Lids

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“Leadership ability is always the lid on personal and organizational effectiveness.  If a person’s leadership is strong, the organization’s lid is high.  But if it’s not, then the organization is limited.”

–     John C. Maxwell (b. 1947) in “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership:  Follow Them and People Will Follow You

Every Friday morning, I have the great privilege of gathering with a handful of other leaders in Ed’s Basement. We’re spending 2020 diving deeply into this book, and the principles upon which it is based.

OK, so why is the title of this post “Lids?”

“The Law of The Lid” is the first of Maxwell’s 21 laws.

We all have lids, and Maxwell’s point isn’t that they are ceilings, glass or otherwise.  His point is that our lids can be raised — by completely dedicating ourselves to the study and practice of leadership.  Long-time subscribers know that I’m not a big fan of “management.”  It’s not that managing doesn’t have a place (it does, of course), it’s just that it’s a relatively finite pursuit.  For example, in “The Infinite Game,” Simon Sinek describes a “just cause” as the true north of infinite businesses.  In other words, simple terms like growth, profits, earnings, winning — they’re all finite in nature.  In the infinite game, and in Maxwell’s land of leadership, getting better every day is the point. (Editor’s Note:  Getting better every day tends to drag growth, profits, earnings, etc along with it….)

So, what to do with our lids?

First, we have to identify them.  Maxwell has excellent tools in his book, but I’m not trying to sell his book.  (You really should buy it, though.  Just sayin’…)  Conducting a self-inventory of the areas we’re strong and the areas we need to develop, and then asking some of those closest to us to measure us on the same topics is one way of beginning to identify our lids.  Be ready, though, because they change.  As we grow, as we regress, as we gain experience or encounter difficult situations (and even great success), our lids ebb and flow.  That’s reason enough to invest time in identifying them, right there!

Second, we have to develop leadership ability more consistently and more quickly than we do our “success dedication.”  For me, this is the “Why?” and the “Why?” is almost all that matters to me.  Yet, it’s still easy to struggle in our effort to keep our eye on the bigger picture — our legacy as leaders.

Finally (and there are 20 more laws, so “finally” is a relative term) we have to expose ourselves and commit ourselves to be near and learn from great leaders.  I’ve been blessed to work for some of the best, and, regrettably, a couple who occupy the opposite end of the spectrum.  There are wisdom, knowledge, and growth to be gleaned from both — the former kind is just a lot more fun to model than the latter are to overcome.

Is that it?

When the Tallest of The Three was almost three years old, we attended a very cool but very long 4th of July drum and bugle core performance.  He liked it a lot.  For about an hour.  (C’mon!  Cut him some slack, he was three!)  After each song, he’d look at his Grammy Pat and he’d say, “Is that it?”  Grammy Pat would say, “Just one more, I think, Buddy…”  He’d take a deep breath, settle back in and say, “One more, and then that’s it!”  It happened about 11 times before even the three-year-old figured out he was being messed with!

Of course the Law of The Lid isn’t “it.”  If it was, leadership would be easy, and everyone would be really good at it.  (Ok, wait a second….technically, I know a couple dudes that wouldn’t be good at it even if it were easy, but you get my point.)

Influence, Process, Navigation, Addition….aw, heck, just buy the book — there is a great deal of education, self-study, Faith, focus, effort and dedication that goes into being an infinite leader.  Here’s to hoping the payback is as cool as we think it’s gonna be.

Make it a great day.

 

 


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