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The law of victory

By Elaine Lankford

On Oct. 9, 2012, the name Malala Yousafzai became known to the world. As a 15-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala was already working in her country to raise awareness about women’s rights to education. Unfortunately, she became a prime target of the Taliban and on that fateful day in October was shot at close range, nearly dying. After months of recovery, Malala became a courageous figure on the world stage and continues to this day to fight for the rights of women everywhere to have an education.

Why bring up this story? Because Malala is a perfect example of the Law of Victory, which states: “Leaders find a way for the team to win.” She wasn’t fighting for herself, but for women in general. As she began to win her fight, she made it possible for others to succeed.

As leaders in business, our focus shouldn’t be on individual wins, but on team victories. However, to lead our team to the finish line, we must be leaders determined to win. In “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership,” John Maxwell makes this statement: “Victorious leaders possess an unwillingness to accept defeat. The alternative to winning is totally unacceptable to them.”

John also uses the example of how Winston Churchill faced an uphill battle against the rising Nazi regime of Germany. England found itself on the front lines of the war. Churchill knew that a defeat would mean the end of democracy; and therefore, he fought for its survival. He carefully assembled a team of foreign leaders, including one Franklin Roosevelt, to take on Hitler and his allies. Churchill knew underneath it all that a win for Britain was a win for the world.

As leaders, it is also important that we cultivate teams that are dedicated to victory. In that vein, John gives us three components to victory.

The first is unity of vision. A team positioned to win is one that works from the same playbook. In words, every member of the team must be on the same page, including the leader.

Second, the team must possess a diverse set of skills. A leader who is “in it to win it” uses each team members’ unique talents to create a team that is well-rounded in its abilities.

Lastly, a leader dedicated to victory and raising players to their potential builds a winning hand. Each individual member of the team who reaches their top potential moves the team that much closer to victory.

As a side note, there is one other thing you should know about leaders driven by the Law of Victory. They have no Plan B.

Some of the best sports competitions are between two teams who have tied up the score right down to the last play of the game. The intensity of each move made in those moments is felt by fans all over the country and sometimes all over the world. With seconds to go on the clock, we are left speechless and holding our breath until the final points are scored. And if we are lucky, the team that wins is our team! As we celebrate their victory, we feel like a part of the team.

So, do you have a competitive streak? I mean, who doesn’t like to win? The problem is when we attempt to win alone, the victory isn’t as sweet as we think. For most of us, we belong to some sort of team, whether it is our family, a sporting team or our business team. In every area of our life, we should be willing to help those who support us to win and win together.

Henry Ford once said: “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

Elaine 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. Replies can be sent to elaine@elainelankford.com.