The Law of the Inner Circle

John Maxwell says the level of success in your organization is measured by the people that surround you. In other words, you will either win or lose because of the people on your team.  He calls this the Law of the Inner Circle. This is true if you are a pastor of a church, a CEO of a fortune 500 company, a young life leader, manager of a supermarket, coach, parent, or leading a non-profit.

If you have great people in your inner circle then you can make a lot of progress because you’ll have the support to pull things off. The inverse is true; if you have the wrong people you’ll start to stand still. In Good to Great Jim Collins describes it like a bus. You have to get the right people on the bus, get the right people in the right seats, and then drive the bus in the right direction. If any of those get crooked, you’ll have problems.

Here’s my favorite part of the Law of the Inner Circle: have the meeting before the meeting. If you have ten people in your team and you’re about to have a meeting, there are always two or three members who influence the others. That’s just how it works. Before the meeting, discuss the issue with them first so you get their buy-in before the meeting (you might also discover issues you hadn’t thought of and you can solve it at that point instead of getting blindsided at the meeting.) Since they are the “influencers” you’ll have a much more efficient meeting.  These mini leaders are your inner circle- spend the majority of your time with them and good things will happen.

Books I recommend on this topic: 360 Degree Leader by John C. Maxwell and 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by Maxwell.


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