The Big Mo

If you placed a small block of wood under the front wheel of a stationary train, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for that train to move forward. But let that train get up to speed and it could crash through an entire building. The difference is momentum.

One of the most interesting things about watching team sports is seeing how momentum can switch throughout a game. A few big plays from one team can amp the excitement level of all that team’s players and fans. Everything seems to get easier for that team and harder for the other team. It is fascinating to watch a match where one team dominates the first half of play and another team comes out in the second half to steal the momentum back and win the game. Our latest Super Bowl was a perfect example of this.
Work weeks have momentum. The Business News Daily (and several other sources) cite a study from staffing firm Accountemps which discovered that Monday and Tuesday are the two most productive days of the week for employees. Specifically, 39 percent of human resources managers think employees get the most done on Tuesdays, while 24 percent believe productivity peaks on Mondays.
After the start of the week, the amount of work getting done seems to drop. Only 14 percent of those surveyed feel the most work gets accomplished on Wednesday, with Thursday and Friday tied for the least productive days.
Brings to mind the Loverboy song, “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend”.Personally, I like Wednesdays for getting more work done. That is when I feel more like the train in motion. What about you?
In John Maxwell’s most famous book, the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Law #16 is the Big Mo. Here are a few principles on momentum from Law #16.
“When you have no momentum, even the simplest tasks seem impossible… On the other hand, when you have momentum on your side, the future looks bright, and obstacles appear small. ”
Truths About Momentum 
1) Momentum is the Great Exaggerator – momentum is like a magnifying glass; it makes things look bigger than they really are. Because momentum has such a great impact, leaders try to control it. When you have momentum, you don’t worry about small problems and many larger ones seem to work themselves out.
2) Momentum Makes Leaders Look Better Than They Are – When leaders have momentum on their side, people forget about their past mistakes. Once a leader creates some success for his organization, people give him more credit than he deserves. Momentum exaggerates a leader’s success and makes him look better than he really is.
3) Momentum Helps Followers Perform Better Than They Are – When momentum is strong, people are motivated to perform at higher levels, making all participants more successful than they would be otherwise.
4) Momentum Is Easier to Steer Than to Start – Getting started is a struggle, but once you’re moving forward, you can really start to do some amazing things.
5) Momentum Is the Most Powerful Change Agent – Given enough momentum, nearly any kind of change is possible in an organization. Followers trust leaders with a proven track record. They accept changes from people when they have led them to victory before. Momentum puts victory within reach.
6) Momentum is the Leader’s Responsibility – It takes a leader to create momentum. Followers can catch it. But creating momentum requires someone who has vision, can assemble a good team, and motivates others. If the leader is waiting for the organization to develop momentum on its own, then the organization is in trouble.
7) Momentum Begins Inside the Leader – It starts with vision, passion, and enthusiasm. The leader most model those qualities to his people day in and day out, which will attract like-minded people to his team. Once you see forward progress, you will begin to generate momentum. Once you have it, you can do almost anything. That’s the power of the Big Mo.
Here’s to making today your most productive this week.
Warmly,

Rick Burris

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