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21 unforgettable leadership quotes

Sept. 7, 2017 | by Mark Lenz

Every year, the two days I spend attending the Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit with my fellow staff members is the highlight of my year. The Summit is two amazing days filled with refreshment, recharging, learning and inspiration from top-notch leaders from the realms of business, church, activism, media and government. 

I hear so many brilliant and inspiring thoughts each year, I try to tweet them all. But, because I can’t keep up, last year I wrote a blog on the 21 most unforgettable quotes from the Summit. This year is no different. Here are 21 unforgettable quotes from the 2017 Global Leadership Summit. 

“Your organization’s culture will only be as healthy as the top leader wants it to be.” – Bill Hybels, Founder and Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church

“Leadership development is both the individual and organization’s responsibility.” – Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook        

“Listen to outsiders. Outsiders aren’t bound by our assumptions.” – Andy Stanley, Leadership Author, Communicator and Pastor, North Point Community Church

“Talent x effort = skill. Skill x effort = human achievement. Talent counts, but effort counts twice.” – Angela Duckworth, Professor, University of Pennsylvania; Author, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

 “Leadership begins with a dream. Fear silences dreams.” – Gary Haugen, Founder and CEO, International Justice Mission

“Sometimes, where you are used to being is not where you belong.” – Sam Adeyemi, Founder and Senior Pastor, Daystar Christian Centre in Nigeria 

 “We are never closer to our Creator God than when we have a creative idea.” – Fredrik Haren, Business Creativity Expert and Author, The Idea Book

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth. The opposite of poverty is justice. Keep beating the drum for justice.” – Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative

“The moment you criticize, you stop learning. When you stop learning, you stop leading.” – Andy Stanley, Leadership Author, Communicator and Pastor, North Point Community Church

“Give people more autonomy / freedom than you are comfortable with.” – Laszlo Bock, Senior Advisor, Google

“You learn nothing about success by studying your failures.” – Marcus Buckingham, Founder, The Marcus Buckingham Company; Author, StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths, Find Your Edge, Win at Work

 “All leadership training can be rendered useless because of fear.” – Gary Haugen, Founder and CEO, International Justice Mission

 “In your leadership you don’t attract people you want. You attract the people you are.” – Sam Adeyemi, Founder and Senior Pastor, Daystar Christian Centre in Nigeria 

 “Being the leader and leading are entirely different.” – Andy Stanley, Leadership Author, Communicator and Pastor, North Point Community Church

 “People don’t want feedback. People want attention.” – Marcus Buckingham, Founder, The Marcus Buckingham Company; Author, StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths, Find Your Edge, Win at Work

 “When you can’t, He can.” – Immaculee Ilibagiza, Advocate for Peace and Forgiveness; Author, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust

“Leadership is intensely personal.” – Bill Hybels, Founder and Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church

“Vision is being able to see people, places and things not just the way they are, but the way they could be.” – Sam Adeyemi, Founder and Senior Pastor, Daystar Christian Centre in Nigeria 

“Talent is nothing if you don’t apply it.” – Angela Duckworth, Professor, University of Pennsylvania; Author, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

“The next generation idea won’t come from the former generation.” – Andy Stanley, Leadership Author, Communicator and Pastor, North Point Community Church

“What might God do through me if I choose to lead without fear?” – Gary Haugen, Founder and CEO, International Justice Mission

It’s one thing to read these quotes. It’s another to hear them live (or via simulcast). But the best part of the Summit is to process what you hear and learn with your team. Processing these quotes and concepts will build team unity, align your team strategically, and make your ministry better. So make it a priority to attend the Summit or other conferences like it. You, your staff, and your attendees will be glad you did.

Photo source: istock


Mark Lenz
Mark J. Lenz is a pastor with a masters degree in Organizational Leadership. He is the CEO of Interactive Church Resources which seeks to empower ministry through interactive technology. He also leads Interactive Church Consulting where he helps churches create organizational health, and brings clarity and focus to ministry and mission.

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