Oct 04

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16 – The Law of the Big Mo

Momentum is a Leaders Best Friend

In John C. Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (2007), John shares the law of buy-in.

So what happens when you have developed a compelling vision that you are passionate about and gathered the right people but you can not get the team moving in the right direction? You need to leverage the law of momentum. I used this law to my advantage before ever reading about the law in a formalized way like that by John Maxwell.

In 2003, I worked on a team that supported an enterprise-wide project management suite. Business teams often beat our team to the punch, delivering applications needed by the business. The business teams were unencumbered by information technology processes and focused only the needs of a specific business. Unfortunately, the business specific applications failed to satisfy the needs of other corporate businesses so duplication was the norm. We were faced with a challenge to deliver the ability to report on a specific business metric with charting capability using data stored in the project management system. I made a bold statement to my supervisor and department manager, “give me one business expert and one software developer and we will deliver the needed functionality in 30 days.”

Despite some doubt and apprehension, the management agreed to test my boast. The business expert interfaced with the businesses to understand their needs and the developer and I built the software components to deliver on those needs. We met frequently throughout each day to design just enough to begin software coding and to integrate developed code. Every Friday, we demonstrated our progress to business representatives to ensure we were meeting their reporting needs and used the feedback to make course corrections the following week. After a grueling month, the team delivered functional software that provided the most important features desired by the business representatives. The success and momentum of the first month proved the team could deliver as promised and garnered additional funding for three additional months to address emerging customer needs. A few months later we learned about a process called scrum that felt very similar to our process used in this project. I completed scrum master training and implemented the process within our extended team. Scrum is integral to our team’s development process even today.

When on a roll, everything seems to go just right, but when in a slump even the most simple tasks seem impossible. Leaders try to control momentum because momentum has such a great impact on success. Momentum changes the way people look at leaders. People tend to overlook small leadership issues, when overall the leader is on a roll. People desire to associate themselves with leaders that win. Leaders that build momentum in an organization discover that people find motivation and inspiration that drive them to higher levels of performance and achievement.

Gaining momentum is more difficult than maintaining momentum. Every leadership situation is different, but the leader must find ways to gain wins early, even if those wins are small. I have witnessed far too many projects waste opportunities in the early phases of the project to make the small wins that build momentum. Creating momentum takes a leader with vision and the ability to motivate other people. The leader’s passion, enthusiasm, and energy is motivational and leads to the small wins that build momentum.

I wish you well on your personal growth journey. I appreciate your additional insight, so feel free to comment to share your thoughts and experiences.

Links to other posts in this discussion on the laws of leadership.
Mind map of the 21 laws of leadership.
Introduction to the leadership laws | 1 – The Law of the Lid | 2 – The Law of Influence | 3 – The Law of Process | 4 – The Law of Navigation | 5 – The Law of Addition | 6 – The Law of Solid Ground | 7 – The Law of Respect | 8 – The Law of Intuition | 9 – The Law of Magnetism | 10 – The Law of Connection | 11 – The Law of the Inner Circle | 12 – The Law of Empowerment | 13 – The Law of The Picture | 14 – The Law of Buy-in | 15 – The Law of Victory

Maxwell, John. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: Follow them and people will follow you. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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