WINCHESTER — Finding purpose, changing lives and working successfully with others.
On the surface those may sound almost unattainable to some. But the Live2Lead leadership event brought in nationally known speakers to help aspiring area leaders become closer to understanding those concepts and how to put them in motion.
The Live2Lead leadership event, a pivotal fundraiser for Blue Ridge Habitat for Humanity, was held virtually Friday and consisted of national and local speakers to drive home points of leadership.
The national portion of the event was hosted by author and leadership coach John Maxwell, who said that those in leadership positions should understand that having goals and accomplishments are all well and good, but he said having desire and consistency is key.
“Desire is the seed of every great accomplishment and consistency is the fruit of that seed,” he said. “It’s desire that keeps you going, and it’s consistency that gets you good.”
Joining Maxwell at the conference were Kat Cole, COO and president of FOCUS Brands North America; Craig Groeschel, author and pastor; Alan Mulally, a former executive with multiple companies including Boeing and The Ford Motor Company; and entertainer Steve Harvey.
Cole, Groeschel and Mulally used different talking points to talk about problem solving and how to do it effectively, most of which revolved around involving your employees and those on the ground level in the decision making that leads to an end goal.
Cole shared several anecdotes, but one that drove a pivotal point home was a story about how she visited a village once and asked about their top priorities. There was only one: water.
Cole said she pushed the village to expand and bring up multiple issues. But they continued to just focus on needing water. The village folk told her that nothing else mattered if they didn’t meet that top priority need.
“What is the one thing that you need to spend my time on right now?” Cole asked the conference attendees.
She encouraged them to focus on something specific at the top of their lists, something that will impact everything else underneath it. And, maybe more importantly, listen to the people who are on the ground level of that situation because they will know what that top priority really is.
Groeschel expanded on that aspect, too, encouraging attendees to look at both potential opportunities and problems ahead of time.
“The difference between a good leader and a great leader is one who anticipates rather than reacts,” the pastor said.
Mulally, who took over as CEO of The Ford Motor Company as the company was facing a $17 billion loss, said that solving that kind of problem requires transparency and working together.
He said the way he worked Ford out of the red was to be up front and allow employees to share solutions rather than be afraid of presenting negative aspects of the company to management.
“The reason it works is that everyone is included, everyone knows the plan and has a voice,” he said. “The most important thing about the leadership team is that they hold themselves and all of the stakeholders accountable for working together. There should be a zero tolerance policy when it comes to this aspect as a leader.”
Harvey, meanwhile, participated in more of a question-and-answer segment with Maxwell, sharing his life story and how his faith helped him overcome the pitfalls of success.
“As bad as it was, as dismal and dire the situation was that I was in, I needed that. I wouldn’t be this dude without those mistakes,” Harvey said. “I was in a bad way. I was in some holes that I didn’t really think I could get out of. But God got me out of the predicaments that I was in. That allowed me to have confidence. Bad stuff still happens to me, but it don’t have near the effect on me.”
He encouraged attendees to choose the hard work that they want to do because both success and being unsuccessful is hard on anyone. He also advised aspiring leaders to find a way to make a difference with whatever they’re doing and to find their calling. And then work hard at it.