The Law of the Big Mo

Published 10:09 pm Thursday, November 30, 2017

By Elaine Lankford

I remember as a young girl watching the 1984 Olympics. My favorite competition to watch was gymnastics, and my goodness, what a year it turned out to be.

That was the year Mary Lou Retton graced the Olympic scene in Los Angeles. She became the first American woman to win a gold medal in Olympic gymnastics.

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After years of training, she reached a level of achievement that continues to be talked about around the world. What was her secret? Momentum.

Merriam-Webster defines momentum as “the strength or force that allows something to continue or to grow stronger or faster as time passes.” For Olympic athletes, their careers live or die on whether they can build up enough momentum to overcome some serious odds.

I think most of us would agree, as business leaders, we face the same issue.

In “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership,” John Maxwell states “momentum is a leader’s best friend.” He calls it the Law of the Big Mo.

Without momentum at play in our businesses, we struggle at even the littlest tasks. But when we gain momentum, our business efforts seem to take on a life of their own.

As leaders, we need to understand the nature of momentum and how to use it within our businesses if we ever expect to win gold. Here are seven things about momentum that every business leader should harness.

  • Momentum is the great exaggerator. Nothing is more exciting than to get the day off on the right foot and then watch everything fall into place. What causes us to have this optimistic viewpoint of our day is directly related to the momentum we gain as each task is completed. It almost seems magical.
  • Momentum makes leaders look better than they are. No one looks better than a leader surrounded by momentum. Suddenly, the leader is everyone’s hero. They can do no wrong, and every idea is a great idea.
  • Momentum helps followers perform better than they are. Want to see a little pep in the step of your followers? Get the momentum going in your business. Followers suddenly do more, achieve more and cause the momentum to continue to rise.
  • Momentum is easier to steer than to start. Cold mornings make it hard to get out of bed, right? We stretch, we yawn, we roll over a few times. But once we are up and going, the momentum starts to build, and we can navigate through our day without issue.
  • Momentum is the most powerful change agent. With momentum in full motion, people are willing to take on the world. Change comes much easier in an organization where momentum is king.
  • Momentum is the leader’s responsibility. Great leaders are self-motivated and are, in essence, the source of momentum for every company. Leaders are the visionaries, the team assemblers and the starting quarterback of every project. If you’re waiting for your followers to get the momentum going, you’ll be waiting for a long time.
  • Momentum begins inside the leader. Eleanor Doan once said: “You cannot kindle a fire in any other heart until it is burning within your own.” Followers feed off a leader’s passion and enthusiasm, which is where momentum starts.

If you feel a little less than motivated when you get up to go to work tomorrow, then it’s time to figure out how to get the momentum going again. It’s not always easy, and it might take a little work, but once you have the Big Mo working for you, business will start booming again.

Elaine Lankford is a John Maxwell certified coach, teacher, trainer, and speaker. She is the founder of Transforming Love Ministries, LLC and a board member of the Christian Business Coalition of Hampton Roads. Email her at