Think the Law of Gravity, not criminal law…
I love teaching about the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. It is great when people have “a-ha” moments and realize the value and application of the laws. If you haven’t already, you can download a copy of the 21 Irrefutable Laws at this link. Want to apply the Law of the Lid, discussed yesterday? Well, then take the listing and rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 for each law. (My 1-10 scale is where 1 = not a leader, maybe not even a follower; to 10 = truly world-class leader. I don’t have any 10’s yet, but because I’m implementing the Law of Process, I’m closing that gap a day at a time.
Let’s get to the next 3 laws: The Laws of Navigation, Addition, and Solid Ground.
#4 – The Law of Navigation – Anyone can steer the ship but it takes a Leader to chart the course.
You need to know where you are going, if you really want to get there. When did anything of really great or lasting value happen by accident? Inspired ideas might happen by chance, but seeing them to fulfillment requires vision and planning. In 1947, polio was creating as much fear in post-war America as the atomic bomb. Dr. Jonas Salk was given a grant to catalog the number of different polioviruses. He saw this as an opportunity to also create a vaccine that might bring the virus under control once and for all. He conceived a 7-year plan that was detailed and elaborate, including the largest field trial ever conducted at that time, in 1954. Over 1.8 million children participated in the trials, with about 1/3 receiving the vaccination. In April 1955, the results were announced: the vaccine was both safe and effective. At the height of the epidemic, over 58,000 cases were reported in America. In 1965, ten years after the success of the trial, only 121 cases were reported. A major goal achieved because an effective navigator / leader was at the helm.
#5 – The Law of Addition – Leaders add value by serving others.
Are you making things better for those that follow you? Bill Gates and his leadership team at Microsoft worked very hard in the company’s early years to make the products that came to dominate the personal computing market. They recognized that their employees were a key to their future, and encouraged them with challenging work, fair pay, and equity in Microsoft Corporation. It has been estimated that as the stock’s value multiplied 100 fold from 1985 to 1995, helped over 10,000 employees become millionaires. You might not even be leading a for-profit team, but you can still add value to your people through training, opportunities for recognition, or other creative ways.
#6 – The Law of Solid Ground – Trust is the foundation of Leadership.
Some years back I joined a management consulting company, just as it won an important contract to develop budget software for a federal government agency. We had committed to building something quickly, wanting 12 months, hoping for 7 to 8, but getting only 5. I knew that we were going to have to build trust within my team quickly in order to meet our ambitious deadline. I needed breakthrough ideas and to quickly learn my staff’s strengths so we could make our goals. I instituted a design challenge, asking all of the staff to take 8 hours to design the system from the position of their experience and understanding of the problem. This caused each to focus on the things they knew best. We then convened the group, having the most junior member present first, and running up the seniority list. The results were amazing. Our junior guys opened their seniors’ eyes to ways to leverage the technology in innovative ways, influencing the final design in key ways and reducing development time. It also gave me a chance to see who the group most respected, helping me pick the right project leader to meet the deadlines while keeping high standards and great morale. He managed the job and I managed the corporate and client politics to keep the team free to deliver. And deliver they did! We got the job done on time and within budget (it had been bid firm fixed price). The clients loved it, too, because our solution helped them do their job without working the usual month of overtime prior to budget submission. Showing respect, demonstrated by trust, creates a true environment for high performance and success.
In our next installment, we will look at The Laws of Respect, Intuition, and Magnetism. If you would like a complimentary listing of the 21 Irrefutable Laws, please follow this link.