Since Will gave a brief recap of Andy Stanley's first session at Catalyst, I thought I would continue by giving you a recap of the second session featuring Malcolm Gladwell. While much of the focus of Catalyst is aimed at churches, Catalyst is designed as a conference aimed at leaders of any type of industry and they usually try to bring in speakers that reflect that. Malcolm - a journalist, author, and pop sociologist - is considered by many inside and outside of the church to be at the forefront of thinking about culture and its influences on society.
Malcolm tackled the issue of mistakes that leaders make. Using the story of the Battle of Chancellorsville and General Joe Hooker, he illustrated one of the biggest mistakes that leaders make. Even though Hooker and the Union army far outnumbered Lee and the Confederate army, the Confederate army ended up defeating the Union army in large part due to mistakes that Hooker made.
The night before the battle began, Hooker made the infamous statement that "God Almighty could not keep us from victory." It was Hooker's hubris that led him to make tactical mistakes that led to his army's defeat and ultimately his removal as leader of the Union forces.
Gladwell pointed out that most leaders fail not because of incompetence or a lack of knowledge. People who are incompetent or ignorant rarely ascend to leadership positions. Most leaders fail because of an over-confidence in their knowledge or control of a situation.
Ironically, during times of crisis, many people want leaders who are bold, daring and decisive. However, the greatest need during a time of crisis are leaders who are humble and willing to listen to others.
-- Peace, Jamie