Bonus Episode: Live2Lead 2020 Takeaways

If you attended out first-ever virtual Live2Lead on October 9th, you probably walked away feeling like you just drank from a fire hydrant! Each speaker offered an impactful teaching that added value to tens of thousands of leaders that day.

A couple of those messages came from John Maxwell himself, but John doesn’t just attend Live2Lead to teach. He attends to learn just like you, and he gleaned some helpful takeaways from each of our wonderful speakers. So, today we’re bringing you a bonus episode in which John Maxwell shares his greatest takeaways from Live2Lead 2020.

For more episodes of The John Maxwell Leadership Podcast, visit the Episodes Page. Don’t forget to subscribe so that you can receive updates on new episodes and direct links to the free bonus resources we offer for every regularly scheduled episode.


Mark Cole:       Hey, Mark Cole here. Welcome to the John Maxwell Leadership podcast. I'm in studio today with John Maxwell. John, I'm so glad you're here.

John Maxwell:  I'm delighted to be with you, and very excited about what we're going to talk about today.

Mark Cole:       Now, let me tell you, so this is how it is working alongside John Maxwell. We had a little bit of a break today getting to talk to a couple of your friends today, Nik Wallenda and then Pat Lencioni. And we had a little bit of a break and you said, "John ..." I mean, you said to me, "Mark, I want to talk to my podcast listeners."

John Maxwell:  Yes.

Mark Cole:       "Let's not sit around and just not make something possible or something fruitful, something productive. Let's do something." So gang, we're here with you and we're talking ... And John, what I would love to do here is we've spent an entire month, the entire month of September to October, we spent talking about the Live2Lead simulcast event.

John Maxwell:  That's right.

Mark Cole:       And it was powerful. 50,000 plus people attended. Many of you are still going to listen in when this podcast is released, but we don't just put on events, we practice what we preach and we learn from events.

John Maxwell:  We sure do.

Mark Cole:       And so, today what I would love to do for our podcast, and podcast family, we're so glad you joined us, but I would love to hear what did John Maxwell, what did we learn? What was our takeaways from the Live2Lead event? Now, let me just remind those of you that were sleeping under a rock or just subscribed to our podcast, Live2Lead is a half day event where John Maxwell asks some of his friends to come and do a global event. And this year, Steve Harvey was a part of that, Kat Cole, who just as an incredible leader over this huge franchise organization. Craig Groeschel, big leader in the faith community. Then, Alan Mulally, senior leader at Boeing and at Ford Motor Company. So John, these are the type of people that was joining you on stage, but I sit there and watched you on the front row the entire day, you have to teach, but you're sitting there and you're learning.

John Maxwell:  Oh, absolutely.

Mark Cole:       And I got to tell you in front of our podcast listeners, to watch you not show up just to teach, but to watch you show up to learn, is one of my favorite things to share with people about you. You're the speaker, you're the personality, it's your event. You're not backstage smoozing and connecting with people, you're on the front row learning, and I'm thanking you for that right now.

John Maxwell:  Well, thank you. But you hear me talk all the time about the fact that experience isn't the best teacher, evaluated experience is the best teacher. So, L2L is an incredible experience and tens of thousands of people not only saw us live that day, but tens of thousands of people over the next few months will be able to see that through our coaches.

Mark Cole:       Yep.

John Maxwell:  But what is so exciting for me, when I got ready for L2L wasn't that I was going to speak, I already knew what I was going to say, but what were the other speakers going to share? And so, my highlight at L2L isn't doing the speaking, my highlight at L2L is sitting on the front row learning and taking notes because we cannot give what we do not have. And if all of the listeners on the podcast would just, again, begin to understand great communication, great teaching, great vision casting, doesn't begin with a dream or a vision, it begins with the change within you of growth and learning.

Mark Cole:       Wow.

John Maxwell:  And the moment that I become a grower and the moment that I become a learner, the moment I become teachable, now I'm beginning to develop a reservoir that's going to allow me to teach, cast vision, and do all the things that we think of leadership. Hey, another way to put it is you got to fill the well before you can draw water.

Mark Cole:       Yeah.

John Maxwell:  And so, I'm always filling the well. And on L2L I thought our speakers were powerful-

Mark Cole:       Exceptional.

John Maxwell:  ... and I learned a lot and I thought it would be good to now ... Okay. Remember this. After the experience, after L2L, you walk out and say, "Oh, that was great. Oh, that [inaudible 00:04:17] animation. Oh my gosh. I'm so glad that I went to that." And then, we never maximize it. You see, the maximization of every experience comes in reflection and then application. Not only reflection, but application. I have to reflect and think, and then I need to act and do.

Mark Cole:       Yeah.

John Maxwell:  And so, after L2L the question is not, was it a great L2L? It was a great, great, great conference. The question is, what am I doing and what are you doing, and what are our podcast listeners doing with what they learned? Because again, learning is overrated unless it brings improvement. And so, it's not, what do I know? It's what do I know that I applied, that improved my life, that makes a difference.

And every speaker, every speaker gave us some principles or thoughts that if we just now take it and apply, they make us better. And so, podcast listeners, it's like, you probably many of you, saw L2L, participated with it, but now we're coming back right behind it and pretty much we're saying, okay, let's underline L2L, let's highlight L2L, let's put in bold print L2L. What did you learn that you're going to be able to take and apply to your life right now?

Mark Cole:       Beautiful.

John Maxwell:  And that's huge.

Mark Cole:       Hey, well let's start with Steve Harvey. Give us how many ever takeaways you'll give us actually, just, what did you take away from Steve Harvey?

John Maxwell:  Well, of course, first thing you take away from Steve Harvey is laughter. The man is truly ... Isn't he truly one of the funniest people?

Mark Cole:       Absolutely.

John Maxwell:  And he can take anything, anything, any mundane thing that happens, and either visually through his expressions or verbally through what he says, he can make it bigger than it was and make it funnier than you could ever imagine. So, first of all, when Steve Harvey talks, you're going to laugh and it's like the old, old commercial, when EF Hutton speaks, everyone listens. Well, when Steve Harvey talks, everyone laughs. But in the midst of the laughter and enjoyment of ... You enjoy Steve Harvey, he just made some great statements that I wrote down. One of them is that, "Your career is what you get paid for, but your calling is what you're made for now." Now, that's just brilliant.

Mark Cole:       That is brilliant.

John Maxwell:  And I'll put it another way, in application that is, if you have a career, you can quit anytime, but if you have a calling, there is no quit. There's no, I'm done, with a calling. If it's a calling, it was given to you by someone greater than you. And so, you don't have the right to all of a sudden opt out and say, "I think I'm done. I think I'm going to wrap it up." It's a calling. It's bigger than you. It's beyond you. It is going to follow you. And so, therefore he, Steve Harvey in that one statement, okay, I get paid for my career, but I was made for my calling. And by the way, don't make calling mystical. Don't make it mystical. Your calling is using the gifts that God gave you, equipped you, your calling is using those gifts for the purpose of helping other people, that's your calling. And so, that was a huge one that Steve had. And then, you know what Mark? If you don't mind, I'm going to jump in one more, is that okay?

Mark Cole:       Yes, yes.

John Maxwell:  I'm not one to hog the whole deal. But in a while, when we talk about Alan Mulally, I'm going to ask you to talk about that, because you said something today at breakfast, to me, that was just, I thought very important about Alan and about you and about your leadership. But Steve Harvey also said, "I've been both successful and not successful." And what I thought was incredible, he said, "Both are hard." See, we think not being successful as hard. We think being successful as easy. He said, "No, it's hard being successful and it's hard also not being successful." And so, he went on and said, "You have to make a decision during the process to take the hard with not being successful. The options are limited." And so, when he said that, I got to thinking about it and I thought, we are not realistic with success. We somehow think that success is easy and that once we have it, you get to keep it. And those aren't true.

So, the other day I had someone send this to me, that just really ... What I love to do is hear a teaching like that, and then go get some other material that just bolsters it and substantiates it. And here it is, and I think this is good because, Mark, one of the things I teach all the time is everything worthwhile is uphill.

Mark Cole:       Yeah.

John Maxwell:  Okay. But Steve Harvey would say something else, everything worthwhile is uphill. And Steve Harvey would say, "Uphill is hard." But now, here's what's surprising, he'd say, "Downhill's hard too." See, we think downhill is easy, uphill is hard. He'd say, "No, they're different hills, but they both represent hard." And so, I got this just a few hours ago, really. Well, in fact, while we've been in the studio. And here it is, it said, "Marriage is hard, divorce is hard, choose your hard. Obesity is hard, being fit is hard, choose your hard. Hey, being in debt is hard, being financially disciplined is hard, choose your hard. Communicating is hard, but not communicating is hard, choose your hard. Life will never be easy, it will always be hard, but we can choose our hard." Isn't that good?

Mark Cole:       That is so good. That is so good. It's so relevant, so relevant to what you're taking away there from Steve. I'm sitting here, what I learned from Steve is his nonverbal communication.

John Maxwell:  Oh my.

Mark Cole:       You highlighted this at L2L.

John Maxwell:  Oh, he's the best.

Mark Cole:       But watching him, he could be talking about the most difficult hardship, financial hardship, lost his family, lost his pet, lost everything. And you watch his facial expressions, and by the time he's done, you're laughing like crazy, speaking of hard. But I loved watching what I think is two of the best communicators that's not just good with their words, but good with their connection with people. And you highlighting that with Steve and saying, "Steve, I can put you on mute and still be entertained." Which that's what Steve wants to be. I love that you guys did this whole digital product on communication called Elevate Your Communication.

John Maxwell:  Oh, I loved this.

Mark Cole:       And gang, I'm going to tell you, Maxwell, our podcast family. If you missed L2L, we're trying to bring it to you today in sound bites, but you need to go be a part and purchase this Elevate Your Communication digital product, that John Maxwell, Steve Harvey, the hardest working person in show biz, these two put together a six hour program that will radically change your life. Go to, search Elevate Your Communication and you'll find that. John, let's-

John Maxwell:  Wait, wait, wait, wait.

Mark Cole:       Yeah.

John Maxwell:  Let me just say, when Steve and I were in the studio all day doing this communication and ... Warren Buffet said, "The most important skill that you can ever learn is communication." Because no matter what you're doing, you have to be able to cast vision, communicate and connect. And that day with Steve was ... I've done a lot of digital. I've done a lot of recordings. I've done ... Oh my gosh, hundreds of days in studios. And let me tell you, I've never had a day that was as much fun as it was with Steve.

Mark Cole:       It was powerful.

John Maxwell:  I mean, when I finished, I was laughing to the car. But what I love about it was Steve is such a great talker, such a great storyteller. And he would tell one of his stories that are very funny and then I'd try to come behind him and underline the communication principles that would really work for someone in that process. And so, when they get ... Finally called elevate?

Mark Cole:       Elevate Your Communication.

John Maxwell:  Elevate Your Communication. So, when you get this digital resource, it's going to be fun, you're going to enjoy it, but what's going to be powerful about it is all the communication principles you're going to learn out of watching and listening to Steve and what he did.

Mark Cole:       So, let's go to Kat Cole. So, she is the COO, President of Focus Brands, so a subsidiary of Cinnabon, and just an incredible leader. And she gave a ton of good stuff, but what's one or two things you took from her?

John Maxwell:  Well, okay, this is huge. She did a such outstanding job talking about humility, curiosity, courage, and confidence, and how that they are all related, but how they're different. She said, "Humility ..." Okay, podcast listeners, this is what we do. We give you material. We give you meat. We give you something when you're done that you can take and apply to your life. "Humility," she said, "is deep belief that we can learn from others. Curiosity is the willingness to ask questions. Courage, is you speak up when we're uncomfortable and confidence is the belief that I know that I can figure it out." In other words, say, yes, tell the world and figure it out. And those four things, I love the way she interwove them and put them together, and it just made a tremendous of sense. After she'd talked about humility, curiosity, courage, and confidence, she said something that I just thought, I wish every L2L participant right now could put everything on hold. And they would just say, "I'm going to practice just what you said, Kat."

She said, "Get comfortable asking for help." And she said the obvious, "There's always things going on that we don't know. There's always people around us that know more than we know." And she said, "If you don't get comfortable asking for help, if you've got to have all the answers and you've got to be the answer man or woman, if you've got to be the one, you're never going to have the growth that you could have by just humbling yourself enough to say, 'You know what? Help me with this. Tell me what you know about this.'" I often say that the greatest compliment you can ever give another person is asking their opinion or the greatest compliment you can give a person is asking them for help.

But I loved her saying, "Get comfortable in asking for help," because I think a lot of leaders really slow down their potential because there's something about them that they feel it's a weakness asking somebody to help them. When I think it's a strength. And here's what I know. Here's what I know. This is important for all of us to catch today. Here's what I know. Most of what I know, I didn't know, until I asked for help. That's what I know. So, if I'm really good at knowing, if I'm really good at leading, most of the leadership I learned from somebody else. Watching them, asking questions.

And so, it's very humbling because then all of a sudden, Mark, you begin to understand and realize that who I am today is the result of me having a teachable spirit and asking questions and let people speak into my life. And this is huge. In my book, No Limits, I talk about awareness and I talk about the blind spot, and the fact that we have blind spots, I have blind spots. There's no such thing as a self-aware person. It's just a person that's teachable that other people have spoken into their life and helped them uncover that blind spot in their life. So, I just thought that Kat was outstanding in piecing all that together.

Mark Cole:       In the Q&A afterwards, what I picked up from Kat is she really is a person that went from entry level to now senior. In her philosophy on people and listening to people and staying relatable to people has been unchanged throughout that process. I want to go to Alan because he also referenced to me ... And if you're okay, I'd like to share just a little bit per your invitation. We're in the middle of a mandate that you've given us to be one company. You've started dozens of companies, but most recently we've had seven. Seven P&L centers that you've challenged us over the next three to five years, that you want them to act, function, and interact with one another as one company.

John Maxwell:  Yes.

Mark Cole:       And those of you that don't know Alan, he spent years, 20 plus years at Boeing in leadership and eventually led at Boeing and then was recruited over to Ford and led through the 2007, 2008. So, he led Boeing after 9/11, when his product was used as missiles with people on it, to destroy buildings in New York and other places. And then, now he's leading Ford. And he said at the podcast, he said, "The same thing that I used at Boeing is the same thing that I began to implement at Ford to make this brand that had five or six dozen brands, car brands, into acting like one company, one organization." And so, he touts this thing called the working together system.

John Maxwell:  Yes. Yes.

Mark Cole:       Now, here's what I love about Alan. He's an engineer. Okay. Get the picture. He's an engineer, he's a corporate leader. But when you sit down and talk with Alan, his leadership is very systematic, but he's incredibly approachable with it. I love Peter Drucker, I love reading some of his stuff, but I got to be honest with you, it's extremely hard for me. It's very hard to get past some of the sterile things.

John Maxwell:  It's a little dry.

Mark Cole:       Yeah.

John Maxwell:  It's a little dry.

Mark Cole:       To get to a leadership nugget that will work in a relational company.

John Maxwell:  Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Mark Cole:       But Alan, on the other hand, really takes his people working together system and makes it possible. And I was telling you at breakfast this morning, before we recorded this podcast, some of the things that he shared with us will become the pivot ... or not the pivot-

John Maxwell:  No question.

Mark Cole:       ... it will become the stake in the ground-

John Maxwell:  Yeah. No question.

Mark Cole:       ... that we use to develop and build this one team one dream that we have. But here's what I love about Alan. We did that Q&A, you don't even know he's got a galley copy of your upcoming book, Change Your World.

John Maxwell:  I have no idea.

Mark Cole:       And now, again, Mr. Leader of Boeing and Ford, two of the greatest icon brands in the world, he goes on the screen and says, "This book is what it's all about." Now, you saw him a week later, and I want you to tell just a little bit of that story, and then I'm going to talk about Change Your World for a moment, before we run out of time.

John Maxwell:  Well, first of all, I was very frustrated, I'm here and I had the picture of Alan pointing to my Change Your World book, talking about how good it is, and I hit the wrong thing. And now, hey, now I'm in the video section. I mean, dear Lord, will I always be incompetent with technology? And the answer is yes, only I seem to be getting worse every day, not better. So, it's downhill. Okay. And it's hard going downhill, trust me, it's very hard going downhill. But he was endorsing my books, so the team sent the manuscript to him. I didn't know that, but it was the galley copy, so it didn't looks like the book that's going to come out. And he read it, and he came back and said, "John, this is your best book." And he just was so complimentary. Well, that was on a Friday, and then on Monday, Jimmy Blanchard, who's a member at Augusta, is a beautiful friend, a beautiful-

Mark Cole:       And a board member.

John Maxwell:  Board member. Oh my gosh. And a great supporter of EQUIP, our nonprofit side. And so, he invited three of us to go over and just play golf with him at Augusta. So, Chris Hodges and Lee and-

Mark Cole:       [inaudible 00:21:04].

John Maxwell:  Yeah. And then, myself, were privileged to be there. So, we're having dinner on Monday night and here comes Alan Mulally into the room. And I look at him and he looks at me and he's shocked that I'm there, and Alan's a member there. He comes over, he gives me a big hug, and I introduced him to the other three guys and we have a great conversation. And then he just begins telling everybody about Change Your World book. And it's like, is there anything better than being at Augusta, playing golf, having dinner in this clubhouse that would be the envy of any golfer to be able to play there, and then have Alan Mulally tell all the members at Augusta that are in that dining room that day about my book, Change Your World?

Mark Cole:       That's awesome.

John Maxwell:  Yeah. We ended up kissing each other. It was just like, oh, come on-

Mark Cole:       That's beautiful.

John Maxwell:  ... this is better than life. But when we were having our meeting this morning, what I really want to go to is you were talking about ... Because you're over the John Maxwell Enterprise, Mark, and you're responsible to take us to a whole new level. And you were telling about how Alan has really mentored you and how you have tried to follow his leadership example with the John Maxwell Enterprise. And I just think it would be fantastic for maybe three or four minutes to just take off on that and help us to really understand what you're learning from him and how it's just beginning to add value, and it's beginning to help you in your life. Could you do that?

Mark Cole:       Yeah, for sure. And contextually, again, going back. So, you take this multifaceted enterprise. You take this, to be honest with you, John, and this is our family on the podcast, but you take this iconic brand as it relates to leadership and personal growth that you've created, and you take this calling of change in your world, we're not done. You're 73, but you're casting a vision that is bigger than anything, in my 20 years, you've ever cast.

John Maxwell:  Best days are ahead. Best days are ahead.

Mark Cole:       Podcast listeners feel my pain for a minute. You've got one, John handing me a baton and saying, "Run boy and run faster." And you've got another thing of saying, "Hey, but by the way, our best days are not behind us. Our best days are in front of us. And by the way, we're in this together." And I'm thankful for that, John, you're not giving it to us and saying, "Go figure it out." You're in this with us. But we have all of this different approach to how we have created our ecosystem, our organizations. But to really get to a changed individual, like Change Your World tells us to, to get to a changed community, which is what we're going to do. There's going to be thousands, John, I'll commit for our podcast listeners. And y'all, don't even know I'm getting ready to commit you to, but we're going to start round tables with your Change Your World values that you're doing. This community will be big on this. Why? Because there is a deficit of values-based, people-centric, servant leadership, in the world today. Look at politics-

John Maxwell:  Stop. Stop.

Mark Cole:       Okay.

John Maxwell:  I just don't want them to miss your statement. If you don't see the lack of values and that we've lost our way in our country and in this world, you have been in hibernation for the last five, six years, because we have. And you and I, when we go to nations and they want us to do transformation, our easiest job, we don't ever have to convince them that we need to make some changes, that we need transformation, that we need to go back to values, that we've never had a pushback from any president, prime minister. They all look at us and say, "That's why we're asking you to come in. We've got to get back on the right path of values." And so, I mean, it's just obvious to everyone. Now's the time for transformation and changing our world.

Mark Cole:       Yeah. And so, the vision is bigger. The expectation is greater. The sense of unity and the need to acquiesce and come together is unquestionable in its requirement of us.

John Maxwell:  That's right.

Mark Cole:       And so, Alan goes with this one Ford mechanism and he talks about, "We're going to have a working together system." And we've got great people, John, you pray for winners every day and guess what? God answered the prayers. We've got winners.

John Maxwell:  That's true.

Mark Cole:       But are we working together as effectively as we need to? And the answer is no. And so, what I took from Alan, that I will challenge you, is a working together system that says people first, everyone is included. We will have a compelling vision. Well, that's an understatement. We'll have clear performance goals. We will have one plan. What we're working on, and what I shared with you guys this morning was, we're working on everybody is working on the same plan.

We've had a business that made your content available to entrepreneurs, a business that made your content available to corporate, a business that had your content available to personal growth junkies, people that are passionate about growing. We've had a business that is about making your content available to the faith community, to the international community. Well, now we're all on one plan and I'm taking from Alan Mulally that the way we're going to do that is by having one plan that results in facts and data that demonstrate results.

Here's John Maxwell's mandate. You ask him all the time, what is your bucket list? It's to see a country transformed, and that's what we're doing. There's multiple other things in the one system, but here's the final thing I'll share with you, and I've got so much more, but he talks about practices. Now, his practices may be better for him than my practices are, and my practices may not be very good for you listening today, but this is our practices, John. And by the way, you're never good the first time, they will get better-

John Maxwell:  But we're practicing.

Mark Cole:       But here's our practicing.

John Maxwell:  We're practicing. We're practicing our practices.

Mark Cole:       Our practice ... Relentless implementation. We will always be producing and implementing. We will pursue excellence. Anything worth doing is worth doing right and doing with excellence.

John Maxwell:  Yes.

Mark Cole:       We value people. Now, that's a value of ours, that's a mandate of ours, but it is a practice of ours. We expect our team to value the people on our team, to value the people that partner with us, to value our clients. We will drive strategy. We will not wake up one day and accidentally arrive somewhere. It will be with the law of navigation that you teach. And then finally, we will demonstrate vision. So many people tell their vision, so many people try to sell their vision, but we're going to demonstrate it. We're going to be the vision. And so, that's a little bit of what I picked up from Alan. It was just really powerful.

John Maxwell:  Well, I think it's so exciting again, because what you're saying, and I think maybe our takeaway on this podcast is this, all of us are better when we have a teachable spirit, all of us are better when we ask questions, all of us are better when we realize that experience isn't the best teacher, we have to reflect and take action on it. And I think that our summary of Live2Lead today, Mark, has been just a lesson to everyone on the podcast that every ... Okay, here's the statement, I like to say this, every day has improvement possibilities, every person has improvement possibilities, so let's take the possibilities and let's make them possible in our life. And that only happens when we evaluate, reflect, and then take action, and that's what we did on L2L.

Mark Cole:       Yep. And so, we've talked a lot about Live2Lead. We talked a lot about leading up to the event on October the ninth, but you can still be a part of this. Some of our coaches are still hosting, there's 300 of them around the world. We've got some virtual events still coming up. Go to Live, the number 2, and you'll be able to get more information. Thank you, John Maxwell.

John Maxwell:  Oh, thank you.

Mark Cole:       Thank you, podcast listeners for letting us share with you that we don't just have events to help others, we have events to help ourselves.

John Maxwell:  Yeah.

Mark Cole:       And that's what Live2Lead did for us, John, and thank you for sharing today. Hey, podcast listeners, make sure you subscribe. Make sure you pass along to others. Let's grow this community and let's lead.

1 thought on “Bonus Episode: Live2Lead 2020 Takeaways”

  1. Hello! There is so much to take in from this podcast. It’s great to hear you all sitting in the front row of the events to learn from others. “You can’t quit your calling.” Very true. Also, when Mr. Cole said that there is a deficit of values-based, people-centric servant leadership in the world today.” Powerful.
    Thank you all so much!

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