NY Times best-selling author, John Maxwell teaches the 11 shifts that all leaders must make in today’s world of relentless and fast change. Throughout John Maxwell’s legendary career he has been the trusted leadership expert of choice for The United States Military Academy at West Point, the National Football League and countless Fortune 500 companies.
“Clay, you have a teachable spirit and one that wants to learn! I loved it! I loved being with you and let’s do it again!”- John Maxwell
FUN FACT – Yolanda Gail Devers is an American retired track and field athlete. A two-time Olympic champion in the 100 meters for the USA, her 1996 win made her only the second woman to successfully defend an Olympic 100m title.
FUN FACT – Mark Cole serves as the CEO of all John Maxwell Companies and has more than 25 years of leadership and team development experience, which uniquely qualifies him to have an integral role and be the champion of the John C. Maxwell brand.
John Maxwell’s office. Yeah. This is clay Clark. I’m trying to reach John Maxwell leadership. I guess you could call them mad. I mean he has sold 20 million books and he’s been the speaker of choice for the NFL. Keller Williams, Delta Airlines. Pretty much everybody is. Is he available in due time? Take you to him? I will, but first we must eat. This is a live call in podcast kind of video. I don’t know that it’s going to go over super well with all of our patterns of thousands of listeners listening to you and I eat. No impatient. You are please. I promise if this goes well, you and I are going to get together in the future and we can liquidate rocks together. It’s gonna be awesome. Appreciate you much tapped my young Patois for you. Now I will.
Yes, yes, yes and yes. Ladies and gentleman on today’s show,
the opportunity to interview a legendary leadership ship expert and a multiple time New York Times best selling author who has sold over $20 million copies of his books throughout his career throughout John Maxwell’s career, he has served as a senior pastor of multiple churches and he’s been the keynote speaker of choice for the United States Military Academy at West Point, the national football league, Keller Williams, Delta Airlines, Microsoft, and countless fortune 500 companies. I first read John’s book, the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership on a seven day Caribbean cruise in 2003 when my multimillion dollar company Dj connection was imploding as a result of great marketing and great sales and poor leadership in management skills. John, your book sincerely changed my life. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s welcome Mr John Maxwell onto the show. How are you, sir?
Oh, I’m excited to be with your clay. My Gosh. I mean with that intro, why wouldn’t I be excited? I think almost everybody’s excited, so good to good to have some time with you and your listeners. That’s for sure.
John Maxwell. I remember being on the cruise ship, it was a princess cruise line. I’m reading through the book and as I’m flipping through the pages, I’m going, oh no, everything that he’s telling people to do, I’m not doing. And so I’d like to start with the wall of the lid. That was the one that I read. I did, yeah. Oh, can you please explain to the listeners what the law of the lid is all about,
determines how well you succeed and it to illustrate it the best way I can see it from a one to attend. I’m an average leader. I’m a five or then that five represents my lid. And what that means is my organization is going to be a four, a three, a two or one. It’s impossible for my organization to go above rise above that lid. So whatever I am as a leader is going to contain what I’m leading and uh, you know, so, but if that’s discouraging to a Parisian, the encouraging part is that you can learn to lead, you can learn to grow as leader. You could be better. So you could go from my, if you’re average, you go from a five to six to seven to eight and every time I, every time I raised my lid, I raised the potential of my organization also.
And that law has been that clear. Back when I was 25 I became convinced that everything rises and falls on leadership. That leadership is good, a good things happen, leaderships bad, bad things happen and, and so that, that law has been kind of my life stamps and leadership for a lot of years. I just know it used to be a true law and, and so I love leadership. I love helping people learn to lead in and it really helped doing is lifting the lid for people and helping them go higher. So hopefully after you read the book on the Cruise, you got the lid lifted a little bit buddy.
Well, I highlighted pretty much every part of every page during the book and I got back to Tulsa and I thought I’ve got a lot of work to do and one of the things I did, I did a deep dive into you because the laws you were teaching were really, really powerful. But I thought, but who is John Maxwell, you know, I think, I think a lot of people know your name, but they don’t know your background and I certainly didn’t at the time. Could you share with the listeners a little bit about your background before becoming the best selling author and leadership expert that people now know us today? What were you doing before that?
And uh, and uh, grew up in a leadership home but grew up in home where my father was a pastor. And, uh, so, uh, when I graduated from college I went to my first little church and he’ll have had three people the first Sunday and wife Margaret and I, of course, I didn’t know anything about leadership and uh, but, but I realized very quickly if I was going to grow that church, I was going to have to know a lot about leadership. So I began to, I began to be consumed by it and read it and study it and practice it. And the more that I did dive into leadership, the more I realized that that was essential. So by the time I was 29, I had the 10th largest church in America and, uh, people were coming to me and asked me how I did it.
And, and really I, I, I did it by leadership principles. And by the way, everything I know a clay about leadership, everything is on the Bible. Everything. Um, in fact, when I’m in a secular conference and I’m doing some interactive q and a whatever, and sometimes once in a while, not often, my fake will come up or whatever, and I’ll just basically tell them, you know, everything I know about leadership, I don’t know for the Bible, and you’ll see this kind of, this disappointment look on their face. And they’ll say, well, let me explain something to you. Everything you know about leadership came out of the Bible too.
It’s a huge exercise. I’ll say, okay, give me your greatest leadership thought and I’ll give you a biblical principle right off. And uh, it is spelled, my gosh, it’s like magic because all of a sudden they’re saying, wow, you made this. Has Biblical roots. Yes, it does. Yes. So I was a pastor and I, I started writing books to help pastors learn how to lead because I had three degrees and never had a leadership course in any of my three studies or degrees. And so I thought, Oh, I’ve got to be somebody that teaches leaders how to lead these pastures. And so I started writing books for them. And uh, and I was with my publisher and we’re having a publishers meeting in 1995, but, and my books are really doing well and they, it. So they had done some research on it. They came and they said something that shocked.
They said, you know, 2:30 year book card not bought by the Christian community though they’re, they’re bought in it, secular bookstores by the business community. Literally at that moment I knew I needed to make a leader shift. I needed to, I needed to go, uh, go over there because I have a heart for sharing my faith and evangelism. And I thought, wow, this will give me an opportunity to have an audience that very few people in my, in my area gets. And so I made plans and to a large church in San Diego. So it’s a couple of years for me to put that church where it needs to be so I could make that change with. But then I crossed over into the secular world and that’s where I’ve spent, you know, Gosh, you know, the last 20 plus years I’ve been just trying to be salt. And light over there.
I would like to get into your new book that you’re releasing here. I’m super excited about it. I’m excited to read the book to dive into the book. I had an advanced copy so I was able to really take some notes and I put some questions together by promised pastor Randy frazy and pastor Brady Boyd, that I would tell you how low I interviewed them yesterday and they said, you gotta tell you gotta tell him hello. So hopefully you know those guys over there. Not randos. I’m just not making up names here.
Both those boys are, they’re the real deal. And I’ll bet you had a great time with it.
I did. I will. But here’s the deal. A pastor frazy is from his family from crazy Minnesota. Turns out he’s related to my uncle.
Grandfather started frazy, Minnesota town of a thousand people. I’m like, just randomly. He happened to know the guy. And then Tim Redmond, who is, uh, one of the business consultants I work with, he was actually quoted in your book 21 irrefutable laws of leadership. So I like, this is a divine appointment and now I must ask you, this book leader shifts. What first inspired you to write your newest book? My friend?
Well, I’ve been doing leadership now since I was 25. I’m 71 and what I’ve noticed is that in my life it leadership changes and add the ones who are successful in leading people are the ones who are constantly making these adjustments and have an agility to the ad and all of a sudden I thought, I don’t see anybody writing about this or helping them understand that these adjustments are natural adjustment so that they’re going to go through them. And especially in our day and age with social media, speed is everything. I was getting ready to do a conference for a company recently and their theme was fast forward and so they asked me what I thought about the famous and I think it’s good and I broke it down. I said fast to me means faster than ever. I mean it when people say, well, I just don’t want to make a decision to slow down so you’re never going to make a decision because they’re not slowing down. So with social media and everything else going fastest, faster at forward, shorter, uh, you know, when I, when I started off
rage plan, a five year bid range to short range. Now a long range plan is about 18 months. I mean it shorter for, you know, so when you, when you look out into the future, you just realize it’s, it’s, it’s going faster. And so I wrote this book because I haven’t seen anybody writing on shifting the shifts that you need to make the changes that you need to make. And when you put that into context, clay, that, that leaders, what leaders all have in common is they see more than others. See, they see the bigger picture and they see before others. See the moment. What’s that?
Oh, I was going to say that I feel like you have a pulse on what people need to hear now. I don’t know if that’s a. that’s a prayerful thing. If that’s because you’re speaking so much for meeting leaders, but you have this knack for writing a book right now that the world needs to hear right now. I’m sorry to cut you off. It just had a little skype a cutoff there, but that it seems like that’s your neck.
I take what happens quite well, first of all, I’d have six companies, so I’m leading it all the time. So I’m in the leadership game. I’m not just a teacher on leadership. I, I, you know, I have to lead companies so I’ve got that and then I’m out speaking all the time and, and I’m, I’m with you. Other great leaders and, and uh, interacting in green rooms and things like that. So I’m just get a lot of great exposure and most, all of my books, I, I speak them first and teaching and lectures and then I find out what catches on or what, you know, what everybody’s kind of saying this is really helpful. But I am very current and uh, I’m very excited about this book because, uh, I’m okay. It’s not how fast you are. It’s getting started first. So let me explain, I, I was, I was having a dinner with Gail deaver’s, who many of your listeners will recognize that name shoes, the terrific Olympic track athlete from the United States, uh, one Olympic medals in three different Olympic.
So incredible. In fact, when I have to have a dinner with her and her husband, she was getting ready and she was trained for her fourth Olympics and she had been reading some of my stuff and she had some questions you want. So we had dinner and so I thought I’d have fun with her toward the dinner. I said, gail, but thinking about this, I think I could. I think if you and I ran a hundred yard race, I could. When she looked at me, I mean huge disbelief. I mean she impacts you, the director’s institute here that he thinks he. And then she looks back at me and she’s, she’s looking at the Pillsbury doughboy. She’s, she’s, she can’t handle this boldness and at, and I got her into a place where she’s ready to take off her shoes and go out in front. We’re going to run a block and a have the lower race and then I said, don’t kill before we go out and run. Let me explain something to you. I, I believe I could. I believe I could. I could win 100 yard race with you if I had an 80 yard head start
and she started and she started laughing so well. Oh well of course you. Yeah, of course. Good down. Now I’ll be honest with you. I really want to say 70 yards by which struck and pull that one off. So I want to make sure. So I said 80, and of course, here’s the principle on how fast you are determines who wins the race to two starts first and she was making a moment and so leaders shifting. It’s all about starting first. If you see it more than other seed, you see before others see that, that you, what you need is you need to start, you just need to start shifting. You need to start moving in that direction needed to be. You need to be fluid. And so in the book leadership, I talk about these 11 of those shifts that I have made in my years of leadership.
The end, those aren’t the only 11 I there are probably 30 or 40, but, but I, I, I’m telling my journey and the 11th, 11th I went through, I know this, uh, anybody who wants to lead, well they’re gonna have to go to those, to those same shifts in their life. So, uh, I just had a blast laying it out and kind of basically just talking out of my experience of what I’ve learned and how that person helpers could really kind of be a adjustable and, and, and Agilent and move quick and, and take advantage of this day that we live.
John, did guilt deaver still have these super long fingernails?
Yes, she did.
Okay. Just curious. I’m just curious. I want to, I wanted to know that so that I’ve always wondered. So I’m just curious if she decided to. She still has long fingernails even post track career?
No, because I mean she’s, she’s super fast. I didn’t know if it would mess with her, aerodynamic us with the long fingernails. If you’d ever change. Okay. Now you as a rider, what makes your book so fun to read is you put stories in there, you put quotes in there and there’s a ton of research. You put the stories, you put the quotes, you put the research, and then there’s actionable items. There’s, there’s things you can do. It’s not. You’re not sitting around going, well, this is fascinating. What do I do? It’s very specific. What did your process look like for writing this book? The leadership.
I just went back in and said, okay, what shifts did I started writing them down and then I always, I always say, now what personal illustrations do I have? And then what I always do is I start talking to my leadership credits and I started talking to him about my idea and, and, and, and asking them what they think and bouncing off of them. And they began to add incredibly to my thinking and, and you know, there’s no such thing as a great thought coming from a single person. A great thought is a combination of several good thoughts and uh, so I, I just, I just really direct my questions in my relationships probably for up to a year while I’m getting ready to write the book and even while I’m writing the book to other really successful leaders and I pull from them and learn from them and they can be more added, uh, thoughts and materials and ideas, but when it’s all done, the thing that I think is so important for the reader of the book is, is again, so what, okay, now that I understand these are shifts I have to make.
How do I do with that? How do I make these shifts? And, and, and, you know, there’s no transformation without application. It’s what I do is I add all of my books. I always have an application section. I’m basically okay, you read the chapter. So let’s, let’s, let’s talk about what are the three things we need to pull that on that chapter and apply to our lives so we can be successful in that area. Uh, whenever I, whenever I speak, whenever I write, I always ask myself two questions, clay, what do I want the reader to know and what do I want the reader to do? Or if I was speaking to an audience, what do I want the audience to know, what I wanted to do? So clarity as far as here’s, here’s the lesson, here’s teaching, here’s the, here’s the principle, and then application. Okay, now, now that you know that, here’s what I want you to do and put the two together because it’s pretty powerful.
Disagree with the parts of your book that I highlighted, but I was highlighting a lot them. So I’m just going to read some of the ones that I highlighted and I’d like to have you break that down because I probably missed the biggest nuggets with my dense mind, but this is what I highlighted in the leader shift you right? One of the first and most important shifts anyone must make to become a leader is to move from a soloist to a conductor, is from soloist to conductor. You can be as successful person on your own, but not a successful leader. Could you break down what you mean by this
spotlights on me? Two Orchestra behind me. Everything is to lift me up and to start the soda list. And one of the things that leaders do immediately, clay is, is they realized that it is not about them. It’s really about others. And, and, uh, and so a lot of people never make that shift because they want it to be about them. And um, so I think the first, almost the first shift every leader has to face is a, do I want it to be about me or do I want it to be about others? If I want it to be about me, if I lead, it’ll be a very small group. If I want it to be about others, then wow, it could become huge. And I started, I started the book with that because I think that’s tackling the first issue. And, and, uh, and if I just say I’m going to be a conductor, that I’m ready to go make some other shifts in my life.
If I’m going to be a solo sets, a whole different deal, uh, I, I love the statement that I use in my loss of teamwork book that says one is too small to a number to achieve greatness and it really is it. And, and, uh, if you go to climb Mount Everest, you’re going to have to have people around you. You’ve got to have a team. If you’re gonna, if you’re just going to take a hill out the back behind your backyard, you can probably put on your tennis shoes and climbed a hill by yourself. But, but the big stuff, you can’t go by yourself. And so the shift has to be made sometime, you know, basically how big is my dream? How big is my team? And uh, you know, uh, uh, nightmares have a big dream and a bad team. Gosh, it’s a nightmare. And so you got to learn to be a conductor either got to get it. You’ve got to begin to lead and, and a point two and feature the strengths of the orchestra, not your strengths.
John, I don’t expect you to have done exhaustive research on me like I did on you. I did kind of creeper level research on you, you know, before interviewing you, but when I read your book, the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership, I remember I had a company called Dj Connection Dot Com. One of the first multimillion dollar companies I’d ever started. It was before I sold. It was the largest wedding entertainment company in the country and I realized, oh no, everything is about me. I am definitely. It’s all about me. I’ve got the law of the lid. I’m a soloist. Why do you feel like that? I was able to implement it and have success when so many other people maybe read a book and then don’t implement. I mean, why do you, why do you feel just want to. I know there’s somebody out there who maybe read some of your books and it doesn’t apply. I would like for you to speak into the lives of the people out there that have, you know, why are some people able to implement in some people not help us implement.
I can. I apply it to my life. Whenever I look at a person, I always ask the question, are people that can they and will they, you know, can they, it has to do with ability, will they have to do, it, has to do with attitude and, and I, I, you know, anybody can apply it. The reason that you, you learned from the book and applied that book to your life. Clay is very simple. You’re teachable. You have a teachable spirit. A teachable spirit is the spirit that wants to learn and is willing to change and it has to be both wants to learn and is really change. She learning in itself is not gonna do it for you. Hold the greatest captain, the a gap between knowing and doing so. So when a person is or while I’m learning something as well that’s nice at the question I have is, are you improving and improvement is, is where the application comes in you, you know, you, you can know something and still not do something.
You’ve got to flush it out. And I think that you were teachable, which meant that you are, you were, you were willing to learn and, and wanting to learn and you’re willing to change. And boy would you put the combination of I’m, I’m willing to, I wanted to be teachable. I went into learn from, you got somebody to teach me that’s going to help me, but now I going to help out. I’m going to, I’m going to help myself and want to apply it to my life. Now you do that. Anyone can have a positive change and anybody can grow from the stuff I give them. But, but you know, I don’t change anyone. I just give them the environment to change in. You know, you, you made that. I gave you an environment to change your leadership in clay. But you’re the one who made the decision to make the change that me. And because you did, you know, look what it did for you. But, but many people, they, you know, they come to hear me or they read a book and they said, well that was interesting. Or Man, I learned a lot. But again, they don’t apply it, that they’re not gonna get any better, that’s for sure.
I probably owe you residual royalties for all the shameless ideas I’ve stolen from you over the years.
I’ll give you the address
chapter four of your newest book. Moving on there. I don’t think we heard that part. So chapter four of your book.
Hey, you weren’t very teachable there.
Oh, right, right, right, right. In chapter four of your newest book leader shift. Um, I feel like, again, I can highlight the whole chapter, but the chapter is titled Perks to price. Could you break down with this chapter of your book is all about.
Yeah. Well, very simply teaches everything worthwhile is uphill as a phenomenal principal. And in fact, when I teach it to an audience, I just raised one of my arms and as you know, uphill and I, I just, I just hold it for a while and say, everything that you need to know about success in life is visually right before you right now. So they’re just looking at my arm raised in the air, and I let him let it sink in visually and I sit down. Everything worthwhile is uphill there. There’s nothing in your life or my life, a clay that’s, that’s worthwhile that, that we slid to there, there, there’s never that we did. We did. We didn’t slide down to something that was very special and precious to us. We had to climb up to it. And uh, you know, that that means you have to have energy.
That means you have to have effort. That means you have to, it takes time. There are no shortcuts to this. Uh, and, and by the way, it’s appeal all the ways, not a of pills. And so to go uphill, you have to be intentional. And I’m at this is, this is where it really, really becomes huge. Uh, you know, no one’s ever written a book on accidental achievements. And uh, uh, that’s the price that you pay you and want to tell people is it’s not a, it’s not a price. You pay one snapchat, pay it, then you’re on easy street the rest of your life. No, this is a price that you pay every day. It’s uphill all the way. And, and, and most people don’t handle that. Most people have, they don’t lead their life, they accept their life and because of that, uh, they’re waiting, they’re waiting for a better day and easier a moment and it doesn’t come to them and they never reached their potential, not because they couldn’t, they, they didn’t meet your potential because they wouldn’t. And, and what I tell people all the time is that price, the price is the obstacle between you and your potential is. So the question is not when people say, do you think I can reach my dream? I, I say, well, you know, you. Yeah, I think you can. The question is not, can you. A quick question is, will you, you know, you see the dream is free, but the journey isn’t.
I cannot agree with you more. You know, podcasts. We’ve spent $10,000 a month on ad words for a long time to promote this. We have 1400 some odd shows just grinding, grinding work in. And my partner, I people look at us now and say, you know, you guys have built 13 multimillion dollar companies. That’s great. They don’t realize the uphill battle that we had to fight the entire time. And we have one of our listeners out there. Who is she? She’s a fighter. She’s a hard worker. And I, I promised her that I would ask you a question on the show. She’s a longtime reader of all of your books in really, uh, she, uh, is, is huge fan. So John Maxwell, this is, this is a question from Lori Kelly. She, she asks you, she says, as a leader, there are always people needing you. How do you, Mr John Maxwell organize your day so you can accomplish the things you need to do, as well as help others accomplish what they need to do.
My mind, let me get them to very quickly. First of all, the question is not, will your calendar be full? The question is, who will fill your calendar? If I let all the needs of the world fill my calendar, I’ll never get onto what my purpose and calling it. And giftedness is Charlottesville the calendar and what I do is I fill it with things that I need to do to help the most amount of people so you can’t meet everybody’s needs. So one of the principles I followed was very simple. Do for one what you wish you could do for many. And uh, and I do, I’ll find a person in pour into them and give them what I can’t get everybody because of time. But then I. But by requirements, if I deposited this in you, you got to go deposit this and others too so that I can kind of keep it moving and helping be a river, not a reservoir.
So, you know, it’s a great question but. But I think you, I think you have to keep control of your calendar. There’s no such thing, by the way, as a time management. I talk about time management cracks me up, but you can’t manage time, time, in fact, you don’t need to manage and it goes along with your manager or not. I don’t have to look at the clock and say, I gotta manage you to get to the next hour. No, no. It just keeps going. With what you do is you manage priorities, not your time and it’s and that’s where you make the best use of time, but managing your priorities, so that’s when I would share with her. Hopefully that helps.
That’s awesome knowledge there and this entire show is a knowledge bomb. I just need to keep hitting the knowledge bomb button again. Now John Maxwell, on a very practical level, you run an Oregon, you run organizations, I think for companies you said and you have to hold people accountable and you’re known as a positive speaker. You’re an inspirational speaker. You’re a practical speaker, but let’s just say someone was working within one of your organizations. Did I know it never happens to you, but for other people, somebody is working within a company that you’re in charge of and they know the person you’re delegating to clearly knows what to do, but yet they choose not to do it and it is abundantly clear that they knew what to do. How would you, Mr John Maxwell handle it when somebody knows what to do and clearly chooses to not do what they know to do?
Well, it happens with everybody, but the problem didn’t happen when a problem occurs, one of the things we work on very hard and, and I do have these companies, but I really don’t run them anymore. I’ve got a mark Cole who’s my ceo overall have been in their presence. We have what we call up front expectations clay. And when somebody joins the team, we sit down with him and they say, we say we want to get right out right now, our of you. And uh, and, and so they’re not allowed to about six, seven that we say. We have to understand that this is upfront and you don’t have to buy into it. We don’t have to have you on the team. So this is the way it’s work. It is really up front. And one of the upfront expectations is we will have tough conversations and we let him know right in the very first moment before they ever sign on, join the team.
That will have tough conversations and, and whenever somebody desperate performed like the need to perform, we won’t wait for performance review. We’ll sit down right there and say, hey, this is not acceptable. Remember we said we’re going to have tough conversations. This is one of them. And it could get a lot tougher unless you kind of make some changes here in your life. And uh, I, what I found out is if you have enough privacy expectations, it’s huge. A Max depree said, you know, uh, the first responsibility of a leader is, is to define reality and, uh, and, and, and we, I think upfront expectations does that for us. That’s how we do it.
John Maxwell, I cannot thank you enough for hopping on the show today to share with our hundreds of thousands of listeners. We have about a half million people a month and download this podcast. And on behalf of everybody, I just want to say thank you for investing in our, in our listeners, and I would invite all the listeners to check out your newest book. The leader shift this book is, is game changing. Uh,John Maxwell, thank you for sending me an advanced copy of the book and uh, I, I, hopefully this podcast did not fail to meet your expectations, my friend.
I loved it. I loved being with you and
I, I tell you what, I will circle back to you and, uh, again, you, you changed my life. A cruise boat, DJ connection Dot Com. If you google it, when we hop off, you’ll see it’s all over the country now because of you and the leadership that you taught me so many years ago and I hope you have a blessed day, my friend.
Yeah. Well let’s keep in touch. Okay.
Alright. You take care. Thrive nation. After 15 years of chasing the leadership Yoda around. There it is John Maxwell on the thrive time show and that deserves a boom. So here we go. Without any further. I do three, two, one. Boom.