August 20, 2021

Top Takeaways from the Global Leadership Summit 2021

Every year, PHOS shuts down the studio for two days to attend the world’s largest leadership conference, the Global Leadership Summit (GLS)! As a team, we spend this time listening to dynamic speakers, building into our culture, and learning how to leverage our influence to live out our mission as a company. 

This year, through the graciousness of Anthem Church, PHOS hosted the summit, joining over 500 host sites across the nation. Here, we share some of the top themes and takeaways from GLS 2021.

You Have Influence

Whether you’re a CEO, pastor, employee, parent, student, or still finding your place in the world, you have influence. This can often be hard to perceive, especially coming off a season that  felt like a step backward for many of us. But, whether you realize it or not, you impact the people around you daily.

Richard Montanez shared how he grew from a janitor at Frito-Lay to the C-suite as a vice-president of marketing. Richard never let his position sate his hunger and found that it became an antidote to his fear of leveraging his influence. 

Self-credited as the creator of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Richard saw an opportunity to improve the company he worked for, even though it might not have looked, or felt like, he had any influence at the time.

In a world plagued with imposter syndrome, Shola Richards reminded us that, like Richard Montanez, we “belong in any room we walk into,” regardless of our current title or position. As Jerry Lorenzo told us, “We may not be the best at what we do, but what we offer is good enough.” 

In other words, when you feel like you lack influence, change your focus. As Michelle Poler communicated, “We may never be fearless, but we can be brave.” When you see an opportunity to use your influence but you encounter fear, think to yourself, “What’s the best that can happen?” Reframing your reality like this will better shape your perspective. 

I love what Albert Tate said to wrap up the summit when he said that maybe, instead of being a test, “The [COVID-19] pandemic was the lesson, and how we respond is the test.” In this season, it’s helpful to remember, it’s okay not to be perfect, it’s okay not to feel like we have control, and that, even though we may not feel like we have any influence, we do. 

Everyone Wins When the Leader Gets Better

A major theme of GLS this year and every year is that when a leader gets better, it benefits everyone they serve. As leaders—and we’re all leaders in some capacity —, we have a duty to get better to improve the lives of those around us.

As Craig Groeschel stated, “The best leaders don’t obsess over controlling others; the best leaders obsess about empowering others.” At GLS, Craig unpacked “PUC,” a new acronym that he coined to describe the past couple of years. PUC stands for pain, uncertainty, and chaos. As a leader, we are called to “Step into the pain, embrace the uncertainty, and accept the chaos.” When we do, not only will we get better, but so will everyone around us. 

Bianca Olthoff reiterated this when she said, “Choose to lead when it’s inconvenient,” which means we can’t control our situation, but that doesn’t mean we cower or hide from it. She went on to say that, “When leadership chooses you” (which I would argue we all have areas of life where it has), “You choose to lead.” 

I love Jamie Kern Lima’s story. She had the vision to start a cosmetics brand out of her house, focusing on real women with real skin challenges. She was rejected at almost every turn and asked numerous times to compromise her values but chose to remain strong and keep leading in a way consistent with her mission. Eventually, she grew that small business, IT Cosmetics, into an internationally known brand that sold to L’Oreal for $1.2 billion and made Jamie the first female CEO in the company’s history — not to mention one of America’s richest self-made women. Furthermore, the number of people whose lives have been improved because Jamie “chose to lead” is immeasurable.

Maintain a Healthy Mindset

Developing a healthy attitude and mindset was woven through most of the presenters’ talks this year. This is not altogether surprising as we come out of one of the worst pandemics in history — one that has caused psychological challenges like depression and anxiety to be at an all-time high. 

Controlling our mindset during these challenges is extremely important, and, like Rich Wilkerson said, our “outlook can affect our outcome.” He went on to say that “What we appreciate, appreciates.” When we approach life with an attitude of gratitude, it shapes our perspective and helps us to appreciate where we are right now. This can help us maintain hope, even amid PUC. 

Albert Tate noted that “Grief and hope make great roommates.” He means that even when we don’t feel okay, even in grief, we can invite hope to “move in.” Grief will only turn into despair, whereas hope will turn into joy. To me, this is reminiscent of the instruction in James 1:2 when James tells us to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”

AR Bernard furthered this sentiment when he said that our “attitude determines (our) approach, and (our) approach determines success or failure.” When we maintain a healthy attitude, we set ourselves up to grow in our circumstances. AR feels that “assuming an attitude of humility and empathy” is the best way to ensure that our attitude is healthy and headed in the right direction.

Albert Tate put a bow on this thread when he said that “napping is the new hustle.” Instead of pushing on with an unhealthy attitude, take time to take care of yourself and change your perspective. In fact, in this season, “You can’t afford not to take a day off.”

Create the Right Environment

As leaders, we are often hampered by our environment. This is often seen in organizations that have far too many rules, policies, and procedures. These things are valuable in some contexts but can often restrict creativity, ingenuity, and risk-taking. It’s for this reason that Gen. Stanley McChrystal calls rules, policies, and procedures “organizational scar tissue.” 

Instead, as Malcolm Gladwell taught us, we should be focused on creating an organizational environment that is safe for new ideas, changes, and risk-taking. Or, as Edgar Sandoval quipped, “The responsibility of leadership is not to come up with the ideas but to create an environment for ideas to flourish.”

Take Your Leadership to the Next Level With the Global Leadership Summit

This is only a small sampling of the impactful lessons we learned at GLS 2021. It’s hard to distill two full days into a few hundred words, and there are many incredible stories, teachings, and important points that we couldn’t include in detail here. GLS is an incredible event, and we would highly recommend that you consider attending the next one—and bringing your entire team). If you live in or around Gainesville and would like to join PHOS at next year’s host site, we’d love to have you. We encourage you to connect with our team for more information. 

Chad Wolcott

Chad utilizes his diverse background in sales and marketing to help our customers win. As an Inbound Marketing Executive, Chad marries his love for telling incredible digital stories and his strong focus on results to help clients increase the metrics that matter. As the son of a successful small business owner, one of his greatest passions is serving the local business community.

When not in the office you’ll find Chad spending time with his family, volunteering at church, or in the “woods and water” around Gainesville with a fishing pole, kayak paddle, shovel, or maybe even chainsaw in hand. Chad has a love for the outdoors and would love to talk your ear off about subjects like horticulture and agroforestry, if prompted.