Global Leadership Summit 2011, Part 2: Leonard A. Schlesinger
This is a little ironic for me. I went into the GLS a little skeptical about how much the Church should be learning from the business world. After all, haven’t we established that the Church IS NOT an American business‽ And here it is, ONE OF MY FAVORITE TALKS OF THE SUMMIT and it’s all business related!
(Might have something to do with the fact that I’ve become an entrepreneur in the last year and a lot of what he said was really promising and exciting, vs. the usual song you hear when you are starting your own business that has a repeating chorus singing “you will fail, you will fail, you will fail.”)
He started out repeating some simple questions he asked years ago at the GLS.
In this section he was talking about making change. You have to establish that HERE is unacceptable and THERE is the desired place to be. Then you get more and more people with you and you move.
Entrepreneurship can change the future because it can help find new ways to help people. It is more flexible, agile, and aware than humongous capitalist corporations.
This was a quote “We are all entrepreneurs but too few practice it. Think about where you work. Aren’t there all kinds of creative and gifted people that could solve all kinds of problems and do all kinds of good if they buoyed out from under an oppressive or limiting corporate structure?
This was a great image. He talked about Indiana Jones falling into a dark hole. When Indy is in there, does he take an inventory of his assets or project his 1, 5, and 10 year goals? NO! He takes action! Nobody knows how this or that is going to turn out, so take action and test it. Either you’ll step on a torch and light up the whole room or you’ll fall into a pit of crocodiles and get eaten. Either way you just increased your knowledge.
Look around and start doing something with whatever you have. Build on what knowledge you gain from that and continue. Indiana Jones takes a step, finds out he’s walking through a tunnel, and takes another step. Each step helps you iterate and adjust your plan. (This sounds like Google and 37 Signals practice of “Launch early and iterate” as if those two companies know anything.)
This is basically a call to GO FOR IT! And it really is true. I had no idea that the company I worked for would get bought and everyone with marketing in their job title, regardless of skills, experience, or value, would be let go. Why waste time in a job you don’t like or a job that doesn’t fit right in with your calling?
This part is especially significant because it came up so many more times at the summit. Many times we get paralyzed trying to figure out the entire process or plan from beginning to end. Schlesinger said the thing to focus on is what to do next. Later Furtick (I think) would talk about God giving us the very next instruction, not the whole revealed process. Mama Maggie would talk about how when she first was called to serve the poor, she had not idea how it would go, how long she would work, or how amazing the whole thing would turn out to be.
I remember so many people stuck in college and just out of college, almost unable to act because they all wanted to know what God’s will for their life was. I think they would have benefited a lot from just focusing on the next month rather than thinking they had to discover their lifelong vocation at 22.
When you fail at something, like say, running a coffee filled backpack business, you learn something that nobody else knows. Honestly, there are probably 100 things I know about selling coffee out of a backpack that nobody else in my entire city knows! (I tried to start a business last year where I had a 3 gallon backpack full of hot water and a fishing vest full of hot cocoa, Starbucks Via, and all the condiments. It was awesome, but like I said, not quite a success.)
And then the end, which is basically to say, the more action you have, the more “at bats” so the more likely you are to hit a ball.