Leadership Wired Blog

5 Things We Do Each Day: The John Maxwell Co. Rule of 5


One of our main areas of focus at The John Maxwell Company is that we want to “live out” the principles John teaches.  One that has been paramount to John’s success is his consistent practice of the “Rule of 5”.

The Rule of 5 is simply a series of activities that you do EVERY DAY that are fundamental to your success. For John, his Rule of 5 are as follows: every day he reads, every day he files, every day he thinks, every day he asks questions and every day he writes.

As an executive team, we set out to determine our Rule of 5 for The John Maxwell Company.  We had in-depth conversations about the daily disciplines that everyone in our organization could contribute to, and when done consistently over time, would allow us to accomplish our organization’s vision of inspiring, challenging and equipping leaders to live out leadership.

So, here is our Rule of 5 that we seek to practice EVERY DAY at The John Maxwell Company:

  • Lead – We lead ourselves and our business to fulfill our purpose.
  • Grow – We grow ourselves and our business to achieve our potential.
  • Create – We create world-class leadership resources and experiences.
  • Excel – We chase excellence in all we do.
  • Serve – We serve our clients, colleagues and community.

After we defined our Rule of 5, the next step was to ingrain it in the hearts and minds of our team.  We did this a couple of different ways:

  • What we look at consistently gets embedded in our minds over time. So, we created a branded mini-poster, framed it for team members and asked them to keep it on their desks.  Each team member can easily access our Rule of 5 every day at their desks. 
  • We created a recognition game for two weeks that whenever a teammate saw another teammate exemplifying one of our Rule of 5 characteristics, they sent a short, company-wide email recognizing the person and how they lived out the Rule of 5.  The good news was that this exercise quickly helped our team remember our Rule of 5. As a bonus, it was a morale booster as teammates continually praised each other.  Overall, it was an incredible exercise that I’d recommend every company do.

Following are a few suggestions on how you can use a Rule of 5 within your organization:

  • Ask yourself daily if you’ve lived out the Rule of 5.  At the end of each workday, I look at our Rule of 5 and ask myself “How well have I lead today? How have I grown myself and our business today? What have we created today? Have I executed with excellence today? And finally, who have I served today?"
  • As you make strategic organizational decisions, make sure that they align with your Rule of 5.  If they don’t, why not? Could it be that you have the wrong Rule of 5? Or, is the decision that you’re looking to make moving you away from the daily disciplines and practices that make your organization successful?
  • Measure your team’s performance by how well they practice the Rule of 5.  Make it a part of the conversation during your employee reviews and reward employees who consistently practice the Rule of 5 with excellence.

So, do you have a Rule of 5 for your organization, team or department?  If not, I challenge you to develop a Rule of 5 and then practice it daily.

Throughout the month of May, we’ll be highlighting the Rule of 5 and steps to create your own Rule of 5. Share with us your Rule of 5 and any best practices that would be helpful to others as they develop their own by posting a comment below, on our Facebook, or Twitter using the hashtag: #Ruleof5


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