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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, January 21, 2018 1:00 am

Maxwell: Intentionality is vital to growth

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Being intentional is the only way you're going to get “it” – whatever your “it,” or goal, for 2018.

John Maxwell Co. executives, including the firm's namesake, shared that message in a webinar last week on leadership and development. The online pep talk was free, although it was also a marketing tool for more extensive training the company plans to kick off this month that requires registration and fees.

Meridith Simes, president of the Personal Growth Solutions Division for the Maxwell Co., said “it takes massive effort, it takes work, it takes intention” to develop and to help others do the same.

Maxwell, a New York Times best-selling author of more than 100 books, said leadership is about growing and reproducing other leaders. It can take time to see results.

“We count our victories too soon,” Maxwell said during the less-than-hour-long webinar. “You're not a great leader because you have followers.”

The “Law of Intentionality” is the core for every other law for leaders, said Maxwell, who has outlined more than a dozen, including “The Law of Awareness” and written about them during his leadership and consulting career.

He offered several suggestions and observations in the webinar:

• Think about what you're going to do to develop yourself. “The reason you start with yourself is you cannot give what you don't have,” Maxwell said. “You need a plan for personal growth.”

• Most people have growth gaps that keep them from getting where they need to go. The first gap is an “assumption gap,” assuming you will grow automatically. “You show me a person who assumes and I'll show you a person who is almost daily disappointed,” Maxwell said.

The second issue is a “knowledge gap.” You may want to grow, but don't know how; the same could be true for the people you lead. But the value of what you give people is not as important as the fact that “it challenges them to get started.”

Constant growth “is the preparation for the opportunity,” Maxwell said. “You don't go into an opportunity, you grow into an opportunity.”

“Everything in life that you're ever going to want is based on your ability to develop yourself. ... The fruit of everything good in life begins with a challenge.”

Specific steps

• Make a commitment to intentionally grow, and make the commitment public. “A commitment that is not public is worthless,” Maxwell said, noting everyone has a tendency to get off course. “A shared commitment becomes a strong commitment.”

• Identify areas in which you want to grow. There should be at least two but no more than five, Maxwell said. You should identify an area of choice to grow in – attitude is one example – and one area of skill, such as public speaking. Invest one hour a day in the two areas using the time to prepare, practice and for reflection. 

• Take an hour each week and reflect, writing about what you've learned. And for those who might be stymied by the thought of journaling, Maxwell suggests starting with jotting, four to five words, and then consider writing more elaboration. 

• Share your growth with someone each week, but make sure they have cheerleader potential. “Don't ever spend time with someone if they aren't thrilled with your progress,” Maxwell said. And he has this caution about what may happen to your current circle of comrades: “If you become intentional in your growth, you'll outgrow almost everyone you know.”

Simes, the personal growth executive, said some people get started with a plan, see slow progress and give up. But, she said, “slow progress is progress.” 

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at lisagreen@jg.net. Lead On also appears online as a blog at www.journalgazette.net/blog/lead-on/