GLS20 Session Notes: The Metrics of Migrative Leadership

Published August 6, 2020

The following are notes from Bishop T.D. Jakes’ talk at #GLS20. Use them to help you apply the content you learned at the Summit.

Most people with influence survive by living within their element—staying in their zone, doing what they do—talking to people like them, who think like them, who vote like them, who dress like them, who walk like them, who talk like them.

Moving away from this space feels vulnerable because we might not have the power and the influence we have when we are on our own turf. In this session, Bishop T.D. Jakes helped us learn to migrate in our thinking—to navigate our current, rapidly changing world and the conundrum we find ourselves in. We can no longer ignore the people we can’t understand or control.


Concepts inform our decisions and cause us to be able to make the kinds of decisions that lead us into more effectiveness and more soul.

  • Metrics are absolutely everything.
  • Metrics help us evaluate, “What does success look like?”
Relevance Of Migrative Metrics:
  • When adding the word “migrative” to metrics, it suggests a move—a change—to think differently in order to be effective.
Questions To Ask Yourself:
  • Am I comfortable with the journey?
  • Am I going outside of my element? Because most people with influence survive by living within their element.

What Happens When We Don’t Migrate:

  • We stay in our zone—we talk to people like us—who think like us, who vote like us, who dress like us, who walk like us and who talk like us.
  • People don’t always feel so good about having to move someplace because moving means I might be vulnerable—moving means I might not have the power and the influence I have when I’m on my own turf.
STORY | Social Media Comment:

Jakes read the comments of his social media page one day—something he tries not to do. On this particular day a young man commented and cursed him out. The commenter wrote how Jakes has it easy and doesn’t know what it’s like living in the world. The commenter accused Jakes of being out of touch as the commenter lived in the hood while Jakes lives in the inner city, is a rich pastor with a nice house in an affluent neighborhood. The man accused him of not understanding what it was like to struggle and be like him. Jakes was outraged when he read the comment.

Story of How TD Jakes Grew Up:
  • Ragged house in the hills of West Virginia on a corner of a cliff hanging off a rock.
  • No grass in his front yard and thought only rich people had doorbells.
  • Knew what it was like to be broke.
  • Ate government cheese and cut coupons from newspaper clippings.
  • Understood what it meant for his mother to have “Top Value Stamps”.

1. Recognize Reality Is Different Than Our Own

Jakes was able to pause to digest the words of the man on his social media page and began to understand. He thought maybe this is the way the man speaks and isn’t cursing him out.

  • Look at the truth behind what is said.
  • Admit when the other person’s reality might be right or “kind of” right.
  • Recognize how we share similarities, but we do not always share the same experience.

Even though Jakes and the man share the same skin color, ancestry and heritage, they did not share the same experience. Jakes began to analyze that how we see the world is a reflection of our worldview and past experiences.

  • Leadership & authority positions produce willful blindness.
Willful Blindness

Willful Blindness is seldom required to have to think about what the world looks like for somebody else.

  • Having the benefit to choose/see/ignore those around us because we live in the cubicles of our own control.
  • In that controlled environment, we control the music played, atmosphere, height of the desk, etc.
  • “Everything around us is in a controlled environment except we are living in a time that cannot be controlled.”
  • We cannot control a pandemic.
  • We cannot control racial turbulence.
  • We cannot control movements like Black Lives Matter.
  • Questions arise for those in any kind of leadership organization.
You Cannot Afford To Be Ignorant Of Someone Else’s Language:
  • Businesses exist under the reality that our truths are migrating.
  • Stats are migrating.
  • Our world is migrating.
  • Influence is migrating.

You Can’t Assume That Your Client Is You.

If you own a restaurant, you can’t design the menu around what you like to eat because your client may not like to eat what you like to eat.

What Do We Do When…
  1. We are making decisions that affect people we don’t know
  2. We offend people that we don’t know
  3. We alienate people that we don’t know
  4. Can we really afford to spend all of our resources on cleanup and inviting PR people do damage control over the blind spots that we had because we don’t have migrative thinking?
STORY | Reflecting on the Social Media Comment:

It occurred to Jakes when listening to the young man, as he stepped past the way in which he talked and gravitated into a deeper understanding of reverse reflection to see the world through his eyes. Jakes understood what it looked like to him—what he accused Jakes of despite not being that. jakes shared the truths of the falsifications listed earlier.

Migrate thinking into a world that is uncomfortable in order to be relevant outside of the universe of one’s own influence.

Reverse Reflection:
  • Trying to understand the world through the eyes of another.

Think outside of the box because the box you’re in is too small for the world that you have.

  • Don’t rely on this for creativity—turn the box all the way around to think as if you were the other person.
  • Not just so that you might have empathy toward them, but so that you might prepare your future with them in mind.
  • You cannot think like you and prepare your future with them in mind.
STORY | Pastoral Role Insight:

Jakes shared his role as a Pastor includes speaking, preaching, teaching, ministering, counseling and marital counseling. He makes a living breaking up fights—a spiritual referee.

  • When a husband and a wife come into his office, they’re in dire straits. They don’t come in the early stages—they wait until all hell is breaking loose.
  • As a last resort, on the way to the courthouse, they stop by his office because they read that Jesus walked on water and they think he ought to be able to raise their marriage from the dead.
  • The truth of the matter is Jakes cannot raise marriages from the dead.
  • “But what I can do is interpret people who are talking over each other and not really hearing each other. What I can do is train the husband to think from his wife’s perspective. What I can do is talk to the wife so that she might begin to understand what that looks like and what that sounds like for him.”

2. See Someone Else’s Perspective:

  • When we begin to see from someone else’s perspective, we expand.
  • We build influence. We form unlikely alliances. We gain an ability to connect with a global audience rather than a community of thought.
  • Your whole world is shown in who you talk to. It’s right there in your contact list on your cell phone.
  • Your world is not the world.
  • Understand others because we are better together than we are apart.
  • It is hard to get different types of people to come together because we come with the baggage of our background and our perspective and our viewpoints.
  • Many of us lack the imagination or exposure to begin to understand backgrounds inform a truth but that truth may not be the truth. And consequently, you walk away with an absolute that is really an abstraction.
  • Because your absolute is an abstraction, eventually somebody’s going to challenge it.
  • You’re not going to know what to do because you never learned the language and the ability to measure yourself by your ability to migrate.
Intellectual Quotient “IQ”
  • Measurable and understandable
  • People hire by this measurement
Emotional Quotient “EQ”
  • Measurable
  • We can ask if someone is able to stand up under stress and pressure.
  • They might be intelligent, but are they going to fall apart?
  • Are they going to collapse? Are they going to have an emotional breakdown?
  • How strong is their EQ in order to be effective today?
Adaptability Quotient “AQ”
  • How well you can adapt when you’re outside of your environment
  • How you survive for a long time and your long-term understanding of yourself.
  • Starts with leadership.
  • We must be adaptable enough to migrate in our thinking to prepare for a world we can’t control and a world we have not come from.
  • AQ helps us in become empathetic, sympathetic, prepared, develop products and come into alignment with people who come from a different perspective.
  • To not think about AQ from the safety of what you call truth.
  • Have courage to forsake the plumb line of past experiences and migrate into an environment where you are not surrounded by the accruements of your own experience.
  • Come to a place where you have to think about things differently.
  • Women think like men and men think like women.
  • Boomers think like a Millennial and Millennials think like Boomers.
  • If you can do that, you are wiser, and your decisions are smarter.
  • Decisions become more global and less isolated.
  • This is how to avoid increasing irrelevance.

3) Create a Level Playing Floor:

  • Level the playing floor where every person can be heard regardless of their background and be valued.
  • At the beginning of the COVID-19 virus, we noticed people we had not noticed before.
    • Pizza delivery boys.
    • People who came by to bring groceries to us because we were shut in.
    • People who were cleaning up the hospitals at the risk of their lives, risking contracting the virus so that our loved ones could be taken care of.
    • All of a sudden, we had gratitude for people who were slinging hamburgers across the counter to us in the hospital restaurant.
  • We’ve had to have migrative thinking.
  • Coronavirus has forced us out of the box.
  • As America has the most uncomfortable conversations it has ever had before, it is uncomfortable because we have the benefit of living in our silos.
    • Writing the books we read.
    • Choosing the press to watch.
    • We create this false reality then complain about anybody rising up against it.
  • We’re in a conundrum because we can no longer silence the people we can’t control.
  • We must learn how to migrate in our thinking to become a more perfect union—more perfect company, more perfect marriage, more perfect church.
  • CEOs can no longer just talk to CEOs. Talk to spiritual leaders because they’re the gateway to the community.
  • To make an impact on underserved communities, bring people to the table different from us for a 360 perspective.
  • Talk even when you’re afraid you might say the wrong thing.
  • If you can build a demographic that is different from yourself and respect their perspectives, we can have a level playing floor and we can change the world.
STORY: Four Men In The Bible Carrying A Man Sick With Palsy:
  • They carried him to Jesus, and when they couldn’t get in the door, they carried him up the wall.
  • When they got to the top of the wall, they climbed over on the roof.
  • They cut a hole in the roof and they lowered the man down into the finish line of being in the presence of the Lord.
  • Those four prongs are corporate leadership, spiritual leadership, community leadership and elected officials.
  • We’ve never had to work together, but we better do it now.
  • If unreasonable people do not find a way to migrate their thinking, unreasonable people will take over the conversation and we will all suffer the consequences of unreasonable people ruling in our silence.
  • Get out of your comfort zone. Get out of the box.
  • Love enough, care enough and feel enough to be uncomfortable standing shoulder to shoulder with somebody who is good at something completely different than what you’re good at.
  • Make the connection so we can lift those that are fallen and raise those that are hurting.
  • Create a level playing floor where the rules are clear.
  • If we can do that effectively, we can make a big difference in the world.
  • We can make a big difference in our company.
  • We can make a big difference in our lives.
  • Play musical chairs with and switch until you have migrative thinking.


  1. Build a coalition you can’t control.
    • Purposely put together a coalition of people completely different from you.
    • Have uncomfortable conversations where the “Amens” don’t come easy and you are not the teacher.
  2. Sit down at the table with someone who has a perspective that you can’t teach.
    • The objective is to understand, not to straighten out.
    • Too many times our focus is, “I know how to straighten this out.” No, you don’t even understand this.
    • Find a situation where you become a student again.
  3. Find what connects you rather than what divides you.
    • Be in a situation where the objective is to take different types of people and find out what you have in common rather than focus on where you have distinctions.
    • Bear to admit that you don’t know what you don’t know.
    • You cannot be what you do not see.
    • You cannot change what you do not touch.
    • You cannot heal what you will not lay a hand on.
    • The only hope for our future globally and nationally—for our communities and society is to develop a new metric.
    • Start choosing people—hiring people and moving people up who have the liquidity of thought and the nimbleness of mind to have migrative thinking.


View All GLS20 Session Notes >>



About the Author
T.D. Jakes Is one of our incredible 2020 faculty members for the The Global Leadership.

Bishop T.D. Jakes

Founder and Senior Pastor

The Potter's House

T.D. Jakes has a proclivity to disrupt the status quo, and is one of the most globally-recognized influencers in business, education, film and entertainment. With his earnest approach, Jakes has been able to reach millions of people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, races, nationalities, and creeds. Senior pastor of The Potter’s House, a global humanitarian organization and 30,000-member church, Bishop Jakes’ presence spans digital media, film, television, radio and books, including his most recent book, Crushing: God Turns Pressure into Power.

Years at GLS 2004, 2010, 2016, 2018, 2020

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