Just before Leadership Network launched the first NINES conference in 2009, I had the privilege of walking them through a 12-month clarity process.
Maximizing the The NINES learning experience, begins with considering their mission and values as the context of the offering. The mission of Leadership Network is to accelerate the impact of 100X leaders. What is a 100X leader? (I'm glad you asked.) The concept is rooted in Matthew 13:23. People produce different amounts of fruit depending on the soil of their soul. The verse references thirty, sixty, and hundred fold fruitfulness. LN taps into hundredfold leaders (100X) to accelerate their impact and to encourage the multiplication of that learning (one of their stated strategies). If you want to read about their core values, check out this post.
So in order to encourage multiplication, they host this massive conversation called the NINES and others like it. Last year over 8500 church leaders registered to hear from over 70 different speakers. I believe it was the most innovative and effective learning event of the year. I know that this year will be even better. So how can you actually maximize the learning from this event? Here are my thoughts:
1) Carve out as much time as possible to watch live. This stuff is FREE and will be more focused and diverse than ANY conference you have to pay for and travel to see. Grab your team and cancel your appointments. These are great thinkers and leaders. They are not exclusively "rock stars" that we have heard from to death.
2) Keep streaming tweets while watching OR if you can't watch live. Since I blogged on this innovative way to attend a conference click here to read more. I can't wait to watch the Emotional Resonance Spectrum tomorrow. The hashtag of leadership network generally is #leadnet, but for tomorrow's event it is #thenines.
3) Zero in by asking for the Holy Spirit to help. Okay, if you are a church leader you are always praying for other people. Like me, you might forget this little step when it comes to learning. Pray for God to deliver the arrow of truth that you need to penetrate your heart.
4) Think "syntopically." This is where the value proposition of the NINES gets exponential. When you hear a dozen to one hundred snapshots of passionate, persuasive nuggets from really smart leaders, look for the common themes and shared angles of the content. This is what all futurists and visionaries do. They are not just seeing what others see. They are organizing and articulating in new ways what other people have seen but have not fully appreciated. Remember, no one is coordinating content, so common themes will be Spirit-driven. Also remember that there is no real meaning to the order of the presenters other than trying to put out high-recognition names every hour (these LN guys aren't stupid).
5) Focus reflection. All of this great content must translate, at some point, to meaningful take-aways based on the clarity of your own calling. My personal strategy will be to take hand written notes, that I will group eventually into no more than three categories. In my experience, if a leaders tries to carry more than three ideas, thoughts, or actions away in their wheelbarrow, he or she risks tipping over and having nothing.
6) Act immediately. Perfect learning is the enemy to good execution. The truth is that you don't need more information to do a better job as a leader. You need perspective, conviction, passion and stretched imagination. I think LN should host a conversation about the results of the learning tomorrow. Your leadership will be measured, NOT by the size of your NINES notebook or the number of your compelling retweets. Your leadership will be measured how you act with what you gain. What will you need to stop, start, enhance, plan for, or discuss immediately with your leadership team as a result of what you learn?