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The Law of the Lid – Leadership for Contractors

Construction Leadership Podcast 01

Introduction to the Law of the Lid

watch-icon-4Hello and welcome!  Welcome to our podcast. The weather is finally turning warmer as we are now in the 2nd full week of spring. The construction industry is just getting going. My name is Chris Jurin. I am the CEO of Construct-Ed. In addition, I am a John Maxwell Team trainer and am also the president of two companies which serve the commercial roofing industry. Welcome to our podcast. Today I am going to discuss the first of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – the Law of the Lid.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is a book written by leadership guru – John Maxwell. John has brought these laws together as a result of a lifetime of serving in leadership positions as well observing and learning from leaders throughout many different walks of life. In these podcasts, we are going to look together at how these laws play into the construction industry. We are going to look at how these leadership laws impact the success that people have within the construction industry and how those people can become more effective leaders within the construction industry.
Before we get started, I would like to take a few moments to introduce myself. I am a third generation roofing contractor. I grew up in the business which helped foster my passion for leadership. I have been in industry leadership positions with the NRCA (National Roofing Contractors Association) as well as within our businesses. I am looking forward to adding value to you as a leader within the role that you play within your company.

If you are ready, let’s get started!

Explaining the Law of the Lid

why-publish-train-employeesThe construction industry is littered with examples of poor leadership. As they say, you cannot swing a dead cat without hitting an example of how poor leadership has led to the death of a construction related firm.
The first law of the 21 Irrefutable Laws is the Law of the Lid. The law states that leadership ability determines a person’s level of effectiveness. You can change this statement to fit many situations.

  • -Leadership ability determines a company’s level of success.
  • -Leadership ability determines a crew’s level of effectiveness.
  • -Leadership ability determines the long-term success of a sales team.

Any way that you want to skin the cat, the law applies.

In his book Good to Great, the author Jim Collins shares example of how some companies break from the flat line of existence to experience exponential growth. And then there are those who meet their demise because they cannot break from the pull. Many of the companies that go out of business do so because of the leadership or the lack thereof at the helm for the company.
Leadership is the key to growth. Without leadership, a company cannot exist. If the leadership level of a company is low, the opportunity for long-term sustainable growth is not there. Sure, you can have a company that can experience rapid growth in revenue because the sales team can sell ice to an eskimo.

But, can they sustain the growth of the company by leading their crews to perform the work in an excellent manner that meets or exceeds the customer’s expectations. Do all aspects of their company rise together, or does one aspect take the lead and the others languish? Sustainable growth has to be the focus. And you can only sustain growth if the leaders of the company continue to grow in their abilities.

As John Maxwell points out, if you have a company with an overall leadership ability of a 3 then the company will only achieve an overall rating of a 2. The company cannot grow around the leader. The leader becomes the lid on future growth! A crew cannot grow and achieve great successes of the leadership ability of the foreman is low. An effective service department must be led by someone who has leadership ability and is willing to grow in their abilities. Growth in the leader must occur before growth in the company, crew or department can occur. Doing it any other way is like putting the cart before the horse – it won’t go anywhere.

So how do you increase your lid? I am glad you asked.

presentation_Yel_Wh_80pxThe first thing to do is to realize that the best way to have maximum impact in growth is for you to increase your leadership lid. You cannot grow unless you acknowledge the need to grow and that you realize that you will be the better for it. There comes a point where attempting to be better at your trade or skill set will have a diminishing return. Think about it this way. Say that on a scale of 1 to 10 of roofers, that you are an 8. Pretty good right? But you are a 1 on the leadership scale. So how are you going to increase your own growth? Are you going to focus on growing your roofing abilities? It may take you as much energy to go from an 8 to a 10 as it did for you to go from a 4 to an 8. But, if you focus on increasing your leadership abilities you are then able to expand your impact. And you can use a few easy to learn tricks in building your skills in leadership. These skills will multiply your impact and you will get a much greater return on your investment of your time and energy when comparing the same energy and time that it would take to increase your roofing skills.

In the 21 Irrefutable Laws, John Maxwell states that “If a person’s leadership is strong, the organization’s lid is high. But if it’s not, then the organization is limited.”

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