My first nugget of wisdom that I took away from John C. Maxwell is how “every organization has four types of people who affect momentum. Momentum breakers, who say and do things that stop momentum, momentum takers, who say and do things that sap momentum, momentum fakers, who say and do things that stage momentum, and momentum makers, who say and do things that start momentum” (Maxwell, 2014, pg. 8). This concept refers to the dynamics in an organization and how each person’s contributions to situations may affect the moral, or momentum. The statement shows the four different mindsets someone may take when inserting themselves into new scenarios. It is far more common to come across a momentum breaker or taker because that lifestyle is far easier, resulting in a lack of forward thinking. This follows suit with a failure in their own personal life. Because of this, I believe it is a leader’s responsibility to contribute starting momentum so that a group may be pushed into progression and not fall short due to someone taking or faking momentum. When planning TALONS trips, it is essential for all those involved to be putting as much genuine effort in as possible. To increase the levels of starting momentum, a small warmup activity to get everyone in the mood or a remind as to what we are working towards can allow for at least a positive momentum to form. To be as efficient as possible, the grade 10s carry the responsibility of introducing these topics to the grade 9s and allow them to grow into positions where it is second nature to lead with their own starting momentum.
My second nugget of wisdom is how “leaders are big picture thinkers. Leaders see before others see. Leaders see more than others see” (Maxwell, 2014, pg. 10). This quotation from John C. Maxwell describes how it is a leader’s responsibility to see the bigger picture when carrying out or even organizing specific events. Having the future in mind, leaders can plan ahead and possibly prevent tragic disasters from occurring while in the field. The gift of seeing into, and more importantly preparing for, the future can be crucial for their preparedness when entering land that they may not have any experience with. Seeing the big picture is important to me because it can really improve someone’s ability to prevent tragedy. Furthermore, it can be used in even more non-life-threatening situations where we may need to prepare additional supplies. It is essential for as many leaders as possible within our upcoming trip planning groups to be able to see ahead and plan for any avoidable mistakes that could lead to any form of disaster. Preparing enough food, for example, is an absolute necessity, and without planning for a few errors in calculations or appetite, we could end up with too little food resulting in twenty-seven hungry students. Without seeing what others may not see, there could be specific supplies, even the most obvious supplies, missed such as a first aid kit or some spare batteries. Anything that is left behind may hinder our trips in major ways, and if they are not seen prior to our excursion, we may have to turn around and change the itinerary.
My third, and final, nugget of wisdom I took away is how “[there are] two types of leaders. The travel agent sends people to their destination. The tour guide takes people to their destination” (Maxwell, 2014, pg. 15). These two separate leadership styles determine the leader’s dedication and passion to their craft. Leaders who tell someone about a destination, encouraging and inspiring them to go there having never been there themselves, creates a disconnect between the mentors and mentees. However, a leader who encourages and inspires others to travel to a destination and follows through by going on that expedition with them, removes that disconnect and allows for the mentors and mentees to build relationships that will hopefully last a lifetime. This is immensely important to me because of how crucial relationships are to me. The connections that I am currently making and have made in the past brought me to the place where I am today. Furthermore, having a leader demonstrate their knowledge hands on in the field, aids those who are learning to get a better understanding of what is being taught. During this upcoming year of planning trip groups, us grade 10s will have the responsibility of leading the grade 9s through their planning. Although it is mandatory to participate, we will need to demonstrate a genuine interest in the activities they will be planning to encourage the grade 9s to be just as passionate. Because we have done most of these trips in the past, we will be tasked with guiding the new TALONS learners to our destination.
To conclude, I took a lot of wisdom away from John C. Maxwell’s teachings that will likely stick with me for a while. His lessons are surprisingly memorable. However, for those reading, I do have a question for you: is the strength of a leader determined by their ability or the willingness of the followers to be lead? That question is one that I pondered while completing my workbook. In addition, I have linked John C. Maxwell’s “About” page if you would like to learn more about him, and his journey to influencing the next generation of leaders.
Maxwell, J. C. (2014). Developing Leaders Around You. The John Maxwell Company.