If Solomon were one of the speakers at the Global Leadership Summit, would you go to hear him?
Pro: He wrote some profound counsel.
Con: He wasn’t famous for following his own advice. He was more of a “do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do” kind of leader.
Personally, I would opt to hear him. I enthusiastically go out of my way to learn from anyone who challenges me to be a better husband, dad, leader, or follower. I might cringe if Solomon talked too much about women or war, but I know I would leave with a nugget of truth or a holy Spirit prompting that could potentially alter my life and my leadership.
In my last blog post, I purported that Solomon would have attended the Global Leadership Summit. “Not so fast,” one of my friends chided me. “Solomon’s press secretary may have christened him as the wisest man who ever lived, but with 700 women to take care of as well as other distractions, he was too busy to sit still long enough to learn from leadership experts. He was actually kind of a fool.”
Admittedly, there is a kernel of truth to that!
But whether or not Solomon would have attended the Summit (sitting next to his wife of the week), you should have. Here are a few more highlights:
Solomon would have attended the Global Leadership Summit.
How do I know? He wrote in one of his bestsellers, “Let the wise listen, and add to their learning” (Proverbs 1:5). If he had known that Willow Creek produces the most powerful leadership training anywhere, he would be on the front row.
It’s astonishing and mind-boggling that over 300,000 people attended the GLS either on-site at Willow Creek Community Church or live at one of the 459 satellite sites scattered throughout North America. Now that the summit has ended, the talks and interviews will be presented in 675 additional cities throughout 125 countries in 59 languages.
You’ve heard the question, Are leaders made or born? Why do people ask it? Are they hoping beyond hope that there might be hope for someone who should be leading and isn’t? Are they wondering if they themselves have leadership potential?
Here is the answer to the “made” or “born” question: There are two categories of people when it comes to leadership: those who have the seed or potential for leadership, and those who don’t. When we cut through the fog and get honest, we know that there are some people who aren’t going to lead if they attend every seminar, read every book, shadow effective leaders, and live for a thousand years. They don’t have the desire, energy, wiring, or character to lead. They can be contributing members of the team and even serve somewhere, but their leadership potential will always be limited to driving the ice cream truck and recruiting someone to fill in when he’s not feeling good (no offense to ice cream truck drivers!).
If I had a scoop of ice cream for every time I heard John Maxwell say, “Everything rises and falls on leadership,” I could cruise around the neighborhood in my own ice cream truck spreading glee far and wide.
It is true. Everything absolutely rises and falls on leadership. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. This is not a cliché; it is a rock-solid reality. Place the right leader in the most daunting situation and he or she will find a way for the cause to prevail. Settle the wrong person into the most favorable climate and the project flounders and often fails.
In the Valley of Elah, David took a deep breath, sneered at his fears, and defeated Goliath. In the city of Gath, he lost his mind along with his courage and pretended to be insane.
Like most everyone who is trapped in a human body, David was not consistent. He rode the personality rollercoaster — with his hands in the air — before there were rollercoasters. In our day, we bet on American Pharaoh (the latest Triple Crown winner) or on the Super Bowl. Back then, bookies set the odds on which David (the brave one or the insane one) would show up on any particular day. No one knew. Including David.
Politicians want to be liked; leaders want to change the world.
Which are you? Are you addicted to approval, or are you called to change the world? (Don’t un-think yourself into the fantasy that both answers are Yes. It boils down to either/or.)
Aspiring politicians dread moments like these. They’re campaign and career killers. They can destroy years of hard work in a few regrettable seconds. A moment when you forget the third part of your three-part plan (Hello, Rick Perry!). Or you shriek with delight to the dismay of your strongest backers (Quiet down, Mr. Dean). Or you send a scandalous text (Sorry; not enough blog space). Or you decide to do a half-naked celebratory dance in front of the entire nation …
Well, at least that one seems like a career killer. Strangely enough, though, among the big mistakes King David made during his life, deciding to turn a worship service into his own Dancing with the Stars audition did not end up damaging his career. Instead, he only gained more fame, more power, and more respect from the people he was leading. How could something so outrageous become such a savvy political move?
David woke up from his late-afternoon nap and strolled out onto the roof of the palace. As his dreamy eyes scanned the city below, he couldn’t help but notice a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. His brain went back to sleep; his emotions came fully alive.
Hit the pause button while we gather some facts.
His face was decorated with constant fury. His life as Mr. Nice Guy was gone.
Saul was no longer godly and wise (and all those wonderful things that a King of Israel should have been known for). He no longer prayed that God would make Israel strong and prosperous. Instead, he was consumed with envy and anger. It ate him up every moment of every day. “Come hell or high water,” Saul decided, “I will kill David.”