Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

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    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

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John Maxwell – Leading by Example – Revised 21 Laws

Posted by Orrin Woodward on January 8, 2008

Here is a great article by John C. Maxwell from one of my favorite leadership books – 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  This ties right in with the quote, “Example isn’t everything, it is the only thing.”    John has some phenomenal points to contemplate on your leadership journey.   John’s article agrees perfectly with Chris Brady and my thoughts in the best selling book, Launching a Leadership Revolution.  This proves that leadership is leadership in any area and when you learn to lead—you are invaluable to any business. 


Woodward Maxwell 1 pictureThis fall I had a rare opportunity to update and revise a book I wrote 10 years ago. When I wrote The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, I attempted to share everything I knew about leading people by teaching the timeless principles I had discovered. The book became very popular, appeared on The New York Times best-seller list and remained on the Business Week best-seller list for nearly two years. It is by far the book I’m best known for.


However, not long after the book was published and I began teaching the leadership laws internationally, I realized that I had left out a couple of very important concepts. When my publisher, Thomas Nelson, invited me to revise the book, I jumped at the chance. I had learned so much in those 10 years, and I wanted to share it. What began as a minor update turned into a major revision in which I rewrote about 70% of the book.


One of the concepts I included in the new edition is something I call “The Law of the Picture: People Do What People See.” It deals with the importance of the examples leaders give to their people. You see, good leaders must communicate vision clearly, creatively, and continually. However, the vision doesn’t come alive until the leader models it.


Good leaders are aware that others do what they do. And they always keep in mind that:


1. Followers are Always Watching What Leaders Do


If you are a parent, you have probably already realized that your children are always watching what you do. And just as children watch their parents and emulate their behavior, so do employees who are watching their bosses. If the bosses come in late, then employees feel like they can, too. If the boss cuts corners, employees cut corners. People do what people see.


Followers may doubt what their leaders say, but they usually believe what they do. And they imitate it. Former U.S. Army General and Secretary of State Colin Powell observed, “You can issue all the memos and give all the motivational speeches you want, but if the rest of the people in your organization don’t see you putting forth your very best effort every single day, they won’t either.”


2. It’s Easier to Teach What’s Right than to Do What’s Right


Mark Twain quipped, “To do what is right is wonderful. To teach what is right is even more wonderful — and much easier.” That’s one of the reasons why many parents (and bosses) say, “Do as I say, not as I do.”


One of my earliest challenges as a leader was to raise my living to the level of my teaching. I can still remember the day I decided that I would not teach anything I did not try to live out myself. That was a tough decision, but as a young leader I was learning to embrace the Law of the Picture. Norman Vincent Peale said, “Nothing is more confusing than people who give good advice but set a bad example.” I say, “Nothing is more convincing than people who give good advice and set a good example.”


3. We Should Work on Changing Ourselves Before Trying to Improve Others


Leaders are responsible for the performance of their people. The buck stops with them. Accordingly, they monitor their people’s progress, give them direction, and hold them accountable. And to improve the performance of the team, leaders must act as change agents. However, a great danger to good leadership is the temptation to try to change others without first making changes to yourself.


As a leader, the first person I need to lead is me. The first person that I should try to change is me. My standards of excellence should be higher for myself than those I set for others. To remain a credible leader, I must always work first, hardest, and longest on changing myself. This is neither easy nor natural, but it is essential.


4. The Most Valuable Gift a Leader Can Give is Being a Good Example


A survey conducted by Opinion Research Corp. for Ajilon Finance asked American workers to select the one trait that was most important for a person to lead them. Ranked No. 1, with 26% of votes, was leading by example. Second, at 19%, was strong ethics or morals. More than anything else, employees want leaders whose beliefs and actions line up.


Leadership is more caught than taught. How does one “catch” leadership? By watching good leaders in action!


So as you approach the end of the calendar year and start thinking about the performance of the people you lead, stop for a moment of honest reflection and ask yourself this question: What kind of example am I setting? If you’re setting a high standard for integrity, competence, work ethic, and professional growth, if you’re being all that you desire your people to be, then you’re setting up yourself, your people, and your organization for success. If not, you need to make some changes.


Assignment: Are you leading with character and integrity?  Would you want 100 people in your community who lead, act and respond exactly like you do?   For 2008, what areas of leadership will you personally improve in the most?

4 Responses to “John Maxwell – Leading by Example – Revised 21 Laws”

  1. […] for tomorrow.”  Are you developing as a leader?  As a leader, are you developing other leaders?  The Team is Launching a Leadership Revolution and it starts with you!  How many […]

  2. […] friend, John Maxwell, a top selling leadership guru, teaches that everything rises and falls on leadership.  In my […]

  3. Bob Pollock said

    Wow! This is powerful stuff. I’m older than 85% of the people who will read this post. I can tell you, from my life experiences, John, Orrin and Chris are spot on with this stuff.

    Orrin, you are a Blessing to all of us who read what you post. I’m so grateful God gave you the gifts you have.

  4. Mubarak Shuaibu said

    90% good

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