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Reflections on the Willow Creek GLS 2014

August 17, 2014

Well, we just finished another Global Leadership Summit with Bill Hybel’s and Willow Creek (August 14-15). Our ED, myself and a few other of our fellow Asian American ministry workers attended. This blog is meant to share our mutual reflections on the Summit and how we can integrate what we learned into our Asian American ministry context. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the GLS reaching some 200,000 leaders via satellite video. Their hope is that by 2020 or so, they will reach half a million.

My initial reflections:

  1. For me, the highlight of Day One was the interview with Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE. Hybels asked Immelt something like “What is the x factor you like to see in a leader in your company and what is the x factor you don’t like to see? Immelt responded, “The good x factor I like to see is someone who is not afraid to give a different opinion and to buck the system. The bad x factor I don’t like to see is someone who is always giving excuses because they will never learn.” As men and women in leadership, perhaps we can learn from this CEO to be wary of people who are always making excuses. It might be better for them to work somewhere else.
  2. I found Day Two more inspiring and more engaging, so I am still not sure which  is my favorite talk. But for now, let me mention Joseph Grenny’s “Mastering the Art of Crucial Conversations.” This one was one of the best and most inspiring sessions on how to deal with difficult people and difficult situations. His argument is that if we don’t take the time to discuss the “undiscussables” or engage in Crucial Conversations, people may not “talk it out” but they will certainly “act it out.” Also, that it’s a myth that “If we tell the truth, we will also lose a friend.” My question is: how does this work in an Asian American context where it is very, very, very difficult to confront people in such a manner? While I agree with Grenny in principle, I think there must be a different way in which we can actualize this principle in our context, where everyone can “save face?”

What do you folks think? Please: reflect, write and respond!

– Milton Eng, ISAAC East