Global Leadership Summit teaches student that a leader doesn’t have to always be right

Written by Kendell Combs, Junior, Agribusiness Management & Agricultural Communication

Every year in August, the Global Leadership Summit takes place all over the world. This past summer while interning at Van Drunen Farms, Grant Reynout (Senior; AgriFinance; Dyer, IN) had the opportunity to attend and volunteer at the Global Leadership Summit. For the past few years, Van Drunen Farms has been a host site for the summit to bring leaders in the community together to grow and learn more about leadership in the small town of Momence, Illinois. The summit consists of leaders who speak on different aspects of leadership. British-American author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek spoke as well as the founder of Shake Shack, Daniel Meyer, at this year’s summit.

Grant is very thankful for this opportunity he had to serve the community by assisting them with directions and providing them with refreshments during the event. Not only did he learn from his volunteering experience, but Grant was also able to sit in on a few of the sessions and learn from them. Out of all the speakers, Danny Meyer was hands down his favorite. Danny told a story about a time at one of his restaurants in New York City and the irrelevancy of being right. Grant said that the story sounded exactly like something what he would do, which is why it clicked with him.

To set the scene, an investment banker and a few of his clients came in for dinner. This was the investment bankers fourth time which qualified him as a regular. When they wrapped up dinner, the investment banker asked for the finest bottle of Chardonnay. Danny went in the back and came out with Premier Cru Meursault listed at $45 a bottle. The man looked and said, “That’s not a Chardonnay,” and Danny said, “It is a Chardonnay.” The man goes on to say that is isn’t for the second time. Looking at his guests with them all nodding their heads, Danny replies, “Of course it’s a Chardonnay. There’s only one white burgundy that’s not a Chardonnay.” This banter continues, so Danny finally stops and goes in the back to grab a bottle of Sonoma Cutrer listed for $35. When Danny returns, the investment banker said, “Now that’s a Chardonnay.”

Danny’s point of the story is that people waste a lot of energy on being right. He said that “being right can be used as the most dangerous shield in the world of hospitality and in life.” The one thing Grant really took away from this is that being a good leader doesn’t always revolve around being right. Danny emphasized that sometimes success comes because a good leader lets things go when the best thing to do is let go of them. Grant said that he really enjoys being right (like many of us probably do) and hearing this way of thinking shocked him. He began practicing letting things go in areas of his leadership and has noticed improvements such as arguments occurring less often with his team. Grant believes that “everyone needs to challenge themselves in becoming a better leader. You can always get better.”

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