Last week Carl and I road tripped from Denver to Phoenix for the Inc. 500|5000 2012 Conference & Awards Ceremony to hear from a lineup of inspiring speakers and to receive Think Brownstone’s award… #1729 on the Inc. 500|5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies! Carl and I had a great time catching up in-person (since I’ve been in Denver, Skype just hasn’t been the same as strolls through Conshohocken or lunches at the Pub) and we learned a lot from the great program that Inc. put together. Here were my 3 biggest takeaways:
1. The cost of leadership is self interest.
Simon Sinek was awesome. Starting off the conference, he went straight for the jugular saying “the cost of leadership is self interest,” that “you’re not a leader until people believe you are putting them first,” and asking us: “Do you have unconditional love for the people you hire?” Not the message I expected to hear at this conference, but a challenging and important exhortation to be a servant leader. Oh and if you haven’t yet heard Simon’s TED talk “How great leaders inspire action” do yourself a favor and watch it today. And tomorrow. And next week…
2. What you focus on will grow.
Barefoot on stage in ripped jeans, a tee shirt and a very full beard, Bert Jacobs told the story of how he and his brother founded Life Is Good out of the back of a van hawking tee shirts on the streets of Cambridge Massachusetts, and how the power of optimism and authenticity continues to grow their company and their positive impact. Bert shared stories about pie eating contests and stupid signs at the Life Is Good Festival, and helping traumatized kids heal through Life Is Good Playmakers. And he told us about his exit strategy: “Me and my brother… our exit strategy is we’re gonna die one day.” It was obvious that Bert Jacobs loves what he does, and that was inspiring.
3. Fall in love (at least) twice.
Authors and Inc. columnists Chip and Dan Heath gave us a peek into their upcoming book “Decisive” by outlining a new process for making better decisions. They debunked the “trust your gut” method (always a favorite of mine) and suggested that “when you’ve got a tough decision to make, fall in love twice.” That is, find at least two good options before deciding what to do. Probably good advice, but they didn’t say anything about the “trust Carl’s gut” method, so I’m not going to rule that one out just yet.
For the rest of Chip and Dan’s process steps, and many more nuggets of leadership and business wisdom from the conference check out my sketchnotes. They’re interactive… so be sure to hover each image to view links to related information. Enjoy!