In Fall 2003, a close friend of mine Rob Henson called me on the telephone and asked if I was interested in a sales position for a company called Maximum Impact.
He said that it was a leadership development company founded by Dr. John C. Maxwell that served a corporate audience and that it was a sister-company to his firm called Injoy that served the church and ministry markets. Rob knew me as a sales and marketing guy and thought that I would be a good fit.
My reply to Rob’s idea was “Who is John Maxwell? Never heard of him...”
“He is a famous author and speaker on leadership development” replied Rob. “They are looking for someone with Fortune 500 sales experience to sell their corporate training workshops to people interested in personal leadership training.”
He finished the call with these directions for me: “Why don’t you check out their website; think about it; pray about it; and then let me know if you are interested. I can get you an interview with the VP of Sales, Craig Jones.”
Leadership Launching Pad
So I hung up the phone and went to the website. After just three minutes into perusing the site and watching a promotional video for the upcoming Catalyst Conference, I was convinced. I wanted in. Seeing the energy, excitement, and commitment to serving people was just what the doctor ordered for my present situation. I was in a holding pattern (…more like a death-spiral) in my current sales position at the time and this opportunity was “radiating life” to me.
And besides, I knew Craig Jones from Perimeter Church and felt confident he would want me.
After getting the position and working there for just a short period of time, I was “bitten by the leadership bug.” I had leadership fever, and the only cure was “more!” From my perspective, this was a natural fit for me. I learned about corporate training, events, book writing and publishing, and much more. I really learned to be a student.
I also learned that leadership in the church was the same as leadership at work. It’s about serving others for a greater goal.
Selling, Not Telling
For me, being a great leader was EXACTLY like being a strong consultative sales person.
It clicked in my brain that leaders should be selling, not telling.
They should know who they are, what the vision is, how to communicate that vision, and how to get people moving in the same direction toward appropriate solutions. I had a rich experience with that position and was able to watch leadership from inside of a leadership development company.
I was also able to attend huge leadership events put on my the organization and observe and interact with many of the attendees. I met the world’s best known speakers in the green room before and during events. I had a backstage pass to everything “leadership.”
I learned from corporate trainers who attended the Developing The Leader Withing You workshops and certification programs. I listened to their stories. I developed a soft spot for them. I wanted to get their stories up on stage, just like Maxwell was doing. I wanted the world to hear what I was hearing from ground-level practitioners.
I wanted to sound the trumpet of these people so that their influence could be felt on a larger scale.
A Little Bird
Well, since 2003 when I first got into the world of leadership, there has been some cataclysmic changes in the world of communications and the ability to influence others. Back then, the word “blogger” wasn’t known and things like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and such were not even on anyone’s radar.
Leadership training was done the traditional face-to-face way.
Computerized training systems were in place, but they weren’t a great solution for soft-skills training. Broadcast simulcast events were bringing leadership training to larger groups, but the spreading of leadership ideas and best practices wasn’t as readily available as it was about to become.
As you probably know now, social networking and communications have exploded how humans interact around the globe. Groups of like-mined people are now no longer separated by time or location.
Influence can come from almost any place.
The keys to the world of influence are no longer kept in high places. Thanks in part to Al Gore and his contributions to the world in helping to create the Internet, the doors to influence have been unlocked and information is much more widely available than ever before.
This has far-reaching implications for leaders everywhere. New tools are being used for collaboration and networking every day.
Leadership in Action
With this expanded connectivity, leaders have to be wise on how they spend their time with these new tools and need to know how best to use them. When it comes to being the poster-child for social media and leadership, Michael Hyatt fits that bill.
As Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, he exhibits his leadership in a fish-bowl environment. He is open and frank about how he does things to impact his company, his followers, and his Kingdom work with his faith.
Here is some wonderful wisdom from a leader who is definitely engaged and in gear. Watch this clip titled “How Can Christians Get Started In Social Media” to learn from great servant leader.
Tom Schulte is Executive Director of Linked 2 Leadership
He provides leadership training fit for the Blackberry-Attention-Span
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