The Law of Navigation

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership 0 1313
Will you choose to navigate?

Test out where you are at with the Law of Navigation.  This is a test from the back of the 10th Anniversary Edition of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell.  Use this as a tool to help you track against the Law of Navigation.

The Law of Navigation

Anyone Can Steer the Ship, but It Takes a Leader to Chart the Course

1. A) I spot problems obstacles and trends that will impact the outcome of initiatives the organization puts into place.

2. B) I can clearly see a pathway for the implementation of a vision, including but not only the process but also the people and resources needed.

3. C) I am called upon to plan initiatives for the organization.


Chapter 4 – The Law of Navigation – The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell

This is the fourth of a series of posts on each of the chapters of the John Maxwell classic.  The format is starting with thoughts and a summary and ending with some bullet points with key take-aways.  Let me know in the comments what your biggest insight is from the Law of Navigation!  You can see the full series as it grows here

Thoughts and Summary:

The chapter begins with comparing and contrasting two polar expeditions.  One by Roald Amundsen and another by Robert Falcon Scott.  Amundsen paid attention to detail, proper planning.  His pacing was one that gave his team time for rest.  He located and stocked supply depots along the intended trail ahead of time.  He also gave his people the best equipment possible.

Scott instead used ponies and motorized sleds instead of dogs.  The motors quickly failed and soon so did the ponies.  That led to the men hauling the sleds themselves.  It’s almost a worst case scenario kind of story.  Poor clothes gave them frost bite, bad goggles made them snow blind, with poor planning on food and water to boot.  When they hit the north pole, Amundsen’s team already beat them by a month.

The stories of the teams end very differently.  The worst that happened to Amundsen’s team was someone needed to get a bad tooth pulled.  For Scott’s team, everyone ended up snow blind, starving, frostbitten, dehydrated and eventually dying, never making it back to the base camp.  The only reason we know what happened is because they left us with diary entries before they died.

To sum it all up in this chapter, can you chart a good course for your people or not?  Will you choose to think through your journey yourself or at least have someone else help you think through the important parts of your team journeys so you can make sure everyone makes it to the other side?  This is the law of Navigation.

Key concepts:

  • Navigators can see the trip ahead – they can visualize
  • They plan with a few things in mind:
    • They have vision for getting to their destination
    • They Understand what it takes to get there
    • They know who they’ll need on the team to be successful.
  • The larger the organization the further you’ll need to see ahead to make steering changes.
  • Good Leaders as Navigators use:
    • Drawing on past experiences – learn deeply from mistakes as well as successes.  Don’t just brush by them.
    • Examine the conditions before making commitments – They example not only measurable factors like finances, resources and talent but also intangibles like timing, morale, momentum and culture for example.
    • Listen to what others have to say – Leaders get ideas and answer from inside and outside their organizations and not just only from their own heads.
    • Make sure their conclusions represent both faith and fact – Go in with eyes wide open, confronting the brutal facts, then once you’ve made the trip in your mind, inspire faith in yourself and your team to start and make the trip to the end.

Favorite quotes:

  • “A good leader remains focused . . . Controlling your direction is better than being controlled by it.” — Jack Welch
  • “A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others do?” —  Leroy Eims
  • “If you can’t confidently make the trip in your mind, you’re not going to be able to take it in real life.” —  John Maxwell
  • “Realistic leaders are objective enough to minimize illusions.  They understand that self-deception can cost them their vision.” — Bill Easum
  • “You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end and you must also confront the most brutal facts of your current reality.” — Jim Collins on the stockdale paradox
  • “Balancing optimism and realism, intuition and planning, faith and fact can be very difficult.” — John Maxwell

Questions to ask yourself:  How would your team rate your ability to plan ahead?  What ways can you change how you plan to make the journeys you take with your teams to be smoother than they’ve ever been?  In the comments, I’d love to hear about the different ways you go about planning successfully or if you know this is not a strength, how you’ve worked with others to build team strength in this area.

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