Your momentum is either rising or falling – rarely, if ever, does it stay constant. Momentum is like the growth process: you are either growing or declining.
Why is momentum so important to leaders? If you have a great vision, strategies and people to execute them, yet can’t seem to get the organization moving forward, you are pretty much dead in the water as a leader. If you can’t get things going, you will not be successful. What is needed is momentum.
My mentor says “Momentum is a leader’s best friend.” He also says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” The relationship between momentum and leadership is closely tied: if your leadership is rising, it is because you have rising momentum. If your leadership is falling, it is most likely because you have falling momentum.
With rising momentum, there is an excitement in the air; the team is encouraged to go the extra mile and do what it takes to get the desired results. This is why momentum is a leader’s best friend.
The trends toward both rising and falling are the results of our actions as leaders. When your team, department or company is growing, you can be sure rising levels of momentum are at play. Consider this: if a locomotive train were traveling down a track at 55 mph and faced a 5-foot thick, reinforced concrete wall, the locomotive would bust right through it without even slowing down! That’s an example of the power of momentum.
Conversely, if the locomotive were standing still with a one-inch block of wood in front of one of its driving wheels, it wouldn’t be able to get moving past the wood. When there is no momentum, even the smallest of obstacles can make it very difficult to get the engine of your leadership moving forward.
It is your role as the leader to create and increase momentum because the leader sets the pace of the team, department or organization in order to achieve the best possible results. Have you noticed that problems seem easier to solve when you have momentum? Have you noticed more and better opportunities seem to happen? The reverse is also true. When momentum is low, problems are harder to solve and fewer opportunities appear, primarily because people are focused on the negative. In this case, they are inclined to take the victim mentality and lose any desire to initiate action.
Momentum also enables you as a leader to attract more competent people. Let’s face it, no one wants to work for a leader who isn’t moving forward, yet they will clamor to work for a leader who has great momentum. Let’s say your momentum is currently at a 5 on a scale of 1-10. You will only attract those who are level 4 or lower to your team. If you are at a level 5, all is not lost; you can take steps to increase your momentum.
If you seem to be encountering mounting problems and issues of increasing complexity, or if there is unhealthy conflict on your team with more complaining than usual—these are signs the momentum may be stalled or declining.
If this scenario resonates with you, you must first make an honest assessment of where your momentum is at present. Think about it on a 1-10 scale. Where do you actually fall on that scale today?
Assuming your assessment indicates anything less than an 8, the actual number really doesn’t matter. This is an indication your momentum needs to rise.
The next step is to ask yourself, “What is the one thing I need to focus on to change the momentum of my leadership?” Chew on this question for as long as you can. Take some time alone and away from the normal distractions you encounter – maybe just 20 or 30 minutes. Write this question on a legal pad of paper and start brainstorming whatever comes to mind. In 20 minutes or so, you will likely come up with 8 to 10 ideas you could focus on to change the momentum of your leadership.
For the final part of this exercise, choose one, and only one, of these ideas to focus on and implement for the next 5 to 10 days. Commit to give it all you’ve got. You will be pleasantly amazed at the impact this can have on your momentum, and how others on your team notice the difference.
If you are having trouble identifying what you can do to help turn the tide of momentum, let me know – I can help you work through this as your thinking partner.
PS. The Law of the Big Mo (Momentum) is one of John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. This book has sold over 3 million copies and has been published in 57 languages! Now, as an Executive Director of the John Maxwell Team, I can bring this (and many other) teachings into your organization. We can start with a Lunch n’ Learn and I can have John come with me to speak directly to you! Actually, I’ll bring several videos of John teaching on 3 of the 21 Laws. If you really want to increase your leadership capacity and the capacity of your team, this is a great place to start. Contact me today!