It was my great privilege to work for John Maxwell for a number of years. I had known John before that, and I had fallen in love with one of his organizations about as much as you could without working for them. That organization is EQUIP, which is now the largest leadership development organization in the world. It is the only organization that has trained leaders INSIDE THE BORDERS of every nation of the world.
That friends, is an unbelievable feat.
Led by CEO Mark Cole and various Executive Directors over the years, EQUIP was on a mission--to train 1,000,000 foreigners in values-based leadership development.
If you know much about John Maxwell, you know that his values come from the Bible. He was a pastor of several large and growing churches before he became a leadership guru. The goal of reaching 1,000,000 leaders overseas with great leadership training was a drop in the bucket. They knocked out that goal in their first five years.
One of the keys was the material is so "transferable." The other secret? They got the right people on the team, and everyone was rowing in the same direction.
Most of the material was from John, and the lessons were written with the help of Tim Elmore. Tim would take John's writings/teaching and put them into easily understood concepts.They would figure out how to apply those concepts and teach them to others.
Tim is the master when it comes to figuring out how to teach leadership principles in a way that they stick. Tim and John are great friends to this day. Tim now leads the best leadership development group for young people (Jr. High to College age): Growing Leaders, and he gives away a ton of great material. Check it out here.
There was one great leadership principle that John took from the book of Proverbs in the Bible. It has to do with your friends or, more accurately, the people that you hang out with.
There have been many ways this truth has been heard over the years. John says it like this:
"You will be the average of your five closest friends."
Put a different way, if you hang out with people who do bad things all the time, you are going to head in that direction. If you hang around with people who are really lazy, then I hope you don't expect to become a really hard worker anytime soon.
But the good news is, the opposite is also true!
When you hang around good people and/or hard working people, when you study with smart people, when you begin to exercise with people who are really disciplined... good things happen.
Tim Elmore talks to young people about their peer groups, who they hang out with after school, and how they go about spending their free time.
But this isn't only for young people. I’ve noticed this principle at work in my life. You’ve probably noticed it in your life as well.
I went on a golf vacation with a bunch of guys I hadn't really known before the outing. To put it in seafaring terms, they drank like pirates and cursed like sailors. Now don't get me wrong, there were some really nice, fun guys, on the trip. I'm really glad I met them, and a few of us have remained friends to this day. But, their normal behavior was different than mine.
Here is the crazy thing. After 3 or 4 days with them, when I hit a really bad shot, the first thing that would go through my mind was a curse word! I'm not kidding. Thankfully, it didn't come out of my mouth, but I was definitely thinking differently! And not in a better way.
After a few days around these guys, I was thinking different about my bad golf shots, but those new ways of thinking were bleeding over into other areas as well.
God and I had to have a talk about it. He reminded me of exactly what He has to say about this:
Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good morals.
To break it down in today's vernacular, "you'll be like who you hang with." So here's the question: Who are you hanging with?
When I ask you “Do you have the right people on your team?" I’m not only talking about people who have the competence to do the job, I want to know what kind of people they are. Are you going to become a better person if you hang out with them?
If so, fantastic! You are ready to build better systems and grow your company.
If not, don’t move forward without making your personnel issue a priority. It will jump up and bite you in the long run.
What are the questions you should be asking about how your team members see the organization and do the work?
We’ll look at that next week. Right now, do some soul searching. Do you have the right people on your team?
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