In 2015 I spent 5 days in Orlando, Florida (yeah, I know, it’s tough at the top!) in a personal growth conference with 3000 other business owners. All there to learn from some great thinking minds, including the number one leadership author John Maxwell.
It was the first time I really understood the Law of the Lid.
Let me explain.
You’re the leader of your business.
If your thinking is unclear, the organisation will, in all likelihood, be worse.
But the clearer you are, the clearer the organisation will become.
You’ll never have all the answers. Never will. But successful leaders leverage their team to find the right answers when they need to. Bottom line, when the shit hits the fan, you’re always responsible for what is going on within your organisation and it’ll never outperform its lid – YOU!
On a scale of 1 to 10, if you’re performing at a 6, the organisation cannot grow beyond a 5 because your leadership won’t let it.
Trouble is, whether you’re aware of your level or not, if you fail to take action to raise it, anyone in your team capable of achieving a higher level will become frustrated
They will either leave to pursue a career elsewhere or simply return to their comfort zone but either way, the lid doesn’t move.
You’ll either hold back those capable of growth or push them out of your organisation.
I’ve experienced this situation in my own organisation many times.
“Humility is the foundation of growth while pride and ego prevent growth.”~ Mack Story
Over the years I’ve seen people leave our businesses because they are growing quicker than the business itself is growing… which of course was my fault because I either failed to lift my own lid in that business or the lid of the person I elevated to run that business for me – simples!
I’ve also observed this happening in organisations I’ve worked with and consulted for. The leaders in those organisations had many different ideas on how they should lead their people and most have no recognition of the limitations they have become on their business.
Ultimately, there is only one lid on the organisation. However, there can often be sub-lids throughout. The level of leadership will get lower at each level because the law of the lid is in effect at each level.
That’s why it’s critical for the Owner (You) to grow and develop yourself in order to grow and develop the leaders reporting to you, who in turn, should be growing and developing their respective teams.
So how do we enable this?
Well first of all it’s not all about reading books!
We take responsibility for everything that happens to us, to our teams and to our organisations – ALWAYS!
1. Owning the business doesn’t entitle you to the trust and respect of your staff. You must earn that trust and respect by first building relationships, trusting and respecting them. This will build greater influence and enable you to ‘make shit happen’.
2. Be a High-Level Leader. High Level Leaders empower others and ‘intentionally’ allow good or bad things. Low Level Leaders disengage and avoid taking responsibility while allowing bad things to happen then blame others for what has happened.
3. Your ability to ‘Prevent Shit from Happening’ depends on who you are (your character) and what you know (your competency). You can intentionally and unintentionally prevent effective and ineffective actions from happening.
• Stronger character and higher competency will help you prevent ineffective actions (bad things)
• Weaker character and lower competency will cause you to prevent effective actions (good things)
4. Take time to reflect and take the blame when things go wrong and give the credit when things go right. Understand and accept the fact that you are ultimately responsible for all aspects of your team and organisation. Earn respect and build trust at all levels of the organisation.
Remember – When the lid thinks they know all they need to know and doesn’t have the time or desire to participate in self education or personal growth, they are ensuring that the organisation stays at the same level.
The law of the lid is as real as the law of gravity. You don’t have to believe in gravity to fall off a cliff… just get too close to the edge.
The Law of The Lid is the reason your organisation is at the level it is… so take action today.