Jerry Lorenzo Interview Notes—GLS: Special Edition 2021Published February 25, 2021
On February 25, 2021, the Global Leadership Network debuted its first half-day Global Leadership Summit: Special Edition event featuring an incredible faculty, including fashion designer for the label, Fear of God, and head of Adidas Basketball, Jerry Lorenzo.
During this interview, Craig Groeschel explored the leadership behind Jerry’s fashion brand phenomenon, identifying how conviction, intention and empathy can drive your organization forward. Enjoy these notes to help you go deeper and discover the value of having a core message to unify and focus your team, and learn how overcoming internal obstacles and creating healthy habits can keep us grounded and confident.
Craig Groeschel: Almost every great leader has a story behind the story. At what point did you realize that you were in a home with leaders and how did that influence you?
Jerry Lorenzo: Father was coaching in the big leagues. All the guys I looked up to on the team looked up to my dad. There was something special about the way my dad was carrying himself that was influencing even beyond what his role or position was. My mom had the same effect on the player’s wives.
“Nothing really belongs to you until you give it away.” C.S. Lewis
It was an example that they set. It was simply the way they lived their lives that was super influential.
When does data matter and how does it weigh against your intuition?
You want to be careful that data doesn’t lead beyond the instinct. You want to make sure that instinct is ahead of the data and then the data supports the decisions you are making.
You grew up in a competitive home. How does competition drive what you do today?
There’s something in us that we want to be the best at whatever we are doing that day. We’re all fighting to make sure we execute at the highest level. I’ve been blessed with a lot of peers who are executing at a high level also. By watching their success, it somehow pushes me.
A great leader is always others focused. What advice do you have for leaders that are more self-centered?
You have to have compassion, empathy and understanding for others. The blessing that comes from being a minority is that you understand what it means to be the least of these. I have an inherent understanding and inherent empathy for others. I lead with empathy. I lead with compassion. You have a vision for where you would like to take your team, or take my brand or the world but that vision is led by how I am serving the world. It’s not what can I get, what can I take, but what can I give. Another C.S. Lewis quote, “Nothing really belongs to you until you give it away.”
It’s not what can I get, what can I take, but what can I give.
Sometimes the most difficult person to lead is yourself. You are incredibly disciplined. What is a key discipline that helps you fulfill your calling in all aspects?
It’s super important for me to get up really early in the morning. I have a full house with my wife and three kids. I have to get up before them by at least two hours so that I can have quiet time for myself, whether it’s physically working out, quiet time, reading, praying or meditating. What are those foundational things that are foundational to who I am and making sure I am building that. How can I get better? What can I get from above or from this workout that is going to allow me to be a better servant to the people I am leading?
You have explosive influence. That is both a blessing and a challenge. How do you deal with the downside, the critics, the fear of not living up to what you’ve done in the past?
I’ve been blessed to understand the cost. I’m always cognizant of where I am paying the cost. As this grows, the cost becomes greater, the dedication becomes greater, the discipline becomes greater. Others have paid a cost for you to be here. What cost are you paying to take it to a place beyond here?
It’s often the things that no one sees that brings about the results that everyone wants. Can you unpack the private price of the pain, work, sweat you have endured so that someone might be encouraged when their day comes?
My struggle has been getting past my moods. I had to get to a place where whether I felt like doing it or felt lethargic, I know I needed to do it. Like working out. The things you know that will feed you, not letting your mood dictate whether or not you will do it but being disciplined to do those things.
What would you say to a leader that says I really struggle to choose the right disciplines?
You are going to struggle to lead. What’s the quote you said the other day?
“Discipline is choosing what you want most over what you want now.”
Exactly. I would give them that. I would steal that from you and then give that back.
Outside of the product, what is something that is really core to your heart that you want people to know?
Intention. Intention is one of the things that I look for in building my team. My dad was asked if he was going to sit a player for not running out a ball to first base. My dad said, “I’m more concerned about why he’s not running out the play.” I’m able to take that same understanding and look deeper into the why assignments aren’t getting done. I think you’re then able to look at those situations with grace, with empathy, with compassion, with understanding. Always looking at the intention rather than the physical product.
What is a core message that you are intentionally trying to communicate to your team members?
No matter what your role is, you are a leader in what you do.
I use this Miles Monroe analogy about a car. Who is the leader within the car? Is it the engine? The spark plug? The battery? The reality is that a $2 spark plug can stop a car. No matter what your role is, you are a leader in what you do. What you bring is important and it can stop this machine from moving. I encourage them to lead in their respective areas: whether it’s the stock room, design or making financial decisions.
For every leader that excels in their field, there is almost always a story of overcoming something. Is there something in your background that you overcame that propelled you to where you are today?
I think I overcame a lot of insecurity. There was a time when I felt my point of view was not valid. Anyone starting in business, there’s a lot of insecurity, fear, risk that has to be accounted for. Once you’re focused on the destiny and what you believe in your heart, those other things start to fall off.
How can a leader take what they are doing and make it a mission to make the world a better place?
My sister is a great spiritual coach. One of the things she says is, “The way you do one thing is the way you do all things.” Handling everything with an appreciation for the smallest task can propel anyone.
Here are some key takeaways from Jerry Lorenzo’s interview:
- There was something special about the way my dad was carrying himself that was influencing even beyond what his role or position was.
- It was simply the way they lived their lives that was super influential.
- “Nothing really belongs to you until you give it away.” C.S. Lewis
- It’s often the things that no one sees that brings about the results that everyone wants.
- “Discipline is choosing what you want most over what you want now.”- Craig Groeschel
- Intention is one of the things that I look for in building my team. My dad was asked if he was going to sit a player for not running out a ball to first base. My dad said, “I’m more concerned about why he’s not running out the play.”
- Always look at the intention rather than the physical product.
- No matter what your role is, you are a leader in what you do. What you bring is important and it can stop this machine from moving.
- “The way you do one thing is the way you do all things.” – Jerry’s sister
Experience more from Jerry Lorenzo and 15+ world-class faculty at our premier leadership event of the year–The Global Leadership Summit, taking place August 5-6, 2021. Get your tickets today at GlobalLeadership.org/Summit.
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About the Author
Jerry Lorenzo Manuel is an American fashion designer and founder of the label, Fear of God. Raised in Sacramento, West Palm Beach and Chicago, Lorenzo grew up with first-hand understanding of the contemporary American landscape as he followed his father’s professional baseball career cross country. Concurrently, Lorenzo developed an appreciation for heritage through visits to vintage stores nationwide with his mother. His upbringing became the precursor of his idea for a new American classic now known as Fear of God. In 2013, Lorenzo chose fashion despite plans to follow in the footsteps of his father in sport and established the now renowned label, conceived through a union of his creative vision, menswear experience and market expertise. Equipped with an MBA from Loyola University Chicago School of Business and an intrinsic understanding of the missing gap between the runway and wardrobe, Lorenzo’s honest and opinionated approach to fashion continues to push Fear of God into an icon of contemporary American luxury. Most recently, he’s been honored to partner with Adidas and join their team as global head of Adidas Basketball.
Globally recognized as a leader of leaders, Craig Groeschel is the founder and senior pastor of Life.Church, rated the #1 place to work in 2021 for small and mid-size companies by Glassdoor. Known for their missional approach to leveraging the latest technology, Life.Church is the innovative creator of the YouVersion Bible App—downloaded more than a half a billion times worldwide. In 2020, Life.Church provided free tools to thousands of churches who quickly transitioned to a virtual church experience in the wake of the global health pandemic. Traveling the world on behalf of The Global Leadership Summit, Groeschel advocates for building leaders in every sector of society. He is also the host of the top-ranked Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast. A New York Times best-selling author, his latest book is Lead Like It Matters
The Global Leadership Network is a community committed to learning from each other and using our influence to accomplish God’s purposes on earth. No matter where your influence is, when you commit to grow your leadership, everyone around you wins—businesses work for good, communities are transformed and churches thrive! Both global and diverse, our network includes partners in 1,400+ cities and 135+ countries. We are committed to deliver fresh, actionable and inspiring leadership content both at The Global Leadership Summit, and year-round through our digital platforms.