Chick-fil-a Leadercast Recap: Andy Stanley


Chick-fil-a Leadercast is a one day conference which is broadcast live across the country. This year I was priveledged to attend and glean some excellent wisdom on personal and professional leadership. I thought I would recap the main speakers for you over the next few days and share their insights. This year’s theme was “Simply Lead.” Which focused on taking the unnecessary complexities of business, and making it simple.


The Power of Simplicity

Andy Stanley has authored more than 20 best selling books, founded North Point Ministries, and is the senior pastor of many churches in the Georgia area. Stanley started off the day by establishing the humility needed to lead and also addressing the core questions of any business, ministry, or activity. Here is what he said about being a leader, and yet not knowing it all…

“I’m never the smartest person in the room. I’m just the leader.”

“Level 5 leaders have the humility to admit they are the dumbest person in the room.”

“Surround yourself with people smarter than you are.”

All of this was based upon the context of knowing that you don’t have to know it all to effectively lead people. It isn’t your job to know it all, because you never will. They second you think you have it all figured out… That’s the second your leadership begins to fail. Great leaders are humble, imperfect, and acknowledge that freely.

Stanley’s second point was that of determining direction in your business, ministry, or even personal life. He created these questions when he was overwhelmed one day at his workplace. They are excellent to ask whenever you feel overwhelmed or losing focus. These create the cornerstones of your business. Ready? :)

1. What Are We Doing?

This question asks “What is important”. What products are we going to sell? What services are we going to offer? It makes you redirect your focus to the core reason the business was started. What are we here to do?

2. Why Are We Doing It?

Everything in life has to has purpose. Without purpose, a job is just a way to make money. A life is just something to live aimlessly. If you can’t answer why you are working somewhere, then it truly is just a job to make money. Jobs are meant to be more than that. Answering this question solves that problem many companies face.

3. Where Do I Fit In?

Stanley made it clear, this was not your job description. It is a question of what am I supposed to be doing to help this business. What is your critical role? What is your unique contribution? and What is your core responsibility? Answering these questions help you to find exactly how you fit into a business.

“If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to have a hard time doing it.”

Pulling it all together

It is the goal of every person and business to grow. However, with that growth, comes complexity, which requires simplicity. Andy Stanley communicated three simple questions which we can ask ourselves when we need to refocus and redirect the business (or ourselves) when we feel overwhelmed. One application he gave, which I encourage you all to implement, is to create a one sentence job description of where you work. Here is the example of Stanley’s job description.

“To inspire our staff and congregations to be fully engaged in our mission and strategy.”

This one sentence clearly defines the what, why, and where questions he asked. I’d challenge you to write a well thought out one sentence job description, and then post it below in the comments to share with us. This will give you a clear direction when things are crazy.

Stanley closed with a quote, so I thought it would be fitting to do so here as well. When Steve Jobs came back to Apple, he provided a clear focus. Anything that detracted from that goal and purpose was removed. What he said was so simple, yet still gave clear direction in the way the business should go. Clearly, his statement has worked, as Apple is now one of the largest companies in the world. This one statement changed not only the company of Apple, but one could argue the entire technological world.

“We are going to make easy to use computers. Any Questions?”

That’s the power of Simplicity.


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