Influencing others makes a leader--Business Forum speaker explores real success

No one can be a real success alone, John Maxwell told 1,600 businesspeople and professionals over quiche and coffee October 26 during the Fresno Pacific University 2007 Business Forum.

Whoever said it's lonely at the top was not a leader. "If you're at the top all alone, nobody's following you," said Maxwell, an author, speaker and consultant on leadership.

The forum began at 7:30 a.m. in the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center. Events then moved to the FPU campus, where Maxwell addressed several hundred students, faculty and staff in a College Hour chapel presentation in the Special Events Center, and about 150 community and campus leaders at a luncheon in Ashley Auditorium of McDonald Hall. His title for the day was "How to Become a Real Success."

To be successful requires a definition of success. Noting that the record crowd at the breakfast could come up with dozens of descriptions, Maxwell suggested three:

* Know your purpose in life: examine your passions and strengths to find a direction that will stabilize you in difficult times.
* Grow to your maximum potential: "growth is not an automatic process," Maxwell said, quoting a friend. "Your potential is God's gift to you, and what you do with it is your gift to God."

* Sow seeds to benefit others: value people, make yourself more valuable, know how to relate to people and do the things God values. "Leadership is the ability to influence people," Maxwell said.

Maxwell has influenced Fortune 500 companies and first-line supervisors with his philosophy of "everything rises and falls on leadership." His speaking engagements attract over 350,000 people a year, and many of his books--which include "Thinking for a Change," "Failing Forward: Turning Your Failures into Stepping Stones for Success" and "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership"--have been on the best-seller list in the "New York Times," "Business Week," "Wall Street Journal," "USA Today" and "CBA Marketplace."

The annual FPU Business Forum brings notable speakers to Fresno to teach and inspire the community on topics central to the university: leadership, ethics and values, creating healthy communities and organizations. The forum has become one of the largest events of its kind in Fresno, attracting sold-out audiences.

Sponsors were Wells Fargo, "The Business Journal," Beachwood Advisory Group, Dumont Printing, KJewel 99.3 FM, Bank of the West, CoBank, Pardini's, Quiring General, Barlocker Insurance Services, Bowman and Company (LLP), Contract Interiors, County Bank, Johanson Transportation Service, Kaiser Permanente, Summa Properties, Wawona Frozen Foods and Baker, Peterson & Franklin (CPA, LLP).