The Law Of Process
Law number three. Law number three is the Law of Process. And the Law of Process said, Leadership develops daily, not in a day. This is an incredible Law. I hope I can teach it to you well. When the proverb writer says, “He’s like the horizons for breadth and the ocean for depth, the understanding of a good leader is broad and deep.” What the proverb writer basically says is that if you’re going to be a leader, it’s going to take a lot of experience. It’s going to exposures. It’s going to take a lot of time to have that broad and deep view of a leader. Days like this when I do leadership conferences, I am asked this question—people raise their hands and say, “John. Let me ask you a question.” I’ll say, “What is it?” They’ll say, “John, are leaders born?”
Whenever they ask me the question, “Are leaders born?” I always gave them the same answer—of course they are. Think about that question. I’ve never met an unborn leader. Don’t particularly want to either, thank you very much. Now what they’re really asking is not ‘our leader is born’, we know that they’re born, but they really asking is, ‘are there some people that, when they are born, they’ve got it’. And they mean they got natural gifts, some leadership abilities, and they’re going to lead another some people that when they’re born, they don’t get it. And they’re going to follow, all the rest of their lives. And another there’s just say, “Are there the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’?” And I’m going to stop here long enough to say with integrity with you that there are people that are born with leadership natural inclination. Of course there are, just like there are people that are musically inclined, there are people that are leadership inclined. Of course.
What I love about teaching the Laws of Leadership, what I love about working with leaders for over 20 years, is the fact that many, many people do not have natural leadership gifts but they’ve been taught how to lead. In fact, one of the key leaders in my home organization is a fellow by the name of Dan Lyle and Dan Lyle came to me right out of a seminary and I promise you, I promise you when he came out of a seminary we have an intern-tight program that we let him come for one year, out of a seminary for a one year-intern training before they can go in the ministry and I remember when Dan came I thought, “I’m never going to do this… again.” I mean, Dan almost killed the intern program. Oh, he was terrible. He was not a ‘people person’. I remember one day in the lobby, out front in the church, we were kind of talking—you know, the lot of us might be having, and I was—and Dan, he had his briefcase, he walked right through the whole—the whole bunch of us. Never said ‘hi’, never… he just camp right out of our walker. I thought, “He just ignored all of us.” So I just got behind him and followed him into his office. And he sat down and I sat down, I said, “Dan, let’s talk.” “Yes, “ He said, “Yes.” I said, “You just walk through a room with people there. And you never said ‘hi’, you never said ‘good morning’, you never said ‘how are you’…” He said, “I know,” he said, “I got to get to work. I got to get to work.” I said, “You just passed your work.”
You know, a principal asset that any organization has is people. So I had to teach—I mean, I had to teach how to smile, I had to teach Dan how to say ‘hello’, I had to teach people how to head interesting people, I mean I had—I mean this was a crash course for this boy, and I thought that a lot of time we’re just going to crash. Now what’s wonderful about that stroll is that he was a melancholic—I mean, he just want it one way and not another way—I mean, if his briefcase slipped out of his hand and fell on the sidewalk and the books are all fell out, they—they fell out in order. And we start working with him, and working with him so you should—and what’s so wonderful, by the end of he year he had grown so much, he grew so much. And then I said, “Dan, I want you to stay on staff.” And he stayed on staff. He went all the way up into the number two guy in the executive pastor and now he’s vice president in the Joint Leadership Area and work side by side with a Kona on the phone last night, somewhere in Florida today doing some leadership training and I look every time—every time, every time I look at Dan Lyle I said, “Whoa, it’s a miracle.” Every time I look at Dan I say to myself, “Leadership can be taught.”
I have a story about a small European village and an old man sitting down at a bench and some of American tourist come by and one of the American tourists goes up to the old man and said, “Let me ask you a question, Sir,” he said, “Have any great man been born to this village?” The old man said, “No, only babies.”
Now, you can tell why I’m so excited to teach you leadership. I’m excited about teach you leadership because I understand this Law of Process. I understand that’s it’s going to take awhile—yes it is, that we’re going to crock-pot you into leadership, not microwave you. It’s going to take awhile, but what’s exciting, the reason I’m here is because I know you can learn how to lead. So, let me give you a couple of statements.
Number one: We overestimate the event and we underestimate the process. What I mean by that is, we have the tendency to think that an event will do more force than it really does, and we think that a process will do the less for us than it does. Again, you can already tell I am committed to raising you up as leaders. And I know, to raise you up a leader, it as to be more than this leadership conference. It has to be more than a leadership video. That’s why we have books. That’s why we have the 21 tapes for a 21 month period, because I understand, that if I want to help you to become a leader, it’s going to be a process. Now, let me give you the difference between an event and a process. The event encourages decisions, while the process encourages development.
Now by the way, the events are very important. I’m not anti-events. I’m just saying they’re not enough. So you come to a conference such as this like this for example. Do you know what’s going to happen to you here? Many of you are going to make a decision that’s going to be life-changing. Many of you in this room are going to make a decision to become a leader. Now that’s very significant. That’s the good news. Now the bad news is that you can’t become a leader at this conference. It’s a little too quick. You can’t get my 21 Laws book or Developing a Leader Within You book or developing a—you don’t put those books under your arm and walk out of this conference and say, “Well aren’t I a leader!”
Now, you are a person that has leadership resources. And you can become a leader, but you cannot become a leader that quick. You see, the event—that’s where you make the decisions, but the process is where you develop.
Let me give you some other examples—the event motivates people, while the process matures people—a lot of differences. The event is a calendar issue, the process is a culture issue. The event challenges people and the process changes people. And, the event is easy. The process is difficult. But champions are always made out of a process.
Now, why does it take so long to learn to be a leader? Why can’t just we get it all in one book, or in one conference? Why does it take a long time to be a leader? Well, because leadership is many-faceted. It goes back to the story I shared with you earlier about the young man who said, “Tell me the one thing I need to do to be a leader.” There’s not one thing you need to do to be a leader. There’s not one thing that can you do to make you a leader. It’s many-faceted. Let me give you some of those facets. Number one is skills—you need some skills, Number two is experience—that’s where the wisdom part comes in. Number three is maturity, number four is relationships—because you can never separate leadership from relationships, number five is timing, number six is culture. Number seven is training, number eight is attitude.
Now, there are more than what I gave you, but what I know is that those eight—plus probably another twenty, are part of the process of leadership, just like the 21 Laws. One Law does not make you a leader, but the more Laws that you learn the better leader you become. Now what I’m about to share with you, that this part of this lesson is the most important thing that I’m going to say to you about this Law: The secret of our success is found in our daily agenda. Let me talk to you about that.
The secret of our success is found in our daily agenda. You say, “John, what do you mean by that?” What I mean by that is that if I could go home with you to this evening, and tomorrow, for the next twelve hours we could hang around together. Now, let me say this: When I mean hang around, I want to hang around with you. You can do anything you want to do; you just do whatever you plan to do on the next day, but just let me for twelve hours. Let’s say from seven in the morning to seven in the evening. Let me just hang around with you. I don’t need to say anything, I don’t need to do anything, just let me stay beside you for twelve hours. And in that twelve hour period of time, if you wanted me to, by seven thirty tomorrow night, I you wanted me to—I wouldn’t do this unless you ask—but if you wanted me to, if you say, “John, could you talk to me for a moment? Do you think I have potential for success?” After twelve hours spending time with you, I can tell you… if you wanted me to. You said, “Wow, you can do that in just twelve hours?” Yeah, I can.
You see, if I can just spend twelve hours with you, I can tell whether you’re going to be successful or I can really tell whether you’re going to be a failure in life. Because in that little window of time, I’m going to find the stuff that makes you a success, or the stuff that makes you a failure. Remember, the secret of success is found in your daily agenda. Too many of us—we think success is something big, and huge and someday, somewhere, under the rainbow, I’m going to get successful. Ah, he don’t understand. That’s why I wrote the book The Success Journey. Now when I wrote the book The Success Journey, my publisher Thomas Nelson wanted to call the book The Journey to Success. That guy went an eye stroke, because I didn’t want to do this and so I have to go a kind of defend why I want to have the title idea and you got to understand, when you write a book, the publisher gets the right to put the name on the book. So for many times, for many years, I would write a book and I gave them the title on which they never took my title. I mean, for many years, I think that probably the first dozen books I did I never got to pick the title on my book. But I was so passionate about this, I flung into Nelson and said, “No, no, no. You can’t do this. This book can’t be called The Journey to Success. It’s got to be called The Success Journey. And I sat down with him that day and I talked to him, I said, “Because there is no such thing as ‘a journey to success’.” Success isn’t the destination. It’s not a destination thing. It’s a daily thing. Success isn’t somewhere over there. When people said, “Well if I ever get that job I’m going to be successful—if I ever get that raise, if I ever marry then, if I ever—if I ever get that church—”No, no, no. Cut that stuff out. We’ve got to quit thinking that success is… somewhere.
If a… let me explain it this way. If I walked across the stage and this is graduation, I just graduated from college, I get my diploma, you know, you’re clapping, I’m happy, and I get my family, and I get my capping guy, and I work in the pictures and say, “Congratulations John.” “Thank you.” Can I say something? I didn’t become a success when I get my diploma. See? We confuse success with recognition of success. See, the day I get the diploma I just got recognized. Are you with me? I didn’t become a success the day I got a diploma. When did I become successful? In this college stuff, I became successful. I became successful—I became successful the day I decided to go to college, didn’t I? And everyday I study instead of goof-off, everyday I work on preparing for a test, Everyday, everyday, everyday I was a success, you see? I was a success at my freshman year. I was a success at my sophomore year. I was a success my sophomore—my junior—my senior year. You see, I was a success everyday. I just one day got a diploma and got recognized. Wow, we have this confused!
Can I say something just—not only success is a daily thing, so is failure. There’s no such thing as a, “Ooh, he just failed!” He don’t—he don’t ‘just failed’. You know, when I was pastor and everyone’s wall, a—a husband came to the office, his hair-would-be in shambles his eyes-will-be bloodshot and he said, “Pastor, you got to have to help me, ooh, Pastor, what can I do…” “What’s wrong, what’s wrong?” “Ooh, my wife left me last night, oh, my wife she’s gone, she left me last night…” “My marriage failed last night.” No, no, no. it didn’t fail last night. It just showed up last night. You’ve working on been bad for a long time.
That’s why I have the passion for us to understand the process. And it is true that I can look at your daily agenda and I can pretty much off of that twelve hour window tell you if you’re going to be successful or not. Let me give you things I’ll learn if I’m with you for twelve hours, and these are only a few of things of the many things I will learn.
Number one, I’ll learn about your priorities. If I can spend twelve hours with you, I’ll find out real quick what you think is important. Number two, your passion. I’ll find out in that twelve hour period of time, what really you are passionate about. What you live for, and die for. I’ll find out about your passion. Number three, your abilities. I’ll find out in twelve hours pretty much how able you are to do certain things. Number four, relationships. If I can spend twelve hours with you, do you know what I can find about you in twelve hours? I can find out in twelve hours that people like you or not. Uh-huh. Number five, I can find a lot of your attitude in twelve hours. In fact, I can say this—I don’t need twelve hours to find out about your attitude. About twelve minutes is all I need. Isn’t that true? Don’t you just see some people walk down the street and say, “Bad attitude?” or you’re on an elevator, somebody walks on the elevator and you say, “Oh, no. Hope this elevator doesn’t get stuck. This wouldn’t be any fun to be on a stuck elevator with this individual.” And when you watch him getaway—he got off and you’re not getting off, you say, “Thank God I don’t have to go with that person.” I see your attitude—you know—shoot twelve minutes, I can tell you. It got to be the attitude about yourself, about others, about God, the whole process. Number six, your personal disciplines. You see, if I had twelve hours with you, I’m going to find out how disciplined you are. And number seven, I’m going to find out how your emotional qualities are. In other words, if I’m with you for a twelve hour period time I’m going to see how much emotional stamina you have. We move to Atlanta at Georgia and the traffic is very heavy there. All you get to do is get on a car with somebody and find out their emotional stamina. You didn’t need to take long. That didn’t take long. You—people, you know—you just go down to Atlanta and people are—some wave to you, some others give you other hand signals. There was while I looked at a (—) the (—) give me a hand signal and I think, “Oh, I think I’m number one, oh, wonderful.”
Just a thought.
Number eight, I can find your influence level if I’m with you for twelve hours. You know, if I’m with you for twelve hours, I can find if anybody—if you influence anybody—besides the doll, OK? And if I’m with you for twelve hours I can find out what your vision is. In other words, what you be, what’s your dream, what do you want to do. It’s so true that statement in your notes—champions don’t become champions in the ring, they are merely recognized today. Oh, this is so key. Let me just kind of put one little statement on the end of the Law of Process and then I’m going to go the questions. And here’s the—basically, here’s where I’m wanting you to understand about the Law of Process: You can make a decision at this leadership conference to be a leader, but it will take a long time for you to become a leader. And how do you become a leader? One day at a time. Quit waiting for um—the lottery to come your way. Quit waiting for the lightning to strike one day at a time. Five que—er, four questions. One, do I have a daily plan to grow as a leader? Two—do I have a leadership growth plan for my team? Wow, these are good questions. Three, am I developing leadership culture in my organization? And Four, what are the evidences of a leadership culture? I would encourage you in the resource section, Enjoying Life Club is the monthly leadership tape club for people in Christian church leadership, the Maximum Impact tape club is a monthly tape club for people of business. What I encourage you in one of those tape clubs if not both of them, to invest a little bit of money and every month get leadership training. This abbot came to me and said, “John, I don’t know what this is—this is like twelve dollars a month.” What do you know? Of course it is. When you get to McDonalds and have a friend, and you get a couple of cokes and a couple of cheeseburgers and some fries and you spend twelve bucks. And I got a question to ask you—do you want to be a cheeseburger or a leader? I mean, do you want the staff, the next Monday morning when you walk in, said, “Oh, here comes Big Mac, ha?” I’m always amazed that people said that they don’t want to invest in yourself. Can I tell you something? If you don’t invest in yourself, no one else will. Why would we be cheap on our own development? Why will we shortcut our own development? Why do we not invest in ourselves knowing that everything’s going to rise and fall on leadership?
Well, there are the resources. Some are wonderful ones. The hundred lessons on leadership, the first one ever the best since I’ve had on leadership. If you really want to crash-course—a leader one time came to me and say, “I got the one hundred lessons on leadership and listen to all of them in three weeks. I said, “Well you didn’t have anything else to do, did you?” Talk about a leadership, load and a longhead when you’re all that. Of course, there’s the book, and the process that I already talked to you about.
(John C . Maxwell)