Thursday, October 11, 2007

Report from Catalyst 2007 (part 2)

I am grateful to those who stepped up to fill my shoes last Wednesday night as I was in Atlanta for the 2007 Catalyst Conference. We were at the first Catalyst in 2000 and have not missed since. The highlight of Catalyst for me is not the music (ironic?) but rather the incredible teaching we get in a brief span of 2 days. This year the speakers included Andy Stanley (always hugely practical), Patrick Lencioni (author of Death by Meeting), Shane Claiborne (who??), Francis Chan (deep humility, incredible talk), Sunday Adelaja (didn’t get to hear him), Rick Warren (or him), John C. Maxwell (you’ll read my notes from his talk below), Craig Groeschel (another incredible talk from deep humility), Dave Ramsey (had to leave halfway through to get back home for band parent responsibilities), and Erwin McManus (missed him, but will hear the CD when it comes).

John Maxwell’s leadership DNA profoundly influenced the birth of the Catalyst Conference. Even though he is now only marginally involved in the planning and execution of the conference (he has empowered others to act and released them to the task), he will probably always be a palpable presence. This year he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award (given to one influential leader every year at the conference) and spoke briefly to us. He narrowed it down to one word of advice to young (and middle-aged, like me) leaders. That word:

Intentionally add value to people every day.
  • The best way to do that is to function from within your strength zone … doing what you do best.
  • The greatest sin of a leader is to put himself/herself first.
  • You are either adding value to others or you are subtracting it … one or the other.
  • Adding value takes intentionality because we are by nature subtractors of value (selfish).
  • How do we go about doing this?
  1. Value people. Really value them for who they are.
  2. Make yourself more valuable (grow, learn, improve).
  3. Know and relate to what other people value.
  4. Do the things that God values.
Reading Maxwell, you might think that he would come across as a hard-driving, get it done, no excuses business coach. When you hear him speak, you begin to hear his heart for loving others and seeing them grow into all the potential God has placed within them. His words are great advice for everyone … leaders and followers alike. That’s enough to think about for now.



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