Friday, January 4, 2019

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership - John C. Maxwell

John Maxwell is an expert on leadership. He is a pastor, founder of four successful companies and author of 22 books.

1. The law of the lid
Leadership ability determines a person's level of effectiveness. The story of how McDonald's was limited by the founders Dick and Mark who grew it till about USD 350000. Ray Kroc bought franchise rights from the brothers for 2.7 million, raised the lid and grew it exponentially explains it well. Clearly leadership ability is the lid on personal and organisational effectiveness.

2. The Law of Influence
The true measure of leadership is influence. Princess Diana, Mother Teresa are examples. If a leader can get people to follow them than you know they really have influence.

3. The Law of Process
Leadership develops daily, not in a day. Read. Practice. Start building from today. Anne Scheiber, when she died at 101, and who lived in a rundown apartment, donated 22 million to the University of New York, her lie savings. If you want to see where someone develops into a champion, look at his daily routine.

4. The Law of Navigation
Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. In the 1911 race to reach the South pole first, two teams set off. Roald Amundsen planned carefully, reached the South Pole one month ahead of the other team, and came back with no losses. The other team led by Robert Falcon Scott, died painful deaths because he did not navigate the expedition to the South Pole well. Anyone can steer the ship says Maxwell, but it takes a leader to chart the course.
Before leaders take their people on a journey, they go through a process in order to give the trip the best chance to being a success.

Maxwell's lines for navigation
Predetermine a course of action
Lay out your goals
Adjust  your priorities
Notify key personnel

Allow time for acceptance
Head into action
Expect problems
Always point to successes
Daily review your plan

5. The Law of E.F. Hutton
When the real leader speaks, people listen. The one to whom people are listening is the leader. In a group, when someone asks a question, who do people watch? Who do they want to hear? The person they look to is the real leader.

6. The Law of Solid Ground
Trust is the foundation of leadership. Don't lose trust. In your history of successes and failures, build a positive balance. Character makes trust possible. And trust makes leadership possible. That is the law of solid ground. Character communicates many things to followers.
Trust is the foundation of leadership. Violate the law of solid ground and you're through as a leader.

7. The Law of Respect
People follow leaders stronger than themselves. Build your strength. Exhibit it. Harriet Tubman, the lady who walked out of slavery and worked with the Underground Railroad, a secret network to free blacks. She freed more than 300 hundred people.

8. The Law of Intuition
Leaders evaluate everything with a leadership bias. Like everything else, intuition can be sharpened. The great ones see things others can't, make moves and move forward before others know what's happening. Intuition helps leaders become readers of the numerous intangibles of leadership.
Leaders read the situation, resources, people, themselves. How you see the world around you is determined by who you are.

9. The Law of Magnetism
Who you are is what you attract - simple. The leader attracts people of like frequency. The better leader you are, the better leaders you will attract.

10. The Law of Connection
Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. Leave an impact, be vulnerable, honest.
On Boss's Day a full-page ad in USA Today paid for by the employees of Southwest Airlines to CEO Herb Kelleher read like this

Thanks Herb
For remembering every one of our names
For supporting the Ronald McDonald house
For helping load baggage on Thanksgiving
For giving everyone a kiss (and we mean everyone)
For listening
For running the only profitable airline
For singing at our holiday party
For singing only once a year
For letting us wear shorts and sneakers to work
For outtalking Sam Donaldson
For riding your Harley Davidson into Southwest HQ
For being a friend, not just a boss
Happy Boss's Day from each one of your 16000 employees

A key to connecting with others is recognising that even in a group, you have to relate to people as individuals. Connect with people one at a time. Don't see a platoon, see 44 individuals.
Maxwell says that when he talks to 60-70000 people, he does not talk to the thousands, h talks to one person.

People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

11. The Law of the Inner Circle
A leader's potential is determined by those closest to him. If they are strong then the leader can make a huge impact. If they are not, he can't. Create an inner circle that can take your ideas and run with it thereby increasing your capacity.
Ronald Reagan surrounded himself with good people. Jack Welch personally gave his okay to every general manager - 500 in all.
I liked the poem Maxwell's mother would recite to him about two types of people - those who lift and those who lean. To get to the potential I have not reached, I have to surround myself with the best people possible.

12. The Law of Empowerment
Only secure leaders give power to others. If you do not empower, you do not grow. He gives the example of Henry Ford junior who was known to get rid of strong leaders.
Roosevelt said that the best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and the self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.

13. The Law of Reproduction
It takes a leader to raise a leader. All great leaders are a result of a handful of great leaders and mentors.
Exercise - if you push a person down, you go down with him.
To practice the law of reproduction - become a better leader first, see the big picture, attract potential leaders and create an eagle environment (cast a vision, offer incentives, encourage creativity, allow risks and provide accountability).

14. The Law of Buy-in
People buy into the leaders first, then their vision. It's you they buy. Maxwell gives the example of Gandhi. Once people buy into someone, they are willing to give his vision a chance. In the end your success is measured by your ability to take the people where they need to go.

15. The Law of Victory
Leaders find a way for the team to win. Again, result-focussed people who are actively looking for ways to gain an advantage.
Churchill's lone stand against Germany is a fine example. He did not negotiate. He also did not compromise on the only option - victory - in the darkest of times.
The three components of victory - unity of vision, diversity of skills and a leader dedicated to victory and raising players to their potential.,

16. The Law of the Big MO
Momentum is the leader's best friend. Create and sustain momentum. Never lose it.
Maxwell cites the example of James Escalante who was trying to turn a school that was closing down to turn around by getting some students to pass a Calculus exam and how he builds momentum slowly and finally turns it around. There is a movie called 'Stand and Deliver' on this story. Sounds interesting.
To build momentum Maxwell says rely on preparation and motivation.  It takes a leader to create momentum. Momentum really is a leader's best friend.

17. The Law of Priorities
Leaders understand that activity is not accomplishment. Results are important. To prioritise he says use Pareto's principle to get maximum return for your effort. His second guideline is the three Rs - what is required, what gives the greatest return and what brings the greatest reward.
Maxwell says that leaders never grow to a point where they no longer need to prioritise.

18. The Law of Sacrifice
A leader must give up to go up. The higher the level of leadership you want to reach, the greater the sacrifices you have to make. The team comes first. The example of how Chrysler's chairman in the 1980s, John Riccardo, sacrificed himself for the better of the organisation by bringing on Lee Iacocca to turn the struggling company around. Iacocca also took salary cuts (once working on a dollar a month, gave up weekends etc) to pull the company out of the red. All great leaders swallow their pride and do what is right for the organisation.
"For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something.' - Emerson

19. The Law of Timing
When to lead is as important as what to do and where to go. The example of Jimmy Carter who became President thanks to sheer timing.
"There comes a special moment in everyone's life, a moment for which that person was born. That special opportunity, when he seizes it, will fulfill his mission - a mission for which he is uniquely qualified. In that moment, he finds greatness. it is his finest hour.'

20. The Law of Explosive Growth
To add growth, lead followers - to multiply, lead leaders. The leader's math is that when you lead leaders, you automatically lead their followers thereby causing explosive growth.
Add ten followers and you have the power of ten people. Add ten leaders and you have the power of ten leaders and leaders they influence.

21. The Law of Legacy
A leader's lasting value is measured by succession. The organisation should move on without a blip if the leader leaves suddenly. Maxwell cites the example of Roberto Goizueta who was Chairman and Chief Executive of Coca-Cola and whose sudden demise did not result in catastrophe for the company. He had prepared the second in line well in advance.
Maxwell says that such leaders lead with a long-term view, create a leadership culture, pay the price today to groom. value team over individual and walk away from the organisation with integrity.
good leaders will be judged by how well the people and the organisation did after they are gone. Their lasting values will be measured by succession.

Immense sense. A must-read for leaders. Thanks Vinod bhai for gifting me this book.

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