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T.D. Jakes Talks Game-Changing Leadership at ELS

By Amanda Morad | September 20, 2013

T.D. Jakes addresses more than 800 people at the Sept. 20 ELS luncheon.
Photo by Alex Perry.

Regent University's Executive Leadership Series (ELS) welcomed T.D. Jakes on Friday, September 20. Before a crowd of 800 attendees—thelargest attendance ever in the series' nearly 10-year history—Jakes talked about leading a game-changing team. Jakes, a charismatic leader, visionary, provocative thinker and entrepreneur, serves as senior pastor of The Potter's House, a global humanitarian organization and 30,000-member church located in Dallas.

In order to change the game, Jakes said, "You must surround yourself with intelligence and instinct."

The balance of intelligence and instinct is what moves vision forward, he explained. "The secret sauce to living your life on all cylinders is to surround yourself with the right people," Jakes said. "Your life depends upon it: Who has your work ethic? Who has your drive? Who has your dream?"

He encouraged attendees to choose the people around them wisely, because it's only as a team that a vision can move forward. And visionary leadership at the head of the right team is key: "If you're really good at what you do, it's not so much about what you're doing but about what you're dreaming," Jakes said. "Don't stop seeing; don't stop dreaming; don't stop going for amazing."

Instinct, as Jakes described it, is the feeling one gets while driving a manual car in the wrong gear. "You know instinctively that the pull is there and you should be further than you are," he noted. This coming together of intelligence and instinct can also help leaders discern where they or their team may be running off track.

"When you see things you haven't touched yet but you work with people who only want to sustain the environment, it becomes a problem," he said. "There's a culture that evolves that isn't written in any book, and sometimes it develops in a way that's against what you're trying to do.

"Is the culture you're developing harmonious to the vision? If it's not, you're spending all your time running a nursery and putting out fires. ... You cannot change the game if you're not willing to critique the team."

All this comes down to living life, however long, in a way that allows for great accomplishment. "We only have a short window to do what we have to do here," Jakes noted. "It's a horrible feeling knowing you've missed a window. ... Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today. All we have is the fierce urgency of right now."

Using Blockbuster's rapid decline as an example, he explained that tomorrow's goals can't survive on yesterday's vision. "Whenever people get comfortable with what has always been, you look around and realize the game has changed," he said.

Jakes had attendees ask each other what's next, inciting a buzz of excitement and hope in the room. "If your vision is within your reach, I'm worried," he said. "What do you need faith or fire for if you can reach it? I need faith so that I can reach the unreachable."

In closing, Jakes noted that success is never accidental. "Is your team living on the edge or playing it safe?" he asked. "People have not met your best self if you're not living on the edge, a little bit scared. If you're going to reach your highest potential, dont go for coffee; go for crazy. Go for the edge."

Named "America's Best Preacher" by TIME magazine, Jakes also ranks among the 25 Most Influential African Americans, Britain's 100 Most Influential Black People, and EBONY's Power100. He is also the recent winner of the BET Honors Award, Stellar Award, NAACP Image Award and McDonald's prestigious 365Black Award for his humanitarian efforts.

Jakes' worldwide impact spans film, television, radio, best-selling books, and conference series. He has ventured into Hollywood with the release of five films to date, including Jumping the Broom, On the Seventh Day, and SPARKLE. Next up for Jakes is the production of Heaven is for Real.

Jakes is also the founder of the T.D. Jakes School of Leadership, instituted by T.D. Jakes and Regent's Professional & Continuing Education division (PCE), which provides world-class educational tools and resources for leaders seeking higher learning opportunities to grow and excel in their professional and personal development. "Our goal is to produce leaders who will lead and shape the world of the future," Jakes said.

Visit the ELS website for more information about upcoming speakers.


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E-mail: mhughes@regent.edu



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