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The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Follow Them and People Will Follow You

By John C. Maxwell
13-minute read
Audio available
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John C. Maxwell

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (1998) explains what it takes to become a great leader. These blinks highlight many of the traits, skills and characteristics that have given leaders around the world the power to attract loyal followers and lead them toward success. Find out what Ray Kroc, Winston Churchill and Mother Theresa all have in common – and what you can do to become a better leader yourself.

  • Business executives and CEOs
  • Entrepreneurs looking for secrets to success
  • Students of business management

John C. Maxwell, a pastor and bestselling author, is a specialist on the qualities of leadership. A popular keynote speaker, his other books include The 360° Leader and The 5 Levels of Leadership.

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The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Follow Them and People Will Follow You

By John C. Maxwell
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John C. Maxwell
Synopsis

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (1998) explains what it takes to become a great leader. These blinks highlight many of the traits, skills and characteristics that have given leaders around the world the power to attract loyal followers and lead them toward success. Find out what Ray Kroc, Winston Churchill and Mother Theresa all have in common – and what you can do to become a better leader yourself.

Key idea 1 of 8

The biggest factor in business success is quality leadership, which makes the boss the most accountable.

There’s a McDonald’s on just about every corner these days. But do you know how this behemoth got started?

It began in 1937, in Pasadena, California, when brothers Dick and Maurice McDonald opened a small drive-in restaurant that actually specialized in hot dogs, not hamburgers. A few years later, they relocated to San Bernardino, California, where they reorganized their kitchen into a fast-moving assembly line and included hamburgers on the menu.

In 1952, the brothers decided to franchise their fast-food concept, but immediately ran into problems.  

This was due to the Law of the Lid, one of the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership. It states that the potential success of you and your company is limited by one single quality: your ability to lead.

And that’s why the brothers had trouble franchising their business. Despite being great with customers and having innovative ideas, they were horribly inept leaders, which meant that very few franchisees were willing to put their faith in the concept.

This became even more apparent after they struck a deal with Ray Kroc to expand the business. A great leader in his own right, Kroc got to work fixing the apparent problems by recruiting other leaders for all the critical positions. And even though he couldn’t really afford to pay them, he took out personal bank loans, cashed out his life insurance policy and sacrificed his own salary for years in order to get things running smoothly.

The results speak for themselves. While the McDonald brothers only made 15 franchise deals on their own, Ray Kroc closed 100 in his first four years with the company and nearly 400 additional ones in the four years that followed.

The vast importance of the leader also means that when an organization is hurting, it’s typically the leader who’s going to take the fall. For instance, when the consultants at the advisory firm Global Hospitality Resources are called in to rescue a struggling hotel, one of their first solutions is to fire the boss. For them, it’s obvious that, if the hotel had a good leader, it wouldn’t be asking for help in the first place.

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