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Features Chick-fil-A Leadercast hosts top speakers

Dr. Henry Cloud’s philosophy is that if the season of a particular idea or practice has past, have a little funeral and let it go.‘Simply Lead’ was the topic of the 2013 simulcast.

Last Friday, SiteDart Hosting presented the 2013 Chick-fil- A Leadercast broadcast live from Atlanta to Franklin's Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts.

Members of the local business community were presented with not a few challenges as principles of successful leadership were simplified and shared.

Tasked with following the theme of “Simply Lead,” nationally known speakers and leaders such as Andy Stanley, John Maxwell, Condoleezza Rice and Mike Krzyzewski offered advice on how to “de-clutter” your workplace by keeping it simple.

Andy Stanley founded Northpoint Ministries based in Atlanta in 1995; launched a leadership podcast in 2008, is the best-selling author of 20 books, and has more than 2.3 million monthly listeners worldwide. Stanley asked three questions: What are we doing? Why are we doing it? and, Where do I fit in?

Simple questions with complex answers.

What are we doing? Stanley recommended establishing a mission statement for your organization, and one sentence job descriptions for each of your company’s employees. If every employee knows exactly what he/she is supposed to do, it creates clarity and simplicity and eliminates the fog of complexity. He offered an illustration regarding the training of the maids and bellmen at the Ritz Carlton. Their job description reads, “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Every maid and bellman knows exactly what their job is.

Why are we doing it? Complete the statement, “We are here because ...” by evaluating your role, your unique contribution and core responsibility. Answer the question, “What would happen to my community of our organization ceases to exist?

SiteDart Hosting provided refreshments between sessions.Where do I fit in? Stanley related his experiences early in his ministry when he thought that as a leader, he needed to be involved in every aspect of the business of running the organization. He realized that he needed to step back and let people who were gifted in certain areas accomplish those tasks and allow him to do what he could do well. He said that to realize the goals of the organization, he needed to keep clear of tasks and decisions that kept him from doing what only he could do.

Psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud offered “boundaries for leaders.” He said it’s not about the plan; it’s about getting the right people to do the plan. He said if you have the right people, the plan will take care of itself. Having respectful relationships will help you lead in ways that make your people want to follow.

Create necessary endings and don’t just “hope” it will turn out. Let go of things that don’t work. He used the illustration of a rose bush full of blooms. A rose produces more buds than it can sustain, so pruning off good blooms so the best blooms can flourish creates an excellent ending. Keep the best and prune the rest. The best get all the resources. Pruning the branches that are diseased and will not get any better can only help the host. In your business, if the season of a particular idea or practice has past, have a little funeral and let it go, said Cloud. Focus your attention and attend to what is relevant. If everything is important, nothing is important.

Best selling author and motivational speaker John Maxwell said that a true leader has influence. To have influence, it takes a little math.

John Maxwell interviewed former Secretary of State Concoleezza Rice at the 2013 Chick-fil-A Leadercast last Friday.Add value to people everyday. More than just a compliment, create an atmosphere of confidence and expectation in those you have been entrusted to lead. Serve people and put people first.

Subtract your leadership landmines. Identify those areas that have explosive properties that could hinder growth and progress.

Multiply your strengths by developing them. Continue to grow in the things you do well.

Divide your weaknesses by delegating them. Being a leader doesn’t mean you’re the smartest one in the room. It means you need to surround yourself with smart people who can do the things you can’t do.

And finally, stop trying to find a leader to solve your problems. Be the leader. Simply Lead.

Team USA Olympic and Duke Blue Devils basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski shared his secrets on how to create a championship team. He said it’s about close associations and friendships. Talk face to face, eye to eye and always tell the truth. He said truth leads to trust.

He talked about sitting down with his Olympic team of Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and others. He said the team members expected him to talk strategy, but instead, he asked them what standards the team should employ to present a unified team. Standards are internally owned, whereas rules are external, he said. Standards are how you act when no one is looking. You own it and are not “ruled” by it. The team offered suggestions: Respect each other, set an example, don’t make excuses and have each other’s back. For Coach K, this setting of the standards created an atmosphere for a unity that lead to the ultimate success of the gold medal-winning team.

Condoleezza Rice was the first female African-American Secretary of State and was named Forbes’ Most Powerful Woman in the World. Secretary Rice expounded on the events of 9/11 and the changing landscape of the nation. She said that part of being a leader, is recognizing who is in authority and respecting their right to be the leader. The confidence she exuded in the job she was hired to do was in that fact that she was backed by the most powerful nation in the world.

"The first step for a leader is to be right with yourself. Integrity is the basis of leadership," said Rice.

She said to truly be a good leader, you have to be a good listener and “hear” when you listen for common ground. Her best advice: “Be optimistic, nobody wants to work for a sour puss.”

Former CEO of General Electric Jack Welch gave an impassioned presentation of what it takes to “simply lead.”Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric was named Fortune Magazine’s Manager of the Century. GE’s capital rose by $387 billion during his tenure as CEO. Welch asked the question, If you were not in the business, would you want to be? As a leader, love what you’re doing and over deliver. Any problem that arises equals opportunity and new insights. His philosophy is that the team that has the best players win. He said the best employees are the ones who love to be there but are confident enough to leave. And lastly, leaders teach.

LCDR Rorke Denver was the anchorman of the Leadercast. As a Navy Seal trainer, he has experienced many highs and lows in the lives of those he trains. Not everyone who tries is cut out to be a part of such an elite group. He said one of the best lessons he learned as a leader came from a “chief” who told a panicked company that “calm is contagious.” Among other things that are contagious: Panic, chaos and stupid. Be a leader whose followers mimic your positive behavior.

This year’s Chick-fil-A Leadercast was broadcast to more than 120,000 leaders all over the country. Locally, SiteDart hosting provided refreshments for the breaks and a Chick-fil-A lunch for attendees. Plans are already in the works for the 2014 Leadercast to be held on May 9.

For more information on next year’s event, visit

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