If You Want to Grow Others, Grow Yourself First

33 Leadership Lessons from The One Day Summit with Dr. E. Dewey Smith

I love adding value to church leaders, pastors, and marketplace leaders.

In an effort to add value to their lives, I decided to attend Pastor E. Dewey Smith’s One Day Leadership Summit in Atlanta, GA.

It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE fan of John Maxwell. In fact, his 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, along with Bill Hybels’ Leadership Axioms travel with me everywhere I go. Attending conferences that equip me to influence the influencer fulfills John Maxwell’s 15th Law – The Law of Contribution – Growing Yourself Enables You to Grow Others.

One Day Summit Pic

I must confess that in the beginning, my motivation for personal growth was selfish. I wanted to grow, so I could be successful. There were goals I wanted to accomplish and milestones I wanted to achieve. But along the way, I made a life-changing discovery. My progress in personal growth also opened the doors for others.

Therefore, I’d like to share the top leadership lessons from one of the greatest leadership minds in Christianity, Dr. E. Dewey Smith, Jr.

The One Thing You Can Do To Make A Difference

I need your help!

I’m noticing a disturbing trend on my Facebook timeline. It’s filled with negativity, sexually suggested dancing, fistfights, & bizarre/demonic criminal behavior. It appears people are in despair & perhaps have lost hope. Facebook and other social media outlets are the places people gather to mingle and converse. They are today’s wells….the gathering place for people to catch up on what’s happening. If Jesus were here today, he’d log on to Facebook.


The REAL First Rule of Communicating!

How do you stand out in a world where people are OVERWHELMED?


Recently, I accompanied Shauntai (my wife) to the grocery store and was quickly overwhelmed with how many brands and types of toothpaste there were.  In the typical Target store, you confront rows of over sixty options, including pastes with whitener, tartar control, breath-freshening, baking powder, tube and pump, in over a dozen different brands (what ever happened to just plain ole Crest) .

Let’s be honest: We all FEEL overwhelmed. Our DVD players have more functions that we can learn.  When something goes wrong, few of us know what to do.

Additionally, we ARE overwhelmed. Everyone you deal with is overwhelmed.  Whatever you want to communicate to them, you must learn to do it simply and clearly.

The first rule in communication is:
Communicate so that you cannot be misunderstood.

Clarity inspires trust. We worry about the opposite: we fear that people we do not understand may be concealing something.  We suspect the confusion might be a smoke screen, intended to keep us from the truth.

Clarity inspires faith. We assume, as jurors assume when they hear expert witnesses, that a person who communicates clearly understands her subject.  I remember reading somewhere where a leading jury conslulting firm discovered that people regard “clarity” as the signal trait of a true expert!

Here’s The Point:
Make yourself clearer, and people will think you’re an expert.

What tips do you have to share that’ll help others to simplify and clarify their message/product/service?

How To Get To The Next Level & Stay There!

Conventional wisdom says you need a mentor to help you get to where you desire to be.  This conclusion, however, is based on a faulty assumption.  The sources of this wisdom confused coincidence with a cause.  No doubt many successful people have had mentors, but, knowing that doesn’t prove the person succeeded because of their mentors.  For all we know, they might have succeeded in spite of them.

The reason that many successful people had mentors is that people destined to succeed ATTRACT all kings of people, including mentors.  They attract mentors, fans, followers, and even HATERS.  So the way to attract a mentor is to display those traits that will lead you to success anyway.  Like begets like.  Birds of a feather flock together.  Will a mentor lead you there?  Perhaps.  Will one help you in some smaller way?  No Doubt.

Here’s my advice: Don’t seek just ONE mentor.  Instead, focus on doing the things that might attract people, including mentors.  If you do find a mentor, make sure you include others.  Remember, mentors are people, people are fallible, and even gifted doctors misdiagnose.  Fortunately in many of those cases, the patient sought second and third opinions.  YOU SHOULD TOO!

Having just one mentor is overrated;
having several is not.

What do you think?  Do you agree or disagree?

FYI: I thinking about starting a mentoring group this Spring.  If you are interested and live in the greater Chicago area—please email me (urban.pastor@gmail.com) and I will outline the details for you.

Tips for Success – Build Bridges, Don't Burn Them

Build Bridges – Not Walls

When you leave a job, church, organization, for whatever reason, be sure to leave on good terms; you never know when you will need to contact or utilize former employers or co-workers for recommendations or networking purposes. 


If you leave with an attitude of "good riddance," others will not be inclined to maintain a relationship with you.  Wishing other well, providing your personal contact information, and making every effort to stay in touch are great ways to leave lines of communication open. 

Tips For Success – Network For Quality – Not Quantity

Anthropologists have found that for one person, a genuine social network – one in which you know the members and they know you is limited to about 150 people.  In fact, Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point found there is a "'cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable relationships." 


So what does all of this mean to you: DON'T NETWORK JUST TO NETWORK!  Whittle down your contacts to the most fruitful ones.  Then rank them according to their importance until you've created 1st, 2nd, & 3rd tier networks. 

Networking – How to Get Someone's Attention

While attending grad school @ The University of Missouri I joined
Toastmasters (great networking opportunity & our church has a
chapter).  While there, I ran across fellow
Toastmaster Jim Nudelman’s 4-step process for writing an Elevator Pitch. 

The Pitch is a 10-15 second focused introduction of your “value proposition” that
can be given in an elevator when someone asks, “tell me about yourself.”


Here’s his process:

Step 1 — Begin with an ACTION PHRASE that is NOT a noun. (”I am a
__________” but don’t use a “label” in the blank.  You don’t want
people to put you in a box.)

Step 2 — Add a one sentence statement about what you DO. (”I do _____________” What do you help people or businesses do?)

Step 3 — Give a statement of the SPECIFIC IMPACT. (”People who utilize my
process find _________” list one or two things from the perspective of your
potential employer.)

Step 4 — End with a CALL TO ACTION. (”I am looking to be introduced to
_______________”  be specific!  If you ask for something non-specific you
are likely to get it.  What good it that?)

Here’s my pitch:

“My name is Clarence Stowers. I am a master of empowering people &
growing leaders.  I teach people how to how to trust God and believe in themselves to accomplish great things.  People who attend our church live empowered
lives and pursue excellence in every area of their lives.  Please introduce me to people who you believe
are living beneath their potential.” 

Let me hear your pitch…

Principles For Success – Build a Strong Network

Think of your goal to become successful as a house you plan to build.  You know that you cannot build an entire house by yourself, so you will need to enlist the help of others.  This is where networking comes in.  If you are the architect of your house, then the people with whom you network are the electricians, plumbers, decorators, and painters.  In order to accomplish something as grand as being successful in all areas of life, going at it alone is not only difficult and unnecessary – IT'S FOOLISH!



Without even realizing it, it is likely that you already know many people who can help you reach your goals.  Make a list of your contacts.  First, list personal contacts and divide this list into family, friends, & neighbors.

Next, list other personal contacts – include your doctor, dentist, lawyer, accountant, fraternities, sororities, & other social clubs.

Then, list professional contacts such as people you have worked with, worked through, worked for, or given work to.  List customers, clients, consultants, and even competitors.  Tally up the names of the  people in all the different categories.  You will likely be surprised by the extent of your network.

For the record: I have 3256 contacts in my network…how many do you have?