Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit :: Len Schlesinger

In today’s climate of social and economic uncertainty, conventional approaches to problem-solving don’t work anymore. “The traditional way of thinking our way into acting is rendered essentially useless,” says entrepreneurial thought leader, Len Schlesinger. “Action trumps everything.” A former executive in two Fortune 500 companies, Schlesinger believes that entrepreneurial activity, steeped in experiential learning, can transform the way leaders move forward in the face of unpredictability—and that entrepreneurial thinking can be codified and taught to anyone. Leaders hungry to stay ahead of the 21st century change curve are invited to unlock this entrepreneurial code for themselves and shore up their ministries or organizations for success, regardless of what the future may bring.

Office of the President, Babson College
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Len Schlesinger on Twitter
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  • A standard vision speech exists in every leadership course: the Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream Speech.”
  • We try to figure out how we can have a vision just as compelling and articulated.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. spent 3-4 years smashing the current reality before he could energize people with the vision for what could be.
  • Bill Hybels defines leadership as the art of movingp people from “here” to “there.”
  • You can’t get people “there” without being very clear about aspects of “here” that you personally find unacceptable.
  • Show how unacceptable current reality is before you can bring people to a new, unknown reality.
  • Entrepreneurship has the power to go a long way in providing for the kind of future we aspire we want to have.
  • Believe in the future by creating first.
  • Most stories being told about successful entrepreneurs are complete nonsense.
  • When you look at the behavior of successful serial entrepreneurs over time, most entrepreneurs are good at reducing and spreading, not looking for it.
  • Most entrepreneurs begin without a sharply defined vision.
  • It’s hard to research the future… it’s hard to predict. It’s not time well spent.
  • The half life of what you hear on the news won’t even withstand the half hour broadcast.
  • Most people don’t have new big ideas, they just see something and figure out how to do it better.
  • Our goal should be to make and find opportunities to create economic and social value everywhere.
  • The first generation creates… the second generation enjoys… the third generation destroys.
  • How can we build a successful legacy?
  • Go to war with your business models and reinvent yourself.
  • Don’t exclusively focus on economic outcomes.
  • Deal with issues of economics, sustainability, and
  • That requires examination and experimentation.
  • We are all entrepreneurs, only too many of us don’t get to practice it.
  • Move from self-editing to positive, forward action.
  • Understand the natural limitations of everything we’ve learned.
  • Entrepreneurs realize that you can’t predict the future.
  • You simply see what is available to you and you act.
  • The future is not a linear extrapolation of the past.
  • If you can’t predict the future, create it.
  • 80% of entrepreneurs favored a mode of action called “creaction” creation-oriented action.
  • In the face of unknowability, what would rational behavior look like?
  • You can sit and think or you can act.
  • You can’t think your way into the future. You have to act.
  • Take small steps forward with what you have at hand.
  • We all have capacity to make a difference.
  • Step onto firm ground: reality.
  • Have friends and resources nearby to help.
  • Start with things you care about.
  • Don’t focus on where there’s a great opportunity… focus on what you’d like to do.
  • Entrepreneurs are always doing what they want to do or what they need to do to get what they want.
  • Act quickly with the need at hand.
  • We live in a world of affordable loss.
  • You can sell people or you can enroll people.
  • Stop worrying about what you want to do and start worrying about what you want to do next.
  • We’ve been educated to believe that failure is a dirty word.
  • Failure doesn’t mean “game over;” it means try again with experience.
  • You learned something that nobody else knows.
  • Know what you want.
  • Stop obsessing about all of the things you need to get the work done and start with what you’ve already got.
  • Make reality your friend.
  • Take steps based on your means and what you can afford to play to play.
  • It’s not what you’re going to do, it’s what you’re going to do next.
  • Little bets and baby steps are the way you win.
  • Bring other people with you.
  • Remain flexible in what you want and how you do it.

About Tim Schraeder

Tim Schraeder is obsessed with all things social media. Having worked with some of the world’s largest churches and para-church organizations, he served as an evangelist for social media with a knack for connecting people and spreading ideas that matter. He’s been a consultant and coach as well as a sought-after speaker and author who helped write the book on communication and social media for the church. Today, Tim is passionate to help businesses and organizations connect, engage, and build loyal followers across all forms of social media. He is a die-hard Chicagoan who can be found in any neighborhood coffeeshop that has free wifi.

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