Some thoughts on leadership coming out of the 2012 Chick-fil-A Leadercast event

by Jeff Hilimire on May 10, 2012

I was really excited to be able to attend Chick-fil-A’s Leadercast event last week. They always get incredible speakers and, while they are all obviously focused on leadership (notes from a past session I took by Seth Godin), they all have a theme and this one was on the power of choices.

A few of my notes:

Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry, said:

“The biggest mistake a leader can make is not listening.”

While I’m not going to argue the importance of listening, I don’t think its the biggest mistake. In my opinion, the biggest mistake a leader can make is NOT ACTING.

Andy Stanley, author and founder of North Point Ministries, said:

“The goal of leadership is not to eradicate uncertainty, but rather to navigate it.”

He spent a lot of time talking about uncertainty and how to deal with it. To me that goes back to the first point I made about taking action as a leader. I’ve seen uncertainty cripple a leader and company. You’ll never have all the information and a true leader knows when to make the call, and when to wait for more certainty.

Marcus Buckingham, author and speaker, said:

“If we have to know without a doubt that the choices we are making are the perfect ones, we risk never making any choices at all.”


He said that every leader should ask themselves three questions:

1. What would my replacement do?

2. What would a great leader do?

3. What story do you want to tell?

I love these questions, particularly the first one. I’m going to try to remember to ask that question. It should make you forget all of the baggage of the company and the heritage and really think about the vision and goals of the organization.

Tebow also spoke and I found him to be an entertaining speaker. Although the format could have been better – he was being asked questions from Soledad O’Brien, I’d have rather seen him speak on his own – he was inspiring and came off completely genuine. I’m neither a Tebow fan nor a Tebow hater, but I admire anyone who has accomplished what he has and can stay humble through the process.

If you happen to get a chance to go to this event next year, I highly recommend it.

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