The Basic Laws of Leadership

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All leaders must learn the basic laws of leadership so they can use them as illustrations, as well as use them for productivity.

The Law of Sowing and Reaping

Whatever you sow, you reap. Another way to put it: In order to reap, you must sow. Everyone has to get good at one of two things: planting in the spring or begging in the fall. To deserve the harvest, you must plant the seed, take care of it in the summer and then carefully harvest it.

Now, here’s the rest of the law of sowing and reaping: If you sow good, you reap good. If you sow bad, you reap bad. You can’t sow bad and hope for good. You can’t plant weeds and hope for flowers. It works both ways, positive and negative.

Here’s something else about the law of sowing and reaping: You don’t reap only what you sow. You reap much more than what you sow. That’s important to understand. This works both positively and negatively, too. The old prophet said, “If you sow the wind, you don’t reap wind, you reap a whirlwind.” But if you plant a cup of corn, how much do you get back—a cup? No, a bushel for the cup. You get back much more than what you plant. That’s the reason for planting—for the increase.

Now, here’s the next key to the law of sowing and reaping: Sometimes it doesn’t work at all. The farmer plants the crop in the spring and takes care of it all summer. He’s an honorable man, loves his family and is a decent citizen. But the day before he sends the combines into the field, a hail storm comes along and beats his crop into the ground. And it’s gone. It’s lost.

So this time it didn’t work. Now what must the farmer do? He’s got to decide whether to do it again or not. “Shall we take another chance the next spring?” We would advise him to do so even though he lost everything in the last harvest, because, more often than not, you’ll have a harvest if you plant in the spring. There’s no guarantee, but it’s pretty good odds.

The Law of Averages

If you do something often enough, you’ll get a ratio of results. Once you understand that, the world is yours.

Let’s say you’re just getting started in sales and you talk to 10 people, and you get one. We now have what we call the beginning of a ratio. Talk to 10, nine say no, and one says, “Yes, I’ll buy your product. I’ll take your service.” Somebody says, “Well, one out of 10 isn’t that good.” Well, you’re just getting started. Here’s what happens with the law of averages: Once it starts, it tends to continue. If you talk to 10 and get one, chances are excellent that if you talk to 10 more, you’ll get another one. You don’t have to be perfect here. All you have to do is understand the law of averages.

Even if you’re only getting one out of 10, you can now start to compete. If you’ve been at it a long time, you can get nine out of 10. Even though I just started, I’m telling you if we have a contest, I will beat you. You say, “Well, you just started. How could you beat me?” It’s very simple. If we have a 30-day or a 60-day contest, while you talk to 10 and get nine, I’ll talk to 100 and get 10. I win. Isn’t that clever?

Here’s what I do if I’m new: I make up in numbers what I lack in skill. When my skills increase, I don’t have to do 100 to get 10. Once you understand the law of averages, the chances are excellent that the ratios will work for you. The law of averages will serve you well as a leader in your business career, in your sales career, in any kind of career.

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The 80/20 Rule

There’s an old leadership rule that’s been around a long time. It says 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the business, and 80 percent do 20 percent. This isn’t something you try to change or rearrange. It’s part of the deal. Somebody says, “Well, I’ll just fire the 80 percent.” No, because then, of whoever’s left, some of them will do 80 percent and the rest will do 20 percent. It’s not something you mess with.

These laws are just something you work with. So, how do you work with the 80/20 rule? Here’s what you’ve got to do: Part of it is time management. You can only give 20 percent of your time to the 80 percent because they’re only producing 20 percent. Now, you can give 80 percent of your time to the 20 percent. The pull, though, is in the opposite direction. Guess who wants eighty percent of your time? The wrong group.

This is not a moral question. It’s the wrong group in terms of productivity and effectiveness in your business, for your future. So what’s the answer to that? You can work individually with the 20 percent, but you can only work in a group setting with the 80 percent. The key to remember: Give 80 percent of your time to the 20 percent.

The Law of Faith

Faith is the ability to see things that don’t yet exist. Faith can turn difficulty into positive reality. There are a few parts to the law of faith:

See it as it is. First, faith is the ability to see it as it is. Faith doesn’t mind seeing it as it is because faith is a miracle worker. Faith does not ignore the negative. Faith uses the negative, because if there was no negative, then there’d be no need for faith. You need faith because everything isn’t OK. If it’s ugly, then it’s ugly. If it isn’t working, then it isn’t working. If it’s a mess, then it’s a mess. It doesn’t hurt to call a mess a mess. Faith doesn’t mind admitting that. Faith doesn’t mind seeing that. Seeing it as it is—that’s the beginning of faith.

See it better than it is. Second, faith is the ability to see it better than it is. Can’t you see beyond the mess? The mess is for today. Can’t you look into tomorrow? The answer is, “Yes, I can look into tomorrow.” Humans have this incredible ability to look into tomorrow, to look into next week, next year. So we not only have the ability to see it as it is—the beginning of faith—but also to see it better than it is. Dream the dreams, make the plans, visualize, use your imagination and see it better than it is.

Make it better than it is. Now, the part that turns faith into reality: Make it better than it is. Faith now must be invested. If you invest faith in action, you can take any situation and make it better than it is.

Don’t see it worse than it is. Here’s something to watch out for in the beginning of faith: Don’t see it worse than it is. Don’t blow it out of proportion. If it’s bad, that’s how bad it is. You don’t need to multiply how bad it is by 10. That’s not necessary. See it just as it is. That’s the deal.

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Don’t see it for more than it can become. Here’s another unique key to faith: Don’t see it for more than it can become. There’s a thin line between faith and folly. Yes, it’s possible to see yourself as a millionaire, but not overnight. It’s still possible to be a millionaire and it’s still possible to be rich and wealthy, given a certain amount of time working with the law of averages. Plenty is possible without being foolish in your faith exercise.

It might be worse than when you first see it. Keep in mind that it might be worse than you first see it. Sometimes you just look at the surface. You’d better look underneath. You’d better take a deeper look so that you can really see it as bad as it is. Not to overblow it now, but to make sure you see it as bad as it really is.

It might be far more in the future. Don’t forget to give yourself a chance to see that it could be far more in the future than what you can first see. On a foggy night, if all you can see is a hundred feet, then walk that first hundred feet. Now you can see another hundred feet.

So take the early steps of faith. Whatever you can see as possible to become, start believing that, have faith in that. As that starts to take hold, you’ll be able to see it for more and for more and for more, and the possibilities will start to increase in your own imagination.

Work With the People Who Deserve It

Life operates by deserve. So, in leading people, learn to work with the people who deserve it, not the people who need it.

You’ve got to set up objectives ahead of time to determine who deserves it. When you bring somebody into your enterprise, you set the ground rules. Make sure all the guidelines are clear. Monitor results and accomplishments, then you know who deserves it.

Now, remember the 80/20 rule—the pull is in the opposite direction. Guess who wants your help: usually the wrong people. It’s usually the people who need it, not the people who deserve it. There are plenty of places for your benevolence, but in your enterprise, you must respond to the people who deserve it.

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Teach people how to deserve it.

Teaching people and moving them from need to deserve starts to accelerate their self-esteem. You can’t believe what a high the beginning of new self-esteem is. If a person hasn’t had it for years and years, and they’ve been beaten down by their own philosophy and they’ve been beaten down by everybody else—if you start them on the early steps of learning to deserve, then that starts this process of self-esteem. And self-esteem leads to action, action leads to progress, and progress leads to fortune. So work with the people who deserve it. And teach people how to deserve your time, how to deserve your help.

Let people grow and develop.

Don’t expect the pear tree to bear apples. I mean, let people do whatever they can do. And let them change their mind. Let them grow and develop. Here’s what I’ve found: You cannot change people, but they can change themselves. The best you can do is to inspire, teach, pray and hope. You can’t get in there and change them, but you can do your best to deliver the message that can create change if someone will accept it. If someone will do something about it, then take the early baby steps to get them started. Be happy with the smallest progress, give some rewards and a pat on the back and say, “It’s going to work for you. You’ve taken these two steps. I’m telling you, if you can take two steps, you can take 102.”

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Know That There is Both Good and Evil

All leaders must teach the fact that there is both good and evil. We are all challenged to become the most of the good in us and the least of the bad. That’s the beginning of civilization. Character is a core element of leadership.

Let me tell you a story. The frog and the scorpion appear on the bank of the river at the same time, and the frog is about to jump in and swim to the other side. The scorpion sees what’s about to happen and engages the frog in conversation. He says, “Mr. Frog, I’m a scorpion and I can’t swim. Would you be so kind as to let me hop on your back? You swim across the river, and just deposit me on the other side. I’d be grateful.” The frog looks at the scorpion and says, “No way. Scorpions sting frogs and kill them. I’d get out there halfway, you’d sting me, and I’d drown.” The scorpion said, “Mr. Frog, with your frog brain, you’re not thinking. If I stung you out there halfway, you’d drown and I’d drown. I just want to get to the other side. Please do me the favor.” The frog says, “OK, that makes sense. Hop on.” The scorpion hops on the frog’s back, and the frog starts across the river. Sure enough, halfway across the river the scorpion stings the frog. They’re both in the water about to go down. The frog cannot believe what’s happened, and he says, “Why did you do that? I’m about to drown and die, but so are you. Why would you do that?” And the scorpion says, “Because I am a scorpion.” It’s his nature, his character. Make note of this: You can’t take a chance. You’ve got to know the scorpion.

I learned in building an enterprise that there are some people you don’t need. You’re better off without their productivity because they’re scorpions in the fold. The old prophet said, “Beware of the foxes that spoil the vines.” The vineyard looks good, but you’d better look a little closer—the foxes are at work. And to be a good shepherd, to be a good father, to be a good mother, you’ve got to learn the story of the frog and the scorpion and the foxes that spoil the vines.

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