Among the 22 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership as propounded by John Calvin Maxwell (1998). His blockbusting book entitled the “Law of Big Mo” (“Mo” is a shortened form for momentum) stands out as an epic and robust intellectual contribution to the scholarship of the discipline of leadership. Indeed, the law has provided very practical down-to-earth examinations of the qualities which are essential for a person to succeed as a leader. An organization with momentum is like a fast-moving train.
Maxwell revealed the following truths about momentum:
In the words of John Maxwell, “The “Big Mo,” momentum, is a leader’s best friend. Depending on which way it’s heading, it either puts the wind at your back…or in your face. So, how can you put momentum to work to accelerate the success of your team? Here are some suggested key strategies to build and sustain momentum for organizational success:
- Momentum is the great exaggerator - "it makes things bigger than they are because it has such a great impact".
- Momentum makes leaders look better than they are - " momentum on the part of the leader makes people forget their past mistakes".
- Momentum helps followers to perform better than they are - "when momentum is strong, people are motivated to perform at higher levels making all the team members more successful than they would be otherwise".
- Momentum is easier to steer than start.
- Momentum is the most powerful change agent - "followers trust leaders with a proven track record".
- Momentum is the leader’s responsibility - "Leaders create momentum; followers catch it. The leader must not expect the organization to create it".
- First, the manager and business leaders have to become the number one advocate of the organization’s vision if they hope to build momentum around it. Clarity is required to attain the vision. Clarity of purpose and definition will determine how your team will know how to prioritize their efforts and avoid the distractions of “busy work” tasks. Research has found that engaged employees are more likely to agree with the vision. Creating a vision that employees accept and value creates engagement, and engaged employees are more likely to resonate with the vision rather than fight against it. Once the employees key into the vision, there will be a substantial positive impact on an organization and this tends to contribute to the company’s momentum.
- Second, there is a need to keep the key clients who believe in the quality of the work and services being delivered to them because keeping and valuing them will motivate them to continue to do business with the organization. The basic idea here is the businesses should keep nurturing relationships with clients and partners even after their short-term objectives (i.e., sold a service, signed an agreement) have been achieved. If you have noticed that you are losing some of your key customers, then this is a sign that progress and momentum have been lost, especially in terms of how much you invest in maintaining your relationship and added value to the consumer. Building and sustaining client relationships is vital to embracing growth without losing momentum.
- Third, leaders who hope to build and sustain organizational momentum must be willing to make tough calls - "decisiveness is a key factor in the improvement and development process of organizations. Where no decisions are being made regarding major business challenges or unclear situations, then your company becomes stale and the business declines. Of course, making tough calls may include phasing out a failing product, restructuring a dysfunctional department, or hiring new talent, focus on getting action to flow again by introducing the plan and seeing it through completion. To attain effectiveness in making tough decisions, leaders will need the input and buy-in from their teams to ensure that decisions are accepted and acted upon as well as to resolve any existing issues or concerns.
- Finally, leaders need to build and nurture the winning mindset is crucial for every team that wants to win. With a winning mindset, you feel more confident and see challenges as opportunities, success as a step towards more success, and failures as growth opportunities to learning and developing wisdom. Momentum needs momentums. Leaders need to create strong momentum to keep developing a winning mindset. This momentum could be created by having a great purpose in mind. Another way of building a winning mindset is to push beyond your comfort zone. The stronger, tougher, and better version of yourself lies beyond those boundaries. All the winners in this race of life step out of their comfort zones and take risks. As a team leader, you need to ditch your comfort zone to develop a mindset that opens doors for you.