The Law of Influence
The Law of Influence
Law #2: The second Law of leadership is titled the Law of Influence. And the Law of Influence is that the true measure of leadership is influence-nothing more, nothing less. Now, this is a huge misconception in the lives of many people-many people said well, you know, leadership is title, leadership is position. I’m here to share with you today, that as you study this Law, you’re going to find out that leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.
The classic example of that-the classic example of this Law is Lady Di and the Royal Family in England. Remember… remember when the marriage fell apart and so Lady Di was separated and divorced? Now, just think with me for a moment. Every one of you in this room can answer this question: who had the most influence? The Royal Family with the palaces and the titles and the crowns, and the thrones, and the scepters and the tight positions, or Lady Di? Who had the Influence? Lady Di-absolutely! See, this is a great example of the fact that leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. In fact, my favorite leadership proverb is, “He that think that he leadeth (transcript note-Old English, this is a proverb), but have no one following him, is only taking a walk.”
And I know what kind of people-don’t you?-taking walks. Ha? They have title, they have position, but there’s nobody following them. This is an incredible Law to begin to learn. As one of my friends told one time, “John, the position doesn’t make the leader, but the leader makes the position. And there’s a world of difference between those two.
You see, all of our life-guess what we’ve been taught-all our life we have been taught that leadership is title. It is position. So-so we go for that title. We go for that position, only to realize that once we’re in that title or position, that doesn’t necessarily mean that anybody is going to follow us.
Now, where did I learn this Law? I told you I’ve been learning these Laws for over 20 years. I learned this Law in my first church in Hillham, Indiana. Now let’s first of all think about it. Hillham, Indiana. Eleven houses, two garages, one country store. That’s Hillham. That’s where I started. You’ve not been to Hillham. You’ve not heard of Hillham. You don’t want to go to Hillham. If you do go, you won’t know that you did go to Hillham. Old building, church building, over a hundred years old, rough sidewalks…, first Sunday only three of us are in attendance, and two of them are my wife and me… my wife Margaret, myself, and an old lady who lived by the church by the name Modest-Modest, Margaret, and me. First Sunday, three people. We got to put our whole church in a telephone booth, and we have room for visitors.
I didn’t know anything about leadership back then. If I had known anything, I would have voted on everything that I don’t want to see past. I thought about voting but I wasn’t sure whether my wife Margaret stood on a couple of issues. I can see myself losing to the one.
I go to my first church Board Meeting-no, I’m just talking about just a handful, of country, rural, conservative people OK? Get the picture. I don’t now what to do with this first bore-been because I wasn’t trained to do anything about a Board Meeting. I just graduated second in my college class and I’ve never had a class on how to handle a Board Meeting. Why would they want to teach me something helpful and practical and life-changing? So, I’m kind of intimidated, so I go to my first Board Meeting, and Margaret my wife knows that, so she kind of praise for me. I’m going to my first ‘been, and I have a perch, and then I looked out at this board, this just handful of people, and I didn’t know what to do so I said, “Is anybody have anything, on their heart?” As soon as I ask that question, there was a farmer in the church by the name Mac Clod who stood up, and Clod said-what did he said (stutter)-“There a couple of things I have in my heart,” and he shared it with me, and what was so slick is that everything Mac Clod said-there was a guy sitting next to him by the name of Benny, and Benny seconded everything McClod said. So Clod would said, Benny would second, and everybody would say, “Aye!” And after awhile Clod said, well, he said, “I think we’re done tonight, Preacher,” he said. “You can close the prayer.” And then I said, “I think I will… Thank you Jesus, Amen!”
I went home that night and Margaret looked at me and said, “Well, how did it go, Honey?” I said, “Oh, sweetheart, no problem.” “No problem,” I said. “I only need two people-God and Clod.” When I say I only get one, I’d have Clod, because he’s the one who shows up the most around here.
I can say Clod was a farmer, but a week before the next Board Meeting I called him on the phone, I said, “Clod, I kind of come down and kind of do the chores with you around the farm. Can we just walk around the farm?” And I said, “While we’re doing the chores I’d like to talk to you about the church.” He said, “Wow, Preacher, I’d love for you to come down.” He said, “Sure, I would love that so I would down that day we did the chores around the farm. And while we did the chores we talked about the church.”
I’d say things like, “You know Clod, the front door of the church? Paint is just cracking and peeling off of that.” I said, “Visitors, when they walk up that walk, the first thing they see is that door. It’s terrible sight.” I said, “What do you think we ought to do?” “Well, it seems like we got to take off the old paint and put a fresh coat of paint on that door.” I said, “I like that… I like that.”
I said, “Clod, would you mind next Tuesday at the Board Meeting you bring it up to the church board?” He said, “Oh, sure.” He said, “Sure, I’ll take care of that.”
I said, “Clod, right behind the platform area we have three rooms-three really little, just really little rooms, and the one on the right here we have sense of class, and the one on the left here… Since last of both those are full. Then we got this in the middle one-we got a bunch of junk in there. We got last year’s major scene and all bunch of stuff in there.” And I said, “We already full on this two classes and we really need to have another class, what are we going to do?” “Well,” He said, “I think we’re going to take the stuff out of the little class and started it as a Sunday school class.” I said, “I like that,”
I said, “Clod, would you mind next Tuesday night just bringing it up to the board?” He said, “OK, I’ll take care of that. I’ll take care of that, it’s no problem.”
I said, “Clod, have you been down to the basement of the church?” He said, “What do you mean?” Well, I said, “There’s a couple inches of wire around there. Frogs are hopping around, crawlers are crawling around.” I said, “We can’t have any kind of functions down there at all because the water down there,” And he said, “That’s ridiculous. We need to clean all that up,” And I said, “I think so too.” I said, “Would you please put that up also?” He said, “Oh, I’ll take care of that. I’ll take care of that.”
Next Tuesday night Board Meeting, I opened the prayer; I looked up, and say, “Does anybody have anything on their heart?” Clod stood up, he said, “Preacher, I got a long list here tonight. This is going to take a little while, so do you mind if I sit down?” I said, “I think I will…”
Clod looked at the Board and said, “Do you notice the front door in our church?” He said, “Personally, I’m ashamed.” He asked, “What do you think visitors state when they walk up that walk? First thing they see is that door.” He said, “We need to get off the old paint, we need to put a fresh coat of paint on, and we need to do it before Sunday so we have a freshly coated, painted door.” Then I looked at him and said, “Clod, that’s a great idea,” and everybody said, “Aye.”
And he said, “Well, I tell you have something else.” He said, “We got those three rooms behind the platform there and the one on the right’s got a class, and the one on the left’s got a class, and those are both full, we need to start other Sunday school class. We need to clean up that little room. And he looked back up at Maxine Wilson and said, “Sister Maxine,” he said, “I’d like you to be the Sunday school teacher.” He said, “I’ve heard you substitute,” and he said, “You do a good job especially-” He said, “-when you have one of them there chorale, you do a real good job teaching.” And he said, “I’ll get you a chorale”, And he said, “I and-me and my wife will be the first two pupils in your classroom, and I’d like you to start teaching next Sunday morning.” I looked back at Maxine Wilson, good old tears coming down her cheeks, saying, “Brother Clod, *sob* I you think I can do it then I’ll do my best for you and for Jesus.” That’s on second the idea and everybody said, “Aye, aye!”
Then he said, “Have you been in the basement of our church?” He said, “You need hitmans down there. Frogs are hopping around and crawlers are crawling around.” He said, “We need to clean up that.” He looked up at Blake Harrison and, “You bring your truck on Saturday morning, 8 o’clock. You bring yourself, bring mine-let’s bring a couple of neighbors around that area, let’s have them help us.” He said, “We’ll start at 8 o’clock, by noon on Saturday that basement will be cleaned up for Sunday morning.” Than I said, “It’s a great idea, Clod.” A second and everybody said, “Aye.”
Clod looked at me and said, “Preacher, I think that we’re done tonight.” And he said, “You can close the prayer.” And I said, “I think I will… Thank You Jesus, Amen…” I had the privilege of pastoring that little country church for three years… and three months. And abut a week every monthly board meeting, I called Clod on the phone. And I go down to the farm, and we do the chores together, and we talk about the church. Not one time in those three years and three months, did I ever personally bring any item to the church board… Clod did it every time. I guess I still remember when I was leaving the church, I was-a college friend of mine was going to follow me-and so we sat down in the villager inn and a little restaurant there, and I shared with him. I said, “OK, let me tell you how I done this.” I said, “This is a great church to start in. These people are country people but they love me and I-It has been wonderful, it has been a great experience, and we had grown from three people on the first Sunday into we had days over 300. And I shared with him the Clod story just like I shared it with you. But instead of enjoying it, instead of laughing and sensing the influence issue like I’ve known you sensed it, the longer I talked to him about it, the more irritated he became and pretty soon, he stood up at the edge of his seat, that booth in the villager inn, and he’s pounding the desk between us and said, “Listen to me, John, listen to me. Listen to me,” just like that. “That may-that’s maybe the way you did it when you were here, but let me tell you right now that when I become the pastor of this church I become the leader of the church, not Clod.
I sat back in my booth in the villager inn, and I said to myself: “Self, you’re looking at a stupid man.” Going to heaven? Yes. Stupid? Absolutely! And sure enough, that’s what he did. He did that. He came to the church and he told Clod, he said, “Clod, I want you right now to know, I’m the leader of the church.” Clod puts his arms around him and said,” God bless you. I’ll be fine.” He lasted ten months. In fact they told me that on one Sunday morning Clod came up to him, put his arm around him and said, “Today be a good day for you to resign.”
You know, my friend never has learned this Law. In thirty years in the ministry I guarantee you he’s been in at least 15 different positions. He’s never understood that leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.
You may said, “Well, John, I don’t like that Law. I’m the pastor of the church. I have to be he leader. I’m the Godly man.”
Well, whoop-de-do… when you’re done believing all those lies about yourself, I’m here to tell you that the person with the most influence in your church, or in your business, or in your company, is the leader… of the church. In nowhere is leadership more clearly defined than in volunteer organization.
Let me talk to you about this for a second. In fact I was just up in Michigan recently doing a conference for about 150 CEOs, and they were asking me, they said, “John, How can I find leaders? How can I know my potential leaders in my companies?” And I shared with them, I said, “If you really want to know, if you really want to know your potential leaders, if you really want to find out in your company, the ones that are really good leaders-” I said, “Let them be put in charge of a voluntary organization. Let them be put in charge of a group of people that there’s no paycheck to be given, there’s no position to be hoarded over, and they don’t have to follow you unless they want to follow you.” See, the best way to test a leader is to ask them to lead a voluntary organization. That’s when you’re going to find out. That’s when you’re going to find out whether they are good leaders or not. You see, if you’ve given somebody a paycheck, of course they’re going to follow you. If you have some kind of position over there, if you’re going to-if you’re the top rank in some kind of armed services, of course they’re going to salute you. Of course they are going to follow you. You got more stripes in our arm than they do. But that’s not leadership. Life is not a one-two-three-four-one-two-three-four-one-two-three-that’s not life! That’s why you and I need to learn how to influence people. We need to know how-we need to know who has influence in our organization, we need to know how to influence people. That’s why I wrote a few years back-the book becoming a person of influence. Because, I want to help people understand how to influence people because if you know how to influence people, you know how to lead people, because the person who is the largest influencer on the group is the leader of the pack.
Let m take-oh, I don’t know-five minutes. I just walk you though the Five Levels of Leadership or the five levels of influence in your notebook. The lowest level of all is the Position Level. And right beside the word “position”, put the word “rights”, R-I-G-H-T. People follow you because they have to. That’s the entrée level of leadership. That’s where it all begins. And there’s nothing wrong with that level as long as we understand that is the entrée level of leadership. As long as we understand it’s the beginning, not the end. Does this make sense?
But there’s a level higher than that. The second level is the Permission Level. And beside the word “permission”, put the word, “relationships”, because on this level, people follow you because they want to. Now you can already see a marked change. On level number one they follow you because they had to. On level number two now they’re following you because they want to. I sometimes called this level the second mile level, and the reason I called at that is, because, in the Bible remember of the story-well, anytime somebody asked you to go to the first mile with them, you’re obligated. But if you go to the second mile, it was because you desired to go to second mile. That-that’s the second mile level of leadership and the second mile level of influence. Right there!
The third level of influence in any company or any organization is the Production Level. And the keyword, right beside “production”, the keyword is the word “resolves”. Here, people follow you because of what have you done for the organizations. It’s a great level to be on. By the way, just like level number two is what I called the second mile level, this level here I called the high morale level. High morale kicks in here because people are now seeing success, and they’re feeling growth, and they’re excited about what’s happening, and they describe you in terms like, “You know, before you came, Pastor, we’re the church was going down but now we’ve turned around and we’ve added 50 people to the church and the finances are up, or the business has turned around. They describe you in those kinds of terms. Here’s how they describe you-before you came in, it was as good as it is now. High morale kicks on level number three-people begin to feel good about who they are and about what the company is doing and they’re following you because of what you have done for the organization.
Now let’s talk here for a second before I take you to the fourth level and say this-that in the business world, in the Christian world, in the church world, level number one is both highly regarded the position or the title. In the church world, level number two, the permission side-they hold highly to relationships. The business does too, but not as highly, but the business world was number three. That’s the production. That’s where the bottom line is, and that’s where the profit margin is, OK? But here’s what is interesting to me-when you get to level number four, I don’t find very many churches or businesses really working it to level number four, and level number four is the most important level. It’s called the People Development Level. Here is where you are developing people in fact the word to put in that blank besides “people development” is “reproduction”.
This is where growth really kicks in. In fact, we’re going to teach a couple of the 21 laws deal with level number four. Especially the Law of Explosive Growth, we’ll talk about that later. But the Law #4-um, the level number four, this is exciting. This is where you’re beginning to develop people. And just like level number two is where the second mile principle is laid down, and level number three is where the high morale is beginning to be experienced, on level number four, the keyword to this level is “loyalty”. People become loyal to you because of what you have done for them. That is a key area. In fact, I can promise you, when you start developing people, they’re yours for life-absolutely, one on one. Developing, point your life into them, discipline them. My friend in pre-parochial class had taught me many, many years ago. He said, “John, you build a great church one person at a time. You don’t build a great church from a pool but you build a preaching station at the pool bed. You build a great church one life at a time.” People development! That’s the fourth level of influence.
The fifth level of influence is what I called the Personhood Level. The Personhood Level, I guess the keyword here is “respect”. Because you’ve done it so well for so long with so many that you’re bigger than life to them. They’ve got you up probably on a pedestal, OK?
Now, I would encourage-I just give you a very short, sediment teaching of the five levels of leadership and the five levels of influence but I want to really encourage you, you can come back at this and looked at this, and study this and-and really applied it to your heart and your life.
OK, four questions to ask ourselves on this Law of Influence. Question number one: What’s the level of my influence with the leaders of my organization?
I want you to set down and think who the leaders are in your company, in your church, and I want you to write those names down and I want you to ask yourself, “OK, on these five levels, which one am I on with them? Now let me-let me give you a little bit of hint here-you’re not going to be on the same level with every person. Does that make sense? But what you want to do is to make sure that you’re really climbing the level of influence with your leaders because they are going to make you or break you.
Question number two: What’s the level of my influence with the followers of my organization?
Let’s talk here for a moment. If your level of influence is higher with the followers than with the leaders, you’re in trouble, because the leaders are going to influence the rest. You’ll want to be able to turn that around and because I don’t have time in this lecture to give it you at the end, the video kit “The Five Levels of Leadership” is key in understanding in-depth the teaching I’m giving you right now.
Number three: Who are the top ten influencers of my organization? Sit down and say, “OK, Who are the top ten influencers in my congregation? Who are the top ten influencers in my company?” That’s a-that’s a great exercise. For example, in Hillham, Indiana, the top-ten influencer in Hillham, Indiana wasn’t John Maxwell the top influencer in Hillham was who? (“Clod,” the audience said) Clod was the top influencer. Benny was probably number two, ha? When you say, “John, where were you?” I don’t know. Maybe I started at about seven or eight, and probably got up to about down to three by the time I left, and I wasn’t top influencer. Like when I was giving this lecture one time to Clod’s son, after hearing this lecture he came up to me and said, “Ah, forgive me baby, but I can say Dad still runs the church.” Of course he does. Of course he does. He was the top influencer. When I went to my second church I wasn’t the top influencer there. When I went to the third church I wasn’t the top influencer there. I’ve never gone anywhere that I was the top influencer. You see, that’s why it is so important to understand influence because it is how you lead. You don’t lead through structure, you lead through influence.
Number four-this is a great question-do I influence the influencers? Great question! Do I influence the Clods, and by the way, it may not be a Clod in your church. Maybe it’s a Clod-ia (Claudia). OK? But do I influence the influencers? Here’s what I know about the success about your leadership right now-listen carefully-your ability to influence the influencers will determine your ability to grow the organization. If you influence the influencers you can grow the organization. If you cannot influence the influencers, you could have real problems.
There are four resources that I would like to encourage you to look at that would help you again with the Law of Influence. I did a Maximum Impact club tape called Taking an Influence Inventory. What that does? This tape helps you too look at your own influence and basically, it helps you to understand what your Influence Quotient was, and by the way let me stop here for a second. Because this is a workbook, this is a notebook, this is a tool, this is a resource, and aid to help you. What I would suggest that you do is that we kind of go through with these resources as I go through these Laws. If there’s one you just say, “I need to remember to get that,” just take your checkmark and put a check beside the one that you want to come back to. So, when you review these lessons you say, “OK, I want to get that tape. I want to get that book. This will help me, in m leadership development. Then there’s the Five Levels of Leadership and there’s the book. Well, in fact, two books I wrote-one Becoming a Personal Influence which teaches you ten ways to influence people, and then Be a People Person, a book that I wrote in 1980 that helps you understand how to connect relate, and deal with people.
( John C Maxwell )