Tests of Timing (Part 1)

Knowing when to lead is just as important as knowing what to do and where to go. That’s why we’re beginning a new series on the Tests of Timing. John Maxwell explains that, when it comes to making good timing decisions, environment is everything. So, throughout this two-part series, he walks us through a step-by-step guide complete with key questions at every step to help you test whether the environment is right for the decision you need to make. 

During the application portion of the episode, Mark Cole and Jason Brooks discuss how they’ve implemented these tests in the John Maxwell Enterprise and how the courage to make big decisions comes from giving yourself permission to fail.

Our BONUS resource for this series is the Tests of Timing Worksheet, which includes fill-in-the-blank notes from John’s teaching. You can download the worksheet by clicking “Download the Bonus Resource” below.


Mark Cole:       Hey, welcome to the John Maxwell Leadership Podcast. I am excited about this episode. It's actually more than an episode, it's a series. We're going to bring to you a two-part series called The Test of Timing. Now, John, several years ago, he did a session about timing, about how we test our ability to lead with the law of timing. In John's book you'll hear him reference in today's lesson, he writes about the law of intuition and the law of timing and how both are some of the most difficult laws for a leader to use. Today, I want you to grab a pen, grab a paper. You're going to be able to hear from John on three of these tests, of these areas that John is challenging us to build the right environment.

Now, after that, Jason Brooks, my cohort today, is going to come and join with me to break out this application of the test of timing. If you would like to download the notes, we have notes for you, you can go to maxwellpodcast.com/timing, and you'll be able to click on the Bonus Resource button and be able to take the worksheet and fill in the blanks and follow along as John Maxwell, Jason Brooks, and I spend time talking to you about tests of timing during times of crisis. I look forward to sharing with you, but before then, here is John Maxwell.

John Maxwell:  I can tell you that when I wrote The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, with integrity, I could say to people that every one of those laws you can transfer or teach to other people. In other words, all the 21 laws are teachable laws. But also it's a fact that some laws are harder to teach than others. There are some laws that are harder to learn than others. The two toughest laws of leadership out of the 21 to teach are the following two. Number one is the law of intuition. To teach a person to be intuitive in the area of leadership is a challenging task. And the second law is the law of timing. To teach them how to know the ebb and flow of life is also very difficult.

Now, when I look at both the law of intuition and the law of timing, what I understand very quickly is that both of these laws of leadership favor what I call the natural leader, the person who has kind of a leadership gift within him or her, that they favor them. In other words, people that have a leadership leaning, they understand intuition, they understand timing a little bit better than people who don't have a leadership leaning. And here's why. We are intuitive in the area of our giftedness, and that's a fact. You and I are intuitive in the area of our giftedness.

Now, let me explain that for just a second. Some people come to me, they'll say, "Well, I'm not intuitive." And I look at them and say, "Oh yeah, you're intuitive, you just may not be intuitive in this area." But you show me the area where you're gifted in and I'll show you, that's exactly where you're intuitive. In other words, our gift mix and our intuitiveness or our sense of timing come together. The proverb writer said this: "Make hay while the sun shines, that's smart. Go fishing during the harvest, that's stupid." And a lot of us have watched people who just make stupid decisions. We wonder, why are they doing this and why would they be doing it at this time?

Edwin Kiester Sally said these words: "Our lives are a sum of our decisions, whether in business or personal spheres. And in every decision there comes a crucial point when you must make up your mind. Deciding too quickly can bring disastrous consequences, and delaying too long can mean missed opportunities. Often, when you decide is as important as the decision itself." And that's like the law of timing in The 21 Laws of Leadership. When to lead is as important as what to do and where to go. Let me put it this way. The only difference between a long foul ball and a home run is timing. It's just a timing issue. It's not power, it's not strength, it's not distance, it's timing. A long foul ball, you just swung a little bit too quick on it. Home run, same swing, same tempo, nothing changes except the timing. And yet one doesn't count for anything and one counts basically for everything.

So this lesson is about two things. Number one, awareness, understanding the right environment needed to make correct timing decisions. And we're going to talk a lot about what's the right environment to make a timing decision? And secondly, it's about affirmation, applying tests to the right environment to assure the potential success of your decisions. So we're going to help you to be aware of the environment that you need to understand to make a timing decision, and then we're going to give you some tests that if you follow these tests, will affirm you in saying yes, you're doing the right thing at the right time.

Okay. Let's start with the right environment, because in timing decisions, environment is everything. People that understand timing realize that they had to be very aware of their surroundings. They have to be very aware of how is the environment at the moment that I make this decision? Let me begin to build the right environment for timing decisions. Number one, the needs around you. For a timing decision to be correct, there has to be needs. In fact, the Greyhound Bus ad says it best, "When you deal with basic needs, you're always needed." How true that is. Now, how do I become aware of the needs around me? How do you become aware of the needs around you?

The first test that we want to apply to this environment of the needs around us is what I call the listening test. In other words, am I listening? Am I aware of other people's needs? Usually we're more aware of our own needs than this, but is there a sense of awareness that other people around us are expressing, showing, demonstrating needs? And if so, what does that mean to me and how am I going to apply that to my timing decision? Let me just read to you a classic example of people who are going in one direction and all of a sudden saw that the needs of others were an entirely different direction. Just after World War II, two young Kansas City brothers decided to go into business for themselves, and with $25 as rent money for a desk space in a real estate office, they started the United Business Company, offering a bookkeeping and receivables collection service.

To get new customers, the brothers promised the prospects that they would prepare their tax returns for them. Soon the brothers were working seven days a week into the wee hours. It seemed the service they gave away was more popular than the ones that they were selling. A friend suggested that they advertise their tax service and charge for it, so they did. Within days, they were getting calls not only from businesses but from individual taxpayers who were desperately looking for an outfit to help them with those confounded 1040s.

In 1955, the brothers dissolved United and started a new company just to prepare individual tax forms. Henry and Dick attribute their success to this one thing, they finally offered customers what they really wanted to buy. You know what that was. That was H&R Block, the tax preparers, literally wanting to do bookkeeping for people and said, "If you'll let us do your bookkeeping service, we'll prepare your taxes for you." And what they found out was what they were offering for free was wanted more than what the business was all about.

Listening. In this environment, being able to change when you see that you're not on the right track. The philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "If a man can make a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, though he builds his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door." But Emerson was wrong. You must beat a path to the customer's door to find out what he wants and what he needs. Stunning innovation and brilliantly designed new products are only part of the answer. Fortunately, Mr. Emerson made his living as a philosopher, not as a company president. Aren't we glad for that?

Now, was he right about the fact that if you find something good, people will want it? Yes, but what he was wrong is, is the fact that they would find you. No, they won't find you. This environment of needs and timing means you're listening to them and you're finding them. So the needs around you, you've got to apply the listening test.

Now let me give you three other tests that you just need to apply quickly. The values test, who am I? Because when you begin to see the needs around you, you've got to know yourself. Is this who I am? Then the mission test, what is my purpose? Does my purpose match that need? And finally the priority test, should I do this? You see, we need to discern the difference between the needs around you and the calling within you. Now, let me explain that, and then we'll do one more thing, and then I'll go to the second part of the environment that we need to look at.

What I discovered was that if anybody is listening well, you're going to find that there are more needs around you than you have resources to meet those needs. Is that not true? In other words, you're going to get overwhelmed. And a lot of times, what do we do? We go from overwhelmed to guilty, because the next thing we're doing is we're starting to say, "Well, I can't do this," and then, "Why don't I do this?" and "Good night here, this is a valid need." As you're listening and you see the needs around you, you got to be able to look at the values test, basically who am I? Does this match who I am? And the mission test, does this match where I'm going? The priority test, should I do this? Because it's a need, that doesn't constitute that it's a calling. Doesn't mean that you and I have to do it just because the need is there.

And I think sometimes we become very guilty, because we think, well, I'm just not meeting that need. Well, maybe that's not who I am. And if it's not who I am, somebody else has to meet that need. Does this fit my gift mix? Does this fit in my mission, my purpose, why I'm here? And I think there's one other test you got to ask yourself and apply to the needs around you, and that's the reality test. The reality test basically asks this question: "Can I do this? Can I do this?" The reality test and the sense of timing helps me to understand that I cannot meet every need, so I have to basically prioritize. What can I meet? And again, how do I know what realistically I can do? Well, I have to look at my skills. I got to look at my team, how many players I have. I got to look at my time, got to look at my gifts. The questions that we're asking ourselves. Okay, enough of that.

In timing decisions, the first question that describes the proper environment for us to do something as far as timing is concerned is the needs around us. When you see needs around you, is it time for me to act? The second area of the right environment that we need to consider are the opportunities that are before you. Not only do you have needs around you, but of the needs around you, some of them are tremendous opportunities before you. Now, that helps you eliminate those needs which you're going to handle and what you aren't going to handle, because now you're starting to get a grid. Well, do I have an opportunity to really meet that need? Okay, no business opportunity is ever lost. If you fumble it, your competitor will find it. It's very true, so don't ever worry about lost opportunity. You just lost it, friend. Remember that. Okay.

The Murphy's test tells us very simple, this is one of the tests you want. What could possibly go wrong? Could I accept the consequences? When we begin to look at opportunities, we have to downsize those opportunities and say, okay, let's do Murphy's Law. Let's take Murphy's test. What could possibly go wrong? You see, the Murphy's test is important, because as Einstein said, "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." The result? There's a lot of downside that surrounds opportunity. And we have to understand, when you see a big opportunity, if you're looking at a big problem, how do you do it? You seek out a big problem. Big opportunities and big problems are always side by side. So when an opportunity is before you, you have to ask yourself, what's the downside of this? If anything could go wrong, as Murphy says, it will go wrong, what would happen if it goes wrong? We have to have a realism and look at the downside.

Now, there's a second test, though, when opportunities are before us that we need to work out, and that's what I call the common sense test, just pure common sense. Does this opportunity make sense, or am I trying to make sense out of the opportunity? And what I have discovered is, passion can erase common sense. I know a lot of people who have great passion, but sometimes a person, they get this passion and just say, did we have to check our brains in at the door? Passion is a wonderful thing, but it really helps if there's some common sense with it, if there's mental thinking behind it.

Then thirdly is the preparation test. When opportunities are before us, I have to ask myself, am I prepared to do this? Or as John Wooden said, "When opportunity comes, it's too late to prepare." Great statement. Preparation is not total consensus or knowing all the answers before starting. When we talk about being prepared, we're not talking about 100% of the people have bought in, and we're certainly not talking about the fact that you have all of the answers, so therefore you can go from there. We're not talking about that. All too often, would-be decision-makers keep collecting, analyzing, and re-analyzing information, hoping for that one last convincing detail that will dictate the correct choice.

Kathleen Eisenhardt, Associate Professor of Strategy and Organization at Stanford University, studied fast and slow decision-making in 12 Silicon Valley companies. The fast deciders took two to four months to make major decisions, such as introducing a new product. In that time, surprisingly, they collected more information, considered more alternatives, and thought the questions out more vigorously than did the slow decision-makers. But they didn't try to gather every last shred of information or strive for 100% agreement. By contrast, the slow decision-makers took up to 18 months to reach a similar decision. They strove for total mastery of the facts and total consensus, and by the time they reached agreement, the decision was often irrelevant. The speedy decision-makers knew the danger of becoming so bogged down in data that they could never see the big picture and make the decision. The moral is very simple, beware of creating paralysis of analysis.

Which brings me to another test when opportunity is before you, and that's the option test, the very simple do I increase or do I decrease my options by waiting? If they're increasing, I can hold on a little bit longer. If they're decreasing, I must act now. Now, there's another test with the opportunities before us, and I call it the deadline test. The deadline test says, when is the best time to make the right decision? Lee Iacocca said, "The right decision is the wrong decision if it's made too late. And serious decision-making only happens," and I've found this true, "when a deadline is set." Isn't that true? We have to set a deadline.

I mean, let me put it this way. Think of the decisions you make the day before you go on vacation. Think of the work you get done the day before you go on vacation. Why? Because you're going to be gone tomorrow. So all of a sudden, stuff that's been piling up on your desk, you're making it. So as I look at the future, the opportunities before us, which is part of the right environment to make a timely decision, I have to ask myself, are the options increasing or are they decreasing? And then, obviously, set a deadline for that entire process.

We've talked about two things that environment has to be right for making a good timing decision. A good timing decision includes number one, the needs around you, number two, the opportunities before you. The third indicator of a right environment to make a timing decision is the influencers behind you. Not only say to yourself, the needs are around me and the opportunities are before me, but the influencers, they're behind me. In other words, I've got the influencers going with me. Young people set their watches for the right time or wrong by the watches of their elders. Again, Lee Iacocca said one time, "Sometimes even the best manager is like a little boy with a big dog, waiting to see where the big dog wants to go so that he can take him there." We've all been there, haven't we? Which way does the big dog want to go?

Influence, what you think you have until you try to use it. Have you done this before? Have to tried to use influence, think you had it, and all of a sudden found out nobody's following? You know what I'm saying? You're talking, but nobody's home, the whole deal. Okay. Harry Overstreet said, "The very essence of all power to influence lies in getting the other person to participate." So you've got these influencers around you, and they say, "Let's go for it. We're behind you. We'll help you with the project." Well, there's the respect test. When I look at the influencers, I have to ask myself, have I earned the influencers' respect? Because everyone has a right to speak, but you have to earn the right to be heard. So do I have the influencers' respect?

Then there's the commitment test, are the influencers around me, are they affirming or are they committing? Now, there's a difference. Are they affirming or are they committing? Are they affirming where I am, or are they committing to help me get there? In other words, are they just saying, "I'm behind you," which means I'm way behind you, see you later, good luck? Or are they saying, "I'm right behind you. I'm right behind you, and I'm staying with you through that whole process"? Are they affirming me, or are they committing? So I've got to do the commitment test.

Then I have to do the resource test, will the influencers provide the resources that are needed? Now, I've always understood this, and I want to take out just a moment to make sure that we all understand this, leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. And the influencers, whether they have leadership positions or not, are truly the people that are going to determine the agenda of that organization. And so I've always got to be aware of who those influencers are, who those influencers influence, what my relationship is with those influencers, and could it be said that I influence the influencers? Because let me tell you something, if you or I do not influence the influencers, no matter what the opportunity is before us and no matter what the needs are around us, I can promise you we're not going to be successful in leading.

But John, if the influencers aren't with me, what should I do? Well, do nothing. Resign? I'll give you a list. But I'll tell you what you don't want to do, try to move forward without them being with you, have the meeting before the meeting. And if you had the meeting before the meeting, and the meeting before the meeting doesn't turn out well, don't have the meeting. Postpone the meeting. Somebody says, "Well, when do you have the meeting?" You have the meeting after you've had the meeting of which the meeting that you had before the meeting was a very good meeting. If you had a very good meeting, then you can have the meeting. But if you didn't have a very good meeting, don't have another meeting, because it'll be a very bad meeting. Okay?

It's all about influence. I love it when people say, "Well, what structure should I have in my organization?" It doesn't matter. Absolutely, it doesn't matter at all. Could care less. You don't lead an organization by structure anyway, you lead an organization by influencers. And when the influencers like it, you do it, and when they don't like it, you don't do it. I used to think that leaders liked change and followers didn't like change. I mean, I've been teaching leadership for 30 years, and in the process of teaching leadership, I look at some of my older lessons and I say, why did I teach that? Because I was a good person; I didn't have a clue. I used to think leaders were out front kind of paving the way, and followers were in the back with their arms crossed, saying, "I shall not be moved."

And then I discovered after a few years that leaders don't like change any more than followers, unless it's their idea. And when it's their idea, they like the change. If it's not their idea, they don't like the change. Now, you got to ask yourself, are the influencers, are they behind me? If they're behind you, the timing is right. I'm just giving you environments to understand so that you know when to make your timing decisions.

Mark Cole:       Hey, welcome back, everyone. Jason, it is always an incredible privilege to be with you. We are social distancing. I'm looking at you through a computer screen, but you look good, bud, and it's good to be learning from John and now applying as co-leaders. For those of you that do not know, Jason Brooks is our Executive Vice President of Content. He helps us in all things content on the John Maxwell team. But today, put content aside. Well, you can't put content aside. Let's share content through the podcast. Bud, welcome to the podcast.

Jason Brooks:   Well, thank you for having me on. As always, it's a privilege to be with you. I want to jump in right off the top. John talked about the law of timing being one of the more difficult 21 Laws of Leadership to really teach and apply, but we are in the middle of a season where timing really is both crucial but also sort of up in the air for a lot of folks. We're really in a time of uncertainty, which has got a lot of people hesitant about pulling the trigger on certain things. And so I feel like this lesson is really important for right now. But I'd love to ask you, why do you think the law of timing is so important during a season like the one we're currently in with COVID?

Mark Cole:       Yeah. Boy, I love this. You know, we just did a whole series on halftime adjustments, which is kind of a timing-type concept as well. So I love what Jake has done, and of course you, Jason, to pull this lesson out for us to take, because I do believe timing is incredible. I believe leadership is as much about timing as it is knowing the decision to make. You know the decision to make, and so many people wrestle with what is the right decision? When should I make this? Not when, what is the right decision? Should I go this way? Should I go that way? They spend so much time on the decision and spend no time on the timing of rolling out the decision.

I think there have been more great decisions that have been torpedoed or have been ineffective because of the law of timing, missing the law of timing. I think in times of crisis, to your question, where we're living right now, I think timing has become even harder to ascertain, even from those of us, perhaps, that are natural at knowing intuition or knowing timing. COVID has really challenged us to not only know a leader's timing, but what's the right timing for the people in all the uncertainty that they're bringing to the table?

During this COVID, we have opened the offices. We've closed the offices. We've opened the offices. We've closed the offices. We've told some people that are in high risk not to come back to the office. We've told some people that their work is necessary and they should come back. The law of timing has never been more critical. So I'm super excited about these six tests that John's going to share over the next two episodes.

Jason Brooks:   Yeah, and I think he starts us off in a really great spot, but it's also a spot that, if we're not careful, could leave us confused, because he says the first thing that we need to do to build the right environment is to assess the needs around us. But when you're in the middle of a pandemic like this and there's so many things up in the air, where things seem to be changing as quickly as they get settled, how are you learning to assess genuine needs during a time like this, when there are so many needs that could cry out for you to address?

Mark Cole:       You know, for me, I've gone back to John's book, Developing the Leader Within You. In that book, the second chapter of Developing the Leader Within You 2.0, pick up the book if you haven't, John talks about how to prioritize. I think right now I'm prioritizing needs just like I used to prioritize to-do lists, activity. In that, Jason, you know this, but he talks about reward required and... oh my.

Jason Brooks:   Return.

Mark Cole:       Return. Thank you, Jason. Reward required and return. There's this section that John talks about, to where you've got to be able to know, what are the needs that you absolutely need to be addressing? Jason, we're providing for our family during this time. I've got to make sure that we're providing for our family. There's a required reward, and even in things like traveling, I'm having to prioritize travel around needs. Do I really need to go? Jason, we were in a session not too long ago, and you really wanted to be here, but it just wasn't the right thing for you to do. But you were working through that with your inner circle, to say, "Do I need to be in that room?" I think more than ever, we need to do what is required. The reward, the responsibilities that we have needs to be baked into our priorities around needs.

Jason Brooks:   I didn't write this question down, but I want to ask it, because I feel like there are some folks, whether it's me or other leaders, can benefit from this. How do you resist urgency and capitalize on priority? Because I think priority and urgency are two different things, so how do you resist urgency to focus on priority?

Mark Cole:       Well, if I have done a great job at prioritizing my life, prioritizing needs in the setting of this conversation, if I've done a good job with that, I will very quickly know when an urgent thing comes in if it should replace the priority or if the urgency will become a distraction. It starts with a healthy discipline of prioritizing needs and the things that you do know, the things that you can quantify, the things that you do anticipate with intentionality, and then I become a lot better at triaging urgency when I have done a good job prioritizing needs. So go through these tests that John shares in this lesson. Be really diligent with that, and then very quickly, you'll be able to insert and know whether an urgent thing should replace and scratch everything you've done.

Jason Brooks:   And leaders, if you need just a quick reminder, the priority test is just asking yourself, should I do this? And then I love the reality test that comes after that, can I do this? Those are two things that John gave us in the lesson that can help us really live out what Mark was just teaching. John moved on then to talking about opportunities and really assessing the opportunities that are before you. And he gave us five of them. The Murphy's Law test, what could possibly go wrong? Common sense test, does this make sense? Preparation test, am I prepared to take advantage of this opportunity? The option test, do I increase or decrease my options here if I wait? And the deadline test, when is the best time to make the right decision? Of these five tests, which one or ones are you finding you're leaning into more during this season to help you really effectively assess opportunities in front of you?

Mark Cole:       You know, the one that I am using a lot, it's not the one that I'm leaning into the most, I'll come to that answer in just a moment, but the one I am leaning into a lot is Murphy's Law. What could go wrong? "What could possibly go wrong?" is what John said. I'm reminded, Jason, you and I, we serve on our leadership team for our enterprise, and last leadership meeting, I had everyone listen to a Craig Groeschel podcast that was just powerful on the leader's responsibility around innovation, around trying to stay ahead of things like crisis that we're in right now. He tells a story of asking 21 questions of what potentially might be going wrong. He used the story of his shoulder, which was just hysterical. The doctor figured out in 30 seconds, but he still asked 21 questions.

Craig, finally discovering that the doctor knew way before he even made the doctor's visit, said, "Why did you ask 21 questions?" And the doctor said, "Because it's one more than 20." And I thought, wow. I mean, just that moment, Jason, it killed me, because in Murphy's Law, especially in times of crisis, are you doing a good job of forecasting what could potentially go wrong? And there's so much uncertainty now that we've almost given ourself a hall pass to just try anything. Throw it up on the wall. If it sticks, that's great. And I'm really trying to ascertain what could potentially go wrong.

But the one that I'm probably the greatest leaning in during this time, the greatest is the preparation test. Am I prepared to do this? Now, here's why I'm asking that, because the answer is no. Nobody has led during this time. But I am using it as a separator to not be paralyzed from acting. Am I prepared to do this? No, but what can I do to get prepared, because I can't go and read a history book. I can't go ask another leader, how did you lead in a similar situation? We're in unprecedented territory. So the preparation test can quickly be answered, no, I'm not, but I use that as a challenge to go get as prepared as possible, so that I can create the right environment for our team.

Jason Brooks:   And I love what John said about preparation. He said, "Preparation doesn't mean that you know all the answers. It just means that you're ready to move forward with what you know, and will adjust once you've made that decision." Okay, one more question for you. John talked about the influencers behind you, the people of influence who are working with you or are coming alongside of you. In theory, we would all have a personal relationship with certain influencers that can speak into our lives, whether it's part of our inner circle, outer circle, whatever. But there are some leaders that don't have that benefit or haven't cultivated that network, and they're looking to sources like the news, or they're looking to certain personalities to sort of give them the kind of perspective that John's talking about here. What influencers are you listening to these days? And then how are you translating their advice or their perspective into practical decisions or practical actions for your leadership?

Mark Cole:       You know, a great opportunity for me happened just a week ago from this recording. We had our first equipped John Maxwell Leadership Foundation board meeting of the year. It's been some time. It was virtual. This particular meeting was critical, in that we're going to start putting some governance and some compliance issues into our board disciplines that we haven't had before. And we're doing that for sustainability for the legacy that we're building. It's the beginning. The next couple of board meetings will be very heavily oriented on compliance, not on vision. Most of the time, when we bring a board together, if you know John Maxwell, he is the same in a board meeting as he is sitting on a stool in front of a room. He's just very gregarious, very excitable, and very passionate about the vision. Let everything else follow that. Don't encumber vision conversation with governance conversation.

And so this particular board meeting, and the next one, is going to be very different, very intentional for us. In that board meeting, there are significant players. I won't give you names and that kind of thing, but they lead and have led Fortune 50. I'm talking about the 50 top businesses in the world. And then there's some of the most influential faith leaders in the world in that environment, and people that are very involved in media. I was tasked with beginning to morph us toward a different type of board meeting, at least, again, for the next couple of board meetings.

And I'll tell you, the support, both during the board meeting, but most importantly after the board meeting, really models what John is talking about here, the influencers behind you. It's the respect test. And I've been with John 20 years. I should be able to run a few meetings. I mean, I've been around leaders of that caliber for 20 years. I should be able to do that. At the same time, when you get the people in the room's respect and they show you, there is a big push toward accomplishing the difficult. Here's the point, and perhaps the action opportunity for everyone listening to the podcast. Who do you have the respect of, and are you leaning into them during this crisis? There's your question. Who do you have the respect of? Who at certain periods of your leadership has said, "Mark, Jason, podcast listener, I respect you and I love how you did that"? And when is the last time you've leaned into them during this crisis?

Because for me, when they would call me and congratulate me on the board meeting, I said, "Hey, let me ask you a question about leading during this time." I'm not going to miss the opportunity to get an accolade, a word of affirmation, and not turn it into a mentoring session for me to get better. Every one of them said, "Mark, I'm going to tell you. The fact that I called you or texted you and told you that, and you replied back with how can I get better, that's all the difference in the world." So the first challenge to our podcast listeners is, who do you have the respect of, and when is the last time you've leaned into them? Go talk to them. Secondly, who do you want to respect you more, and how intentional are you in growing that respect so they can become a resource for you during times like this crisis?

Jason Brooks:   Both of those are such great action items for anybody to walk away with, because respect helps you build influence and helps you leverage that influence to be able to do good things. I don't really have any other questions for you. I guess my last question that I would ask, because there are a lot of us that maybe don't lead at the same level that you do, but we still find ourselves facing big decisions or facing opportunities that we want to capitalize on, how do you develop the courage to just do, instead of ready, aim, aim, aim, aim? How do you develop the courage to pull the trigger and finally fire?

Mark Cole:       You know, one is by allowing myself to fail, by allowing myself the privilege of trying something that was too big for me the first time. Now, I get to work beside one of the most brilliant, affirming leaders in the world, John Maxwell. He makes this easy. And for those of you that don't have that privilege, I really am sorry, but John makes it very easy to fail. But this idea of I give myself permission, because I could just say, "Well, John lets me fail because of X, Y, Z that I do for him," or, "John lets me fail because he's big enough that he can handle my failures." No, John lets me fail because it builds credibility within me when I fail the first time, when I try something so big that I can't succeed. So that's number one, you build your courage by failing. So try something so big that you're not going to make it. That's the first thing.

The second thing is, bring inner circle people around you that hold you accountable to stretching beyond yourself. I have the same tendency, Jason, as most leaders, and that is, I want to try things that I know I will succeed at. I want the surefire. There's just something about my ego, there's something about accolades, words of affirmation. I want to try something that will be sure to a win, to a victory. I have inner circle people around me that says, "No, no, no, no. You need to push beyond yourself."

I think the third thing that I would say after inner circle and after a perspective of failing forward, the third thing would be, put objectives out there that is going to require you to have teammates around you that are better than you. See, again, I know too many people that are insecure about people around them that are better than them. And Jason, I don't just say this because you're co-hosting this and we're going live to 100,000+ people today, I say this because it's true. You are infinitely better at content and articulating ideas and thoughts and creating concepts that will stick in people's minds than I am. I have to surround myself, whether I'm writing, whether I'm speaking.

I'm not gifted that way like John is, so when I began building my team, I had to put dominant people in areas that I am not dominant in around me, and let them win when it comes to content. Very rarely do I editorially correct a content structure of yours, because you're infinitely better than I am. So I put people around me that are better so that together we can accomplish what we're supposed to accomplish.

Jason Brooks:   Man, listeners, if you've heard nothing else, the last four minutes from Mark is absolute gold for helping you with this idea of testing and learning how to take advantage of timing and opportunities. If you haven't already, guys, let me encourage you to go to maxwellpodcast.com/timing. Click on the Bonus Resource button and download the fill-in-the-blank notes. You're going to want this worksheet to help you work through John's six points about building the right environment, because under each point you're going to get the test questions that will help you be successful in that regard. If you haven't subscribed, we would love for you to go ahead and subscribe. You can subscribe either on the website or iTunes, Stitcher, wherever you get your podcasts.

If you're going to maxwellpodcast.com, we would love to hear from you. We are always looking for questions or suggestions for how to get better, but we love hearing your voice, because your voice makes us better. That's all the housekeeping notes that I have. Mark, I'm going to turn it back over to you for a final word and closing this out.

Mark Cole:       Hey, let's lead. Let's lead. I say that often, but what I would tell you is, it's time. It's time for us to lead. We've got three more environment tests that we're going to share with you next week in the next episode, but let's not even wait til next week. It is time for people of value to lead by valuing people. Thank you for listening. We will be with you next week.

3 thoughts on “Tests of Timing (Part 1)”

  1. I am having trouble getting the bonus resource. When I click the button the last few weeks, I am being directed back to the episode. I am sure it is on my end, but do you have any suggestions.

    1. Hi Mike,

      Sorry you’re having trouble with the Bonus Resource. Everything seems to be working on this end. I would recommend refreshing your browser’s cache. That may do the trick. Please reach out if you continue to have issues.

  2. Amazin advices Mark/Jason!! this series has helped me to bring my options together and encouraged me to act!

    Loved the part of better teammates!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.