Monday, May 12, 2014


This year's Leadercast Quad Cities t-shirt, photo by Jeno Berta

Greetings All:

On Friday (May 9th), I had the good fortune to attend the 2014 Leadercast.  This year's theme is "Beyond You." Leadercast brings together like-minded persons who are interested in learning more about leadership.  I learned about this event last year when I was at my favorite hardware store, K & K, and saw a flier.  I've always considered leadership an aggressive hobby of mine and this event sparked my interest.  So, I paid the admission fee and showed up.

I was very glad I did.  It exceeded my expectations.  Broadcast live from Atlanta, it featured a number of leaders from business, communications, faith, ect.  I was particularly impressed that one speaker, Andy Stanley, who is, by both profession and choice, a Christian leader.  However, his talk was not an exercise in proselytizing.  It was about how he views leadership.  Although I am not an evangelical Christian, I still took away a ton from his presentation.  That, in my opinion, is the sign of a good leader.  

As you're reading this post (and thanks for doing so) you might be saying to yourself, "OK, I get it, you dig Leadercast.  That's super.  But, um, I'm still not clear on what it is."  Fair enough.  Let's go to the source:  Here's a blurb from the Leadercast website, the link is below:

"Leadercast is focused on building Leaders Worth Following. Leadership is not reserved for those with a 'C' in their title. We need better leaders in our communities, businesses, organizations, and in homes across the world. Leadercast exists to serve individuals and organizations across all sectors who want to become intentional about raising their standard of leadership."

If this seems like a daunting task, fret not.  It does not have to be.  That is one of the many cool things about Leadercast.  It is not some mantra of rules that must be followed, or else...It is, instead, a challenge, a call to action.  For those who wish to become better leaders, here is a road map.  You have to drive (and check the oil) but this will help you get to where you are going.

This year's theme was "Beyond You."  The idea, as I understood it, was to look beyond yourself to make a difference.  Leadercast offers this explanation of what they mean by "Beyond You" in this year's Leadercast notebook: 

"Beyond You is what we believe leadership should be about.  Beyond You is central to why the Leadercast brand exists, and is the essence of why today exists.  More, Beyond You is why you exist as a leader."

From this year's Leadercast notebook, the major themes of this year's event.  Fair use claimed/notebook included with Jeno Berta's admission fee, photo by Jeno Berta

What makes Leadercast such an amazing event is that it empowers thousands and I suppose millions by authorized re-views, tweets, and so on to come together to share a common purpose: Endeavoring to be better leaders.

A quote from this year's Leadercast notebook that captures what this gathering is all about.  Fair use claimed/notebook included with Jeno Berta's admission fee, photo by Jeno Berta

When I think of leaders and leadership, certain people, or more precisely, images of people come to mind.  The general on horseback, the captain of industry at the head of a mahogany boardroom table, the president of other elected executive.  Oh, and one more- the coach.  Popular culture has always had a thirst for the coach with the requisite "pep talk," and Hollywood has been happy to play bartender.  Think of Hoosiers or Ronald Reagan's famous, "Win one for the Gipper," speech.  All good stuff.  However, for me, the coach speech that sums up inspiration is from We Are Marshall.  The movie tells the tale of a smaller college whose team is killed in a plane crash in 1970.  A new coach comes in and against improbable odds, gets the school behind the team and the team on the field.  Prior to the biggest game of the new team's life, the coach gives an amazing speech.  

Would you care to hear it?  Well, thanks to our friends at YouTube and their generous sharing policy, here you go:

It is hard, if not impossible to be inspired by this speech.  It's amazing.  It made me cry.  Well, OK, maybe not cry but certainly tear up.  It's just awesome stuff.  But here's the thing, we can all find our own moments to inspire, the reach those we lead, be it our family, our co-workers, our clients, or even ourselves.

So back to Leadercast, the true "A List" of speakers from Bishop Desmond Tutu to Laura Bush to Bill McDermott (CEO of SAP AG) all gave their own impressions and thoughts on leadership.  I enjoyed all of them.  However, there was one speaker who stood out to me- Laura Schroff.  Laura's story is both simple and awe-inspiring.  One day in New York City a panhandler asks her for money, saying, "I'm hungry."  At first, she walks away.  Then, in the middle of the street, she stops (not a healthy thing in NYC traffic) and turns around.  She goes back to the panhandler, an eleven-year-old boy.  What begins with a simple meal at McDonald's turned into a lifelong friendship.  I was truly inspired by her story that I bought her book.  

Laura is not a billionaire, nor a member of Congress.  She's successful in her own right, without question.  However, what so impresses me about her story is that she made the decision to help one person, just one.  But in that decision, of going beyond herself, she helped saved a young man.  He now has a wife and seven wonderful kids.  It reminds me of the Talmud writing:  "...whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world."

The cover to Laura Schroff's book an Invisible Thread

If you're interested in being a better leader, then Leadercast is for you.  If you have a business, then think about bringing your team to a Leadercast.  You'll be glad you did.  As Charlie "Tremendous" Jones said, “You're the same today as you'll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.”  Leadercast is a chance to meet some great people, hear from others and get introduced to some great book, such as Laura's.  If you'd like to learn more about this event, then check out the website or message me and I'll be happy to answer your questions.  I am planning on being at my local broadcast next year.  If you're in the Quad Cities, I hope to see you there. 

Be well my friends, 


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