Start the Week with Fully Charged Batteries

Anyone else feel like it’s time to charge the ol’ batteries? While some of the new cell phones don’t even need to be plugged in to charge, this old pig farmer needed jumper cables to get going!

This past month has been extremely busy. I’m overseeing 11 different building remodeling projects. We’re down to the small details on these, but several change orders are getting filed. I’m also halfway through the construction of a new barn, while cleaning up about a million pounds of scrap iron. I have to shower in before entering each barn, plus all parts and tools must be disinfected. I’ve been working extra-long hours. One day last week I worked 20 hours!

GLSOn top of all this construction work, my wife and I recently took the trip of a lifetime to Japan. All of these are good things, but honestly, they’re taking a toll. That’s why last Thursday and Friday and I changed my routine to attend the Global Leadership Summit. It’s just what I needed!

Some of the greatest leaders shared ideas on how to improve the way I interact with people, work with people and make the most of my time. Bill Hybels is the driving force behind this summit, and he started with a talk about evaluating your vision. Vision, he says, is your road map when the terrain can keep changing.

One of my favorite speakers was Alan Mulally. This man is a master of getting people to work together! “Mulally’s turnaround of Ford will likely be studied by business students for years to come as an artful combination of needed financial belt-tightening, plus a cultural change that took the car and truck maker from the brink of bankruptcy to the forefront of growth in the U.S. auto industry,” according to an article in Forbes.

The list of speakers continued with Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation and Danielle Strickland, senior officer in the Salvation Army. Both had wonderful experiences to share, but the session that really struck a chord with me was by Erin Meyer, author of The Culture Map.

“Where once an employee might have been expected to primarily collaborate with colleagues from his own country, today many people are part of global networks connected with people scattered around the world. Yet most managers have little understanding of how local culture impacts global interaction,” says Meyer.

Certain cultures, like in the USA and Canada, hate silence in a conversation. If there is a pause of even two seconds, we feel we must fill the space with something – even if we’re just saying “um!” In Japanese and other eastern cultures, however, it’s considered respectful to pause before answering a question. A pause shows you’re giving it some careful consideration. Yes, calm and respectful is how I found the people of Japan. I’m wondering what they thought of the 130 Iowans who came to visit them!

Attending the Global Leadership Summit reminded me that we’re all a part of something much bigger than ourselves. In the words of Jane Goodall, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what difference you make.”

How will you make a difference in your family, your community, and the world?

Related Article: