August 22, 2020

What GLS 2020 Taught Us About Life and Leadership

The Global Leadership Summit (GLS) is the world’s largest two-day leadership event. Simulcast out of Illinois, the Global Leadership Summit reaches an average of 450,000+ people each year.

The mission of GLS aligns so closely with our PHOS values that we decided as an organization in the beginning of 2020 to become the host of GLS for Gainesville and the surrounding areas.

In the midst of 2020’s chaos, GLS was a breath of fresh air and a high-energy injection of leadership, culture, and excitement into our team, our community, and organizations around North Central Florida. We loved that GLS had:

Every year, for the past five years, we have closed PHOS and brought the entire team off-site to invest in leadership. The whole team?! That’s right. Why? Because we believe that leadership isn’t just for the executive team. If leadership is a part of your culture, and if you believe that leadership isn’t about title, but influence, then we should train our entire team to be leaders worth following.

Below are some key quotes and takeaways from our favorite speakers throughout the day.

Craig Groeschel / Leading Through the Dip

“You often don’t know how important a moment is while you are in it.”

“People don’t hate change; they hate the way we try to change them.”

“When an old mindset is limiting your future, have the courage to unmake a promise. Have you made any personal promises that are limiting your leadership potential? ‘I will always…’ ‘I will never…’”

“You cannot correct what you will not confront.”

“The pathway to your greatest potential is often directly through your greatest fear.”

Beth Comstock / Innovation and Change

“Write out a permission slip to give yourself permission to take a risk and do something new.”

“Ask this of your team and customers: ‘Tell me one thing I don’t want to hear.’”
*We have implemented this question into our leadership performance evaluations at PHOS. Powerful.

“[In the context of 2020 and COVID-19] Get comfortable living in hypotheses. We are going to live on this side of assumptions and reserve the right to change it.”

John Maxwell

“What you don’t give attention to shrinks.”

“Everything you really want but you don’t have is out of your comfort zone. Now is the time to do things and be the person that you haven’t quite achieved yet. You are already out of your comfort zone.”

Nona Jones / Safe is Insufficient

“You cannot make a lasting impact while also still feeling safe and being comfortable. Safety and impact are diametrically opposed states of being.”

“We can be not racist while still benefiting from racism. Being ‘not racist’ is not enough if neutrality comes with a cost.”

Quoting Albert Einstein, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

“Fear cannot be an excuse for inactivity.”

“You don’t have to have all power. Whatever power you have, that is what you are required to bring.”

Rory Vaden / Time Management in Leadership

“The way we spend our time isn’t just logical (to-do lists and calendars), it is also emotional (making a difference). There is an emotional piece of time management.”

“Efficiency Limitation Principle: the amount of busy work always expands to fill the amount of time we allow to be available.”

“Multiply your time by giving yourself the emotional permission to spend time on things today that will give you more time tomorrow.”

“The 30x Rule: You should be willing to spend 30x the length of a task to train someone else to do it.” If you spend 5 minutes a day on a task, then your total annual investment over 250 working days is 1,250 minutes each year. Rory argues you should be willing to spend 150 minutes of your time (30x the length of the task) training someone else to do that task, thereby saving yourself 1,100 minutes annually to focus on things only you can do.

“Until you accomplish your next significant task, everything else is a distraction.”

Jossy Chacko

“Confidence is not a lack of humility. It is knowing who you are, what your destiny is, and leading accordingly.”

Sadie Robertson Huff

“How do you get the most out of mentors? You need to know what you are struggling with and be real and authentic with them.”

“Every place I have walked into scared is where God met me. God will be with you in the middle of that fear.”

Regarding leadership and criticism, Sadie’s grandmother told her, “If you are holding the football, you’re gonna get tackled.”

“We hold onto our weaknesses as excuses about why we can’t do what God is calling us to do.”

TD Jakes / Metrics of Migrative Thinking

“Forsake the plumb line of your past experiences.”

“The world will not allow us to remain isolated. It is requiring migrative thinking.”

“We have to talk even if we are afraid we might say the wrong thing.”

“I challenge you to be uncomfortable enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with people who are not like you, to create a level playing field, and make a big difference in the world.”

Joseph Grenny

“The lag between seeing problems and talking about them is a sign of the health of an organization. Lag time for change is the lag time for candor.”

“Silence is the playground of evil.”

“Seek out dissenting views. Make heroes of people who challenge you.”

Paula Faris / How to Lead Through Life’s Reset

“Are you finding significance in something that shifts?”

Quoting Martin Luther King Jr., “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

“We ask our children, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ as if vocation and career was the only way our children add value to the world in their future.”

“My purpose isn’t in what I do, it is in being.”

“Normalize fear. What is the best thing that could happen if you press into your fear?”

Amy Edmondson / Psychological Safety

“Are you playing not to lose instead of playing to win?”

Amy told the story of Alfred P. Sloan, former President & CEO of General Motors, who, when seeking to make a strategic decision, would tell his team, “Let’s postpone this discussion until there is more disagreement.” Amy’s encouragement: “Insist on dissenting opinions.”

Michael Todd / The Pace of Your Leadership

“It doesn’t matter if your business is successful but you’re not successful [your health, margin, joy, pace].”

“Pace brings peace, peace is true prosperity.”

“Success is not just where you end up – it is how you get there.”

Gary Haugen

“Courage, like fear, is contagious.”

“Jesus was never in a hurry.” Woah.

Lysa TerKeurst / Forgiveness in Leadership

“Innovation is now a matter of survival. Innovation is the mystery that someone on your team is dying to solve if only you’ll make them feel safe enough to do so.”

“You deserve to stop suffering because of what other people have done to you.”

“If you’ve been waiting for the other person to say that they are sorry, you are tying your healing to a decision this other person may never make.”

April Tam Smith

“My purpose is the life of influence that my work allows me to live.”

Albert Tate / Authentic Leadership

“Leadership isn’t something outside of me that I have to grasp, it is something inside of me that I have to grow.”

“We need to be table-flipping leaders, flipping tables of injustice, so all may come to the table. It is hard to flip over the table if you are sitting comfortably at it. Are you sitting at a table you should be flipping?”

“Jesus flipped over tables, not people.”

“Who would be surprised by your compassion if you poured it on them?”

Ready for GLS 2021?

GLS flies this banner over the whole conference, “As the leader gets better, everyone gets better.” We believe this is true not only for every organization, but every community, every city, and every nation.

That’s our vision for GLS in North Central Florida: organizations invested leadership for the sake of their teams and our community.

Before the first session ended this year, we were already receiving impactful feedback from conference attendees:

“Wow! This first session was amazing! Do they release recordings afterwards? I would love to share it with my team!”

“Is this what the conference is going to be like the whole time? I have people that should have been here.”

Hosting this year’s Global Leadership Summit for Gainesville was a challenge with COVID-19. We didn’t get to gather in-person as a community to unite around this great mission. At the same time, we are not only grateful to have been able to host the event for North Central Florida, but we are even more excited for next year. 

We can’t wait to see you and your team at GLS 2021! Sign up at

Brandon West

Brandon West founded PHOS Creative at the age of 26 out of his home office. A strategy-first digital marketing agency headquartered in Florida, PHOS’ growth and culture have been highlighted in the Inc. 5000, Gator100, Florida Trend Magazine, and the Best Christian Workplaces Institute.

Author of It Is Not Your Business to Succeed, Brandon has shared his insights on over seventy stages, addressing topics such as purpose-driven leadership, people-first culture, business as a ministry, authentic branding, and inbound marketing.

Away from his desk, Brandon enjoys dating his wife, mostly losing to his sons at board games, playing guitar and piano, exploring underwater caverns, and pastoring leaders at Salt Church and in the marketplace.