We just concluded a fun two-day summit with our LTI leadership team. This is the team that reached 30,000 new students in high school presentations last year. They did it, not me. I marvel at some consistent characteristics about each team member:
1) Intellect: They read, a ton. And they read the right stuff.
2) Passion: They have an intense desire to equip others, but they do it winsomely. You should see the reviews from the field!
3) Commitment: They love public speaking and strive to be excellent at it.
4) Reputation: They’re known for equipping pro-lifers not dividing them.
5) Wisdom: They’re masters at adapting to diverse theological audiences, but they do so without sacrificing our core content or needlessly offending their hosts.
6) Grounding: They’re secure enough to invite analysis of their efforts.
7) Vision: They do not require micro-management because, in the words of Warren Bennis, “they have a compelling sense of what might be” if they work hard.
8) Leadership: They serve. They abhor the “green room” and make no high-maintenance demands on their event hosts. In short, they shake lots of hands and aren’t afraid to set up chairs.
9) Focus: To quote Dirty Harry, they know their limitations. They don’t pretend to have an ultimate answer for ending abortion. They don’t get bogged down in alleged root causes. Rather, they focus on the one thing they strive to do better than anyone else: train pro-life advocates to persuasively defend their views in the marketplace of ideas.
10) Humility: They don’t worry about being original thinkers, though often they are. Instead, they see themselves as translators—leaders who master the intellectual arguments of the smart guys (and gals) and then translate those ideas, with attribution, into language lay people can understand.
I also noticed how at key points in the conversation, they were smarter or more skilled than me. For example, one team member suggested a simple word change that completely transformed our parental notification letter, a change that has alluded me for years. Two others are better at negotiating the use of visual aids. Another excels at handling the emotional critic. Another is masterful at graciously communicating gospel truth to post-abortion teens.
Also, don’t think for a moment that I was smart enough to proactively recruit this team. I wasn’t. Nor did I invest the above skill set in any of them. They already had those traits. Indeed, they bugged me until I was finally smart enough to recognize the blue chip players in front of me. After that, my role was to get them in the game and watch them flourish. More “recruits” are on the way in 2014. LTI is blessed.