Liz Wiseman and Dan Cathy.

Below, enjoy the key findings from each speaker:

1. Simon Sinek: “Empathy”

Sinek believes that empathy and perspective are the most important instruments in a leader’s toolbox. Empathy is the root of human connection. It can be expressed in simple ways, like reaching out to someone and asking, “What do you need to do your job? How can I help you?” Practice showing concern rather than threatening an employee who is not performing to your satisfaction.

Leaders are responsible for those in their charge, including Millennials. While the Generation Xs and Baby Boomers of the workforce all have their opinions on Millennials, Simon Sinek shared his own view on this generation through empathy. He explained how this generation is a product of many factors, such as: sheltered parenting, addiction to technology, impatient behaviorisms, and working in an environment that has not accommodated for their success. While Millennials still have a lot to learn, they also have a lot to teach and share. By leading them with empathy, you will give them the support and environment they need to thrive.

2. John C. Maxwell: “Personal Growth” and “Finish Well”

In Maxwell’s first session, he shared his insight on personal growth. “Most people want to go through life, I want to grow through life.” Below are his tips on daily continuing to grow:

Growth is the only guarantee tomorrow is going to be better: By staying curious and continuing to ask questions, you will be a more-knowledgeable person than you were the day before. Keep your bar or excellence high while you continue to grow.
Growth means change: When you’re more comfortable with old problems than with new solutions, you need to change. To grow, take what you’ve learned in the past, unlearn it, and relearn it from a new perspective based on new findings and knowledge.
Growth is the great separator: Growth separates those who succeed from those who do not. Those who focus on growth continue to change with the new knowledge they have acquired, while those who do not stay stagnant. It’s important to stay growth-conscious rather than goal-conscious.
Lastly, Growth is joy: Growth should bring you sustained happiness as you continue to learn something new, relearn something in a different way, and continue to grow and develop as a person every chance you have.

Maxwell’s second session revolved around “finishing well” and being a finish line leader. A goal is a destination, growth is a journey. How do you get your team to the finish line? He mentioned 10 qualities to focus on in every step of the growth journey to lead your people to finish well. These 10 qualities include:

  • Recruiting: Entering the race is essential to finishing the race. Through connecting with others, your team will start strong on their journey to growth.
  • Qualifications: The better you do at preparing your people, the better chance they have at finishing well. Set clear, defined expectations early.
  • Conditioning: Everything worthwhile is uphill. Train your team to finish with sustained efforts. What is their “IQ” (their I Quit)? How far will they go?
  • Example: Leaders set the pace for others to finish the race. Lead by example. People will keep doing what they keep seeing.
  • Markers: Your team must know where they are in comparison to the final goal. Share feedback, remind them of your expectations and have the difficult conversations early when issues arise.
  • Belief: Stay inspired and share the inspiration with your people. Be a belief-maker by instilling an inclusive, collaborative “we” culture within the office.
  • Strategy: Nobody crosses the finish line by accident. Finishing well takes practice.
  • Team: Leaders never cross the finish line alone. Slow down your race to bring the team with you.
  • Celebrate: Take time to celebrate when you reach your goal or reach a new level of growth!
  • Never stop: Keep growing. Finish line leaders empower people to create more leaders. After the celebration, the coaching and leading never stops.

Maxwell emphasizes that “you never coast to anything great.” Dreams are free, but the journey isn’t.

3. Liz Wiseman: “Genius Maker”

Are you a genius or a genius maker? Are you a diminished or a multiplier? Wiseman mentioned in her session at L2L that there are two dramatically different types of leaders:

  • The first type of leader drains intelligence, energy and capability from the people around them, and always needs to be the smartest person in the room. These types of leaders are idea killers, energy sappers, and diminishers of talent and commitment. Their employees are only working at 50% capacity.
  • The second type of leader uses their people’s intelligence to amplify the capabilities of those around them. When these leaders walk into a room, lightbulbs go off over people’s heads; ideas flow and problems are solved. These are the leaders who inspire employees to stretch themselves and get more from other people. Genius makers are multipliers. Their employees are working at 100% capacity.

To be a better multiplier, ask more questions, and “tell” less. Give bigger jobs and more responsibilities to your team. Stop seeing problems, and look for brilliance in your team. The best leaders are not geniuses, they make geniuses.

4. Dan Cathy: “Find Your Calling”

As the President and CEO of Chick-fil-A, Cathy emphasized the importance of finding your calling and staying involved in your giftedness. You can quit your career, but you can’t quit your calling.
Chick-fil-A prioritizes culture and works to make sure every employee is working towards its mission and is a right fit for the company. Onboarding is important in ensuring that each individual shares the same mission. “New people are like concrete, you have a very short window to leave your fingerprints on them.” They evaluate candidates for their value to the brand, not to the transaction. With a customer service-based culture, Cathy explained that it is important to “marry the mission and date the methods.” While their mission never wavers, the tactics to get there must change to stay relevant.

Chick-fil-A has four initiatives:

  1. Think Different
  2. Think Forward
  3. Think Cool/ Stay Relevant
  4. Share Ownership

It is through these initiatives that the company has been so successful over the past 70 years.

Save the date for 2017’s L2L conference on October 6th! I will share more information with you when it gets closer to the event. Take action with your learnings, and implement these key points with your daily leadership. For a company rebroadcast of this year’s conference, contact me for details and costs.