Friday, May 09, 2008

King of the Mountain

Did you every play "king of the mountain" when you were younger? If you have, you know how difficult it is to be "king," to be on top of the mountain while everyone is trying to knock you off.

I have heard it said that the Christian life is much the same way. One of the most difficult challenges a Christ follower can experience is success.

John Maxwell weighs in below with the biggest reasons that most people don't stay on top for very long. In my next post, I will share his suggestions for staying on top.


The biggest detriment to tomorrow's success is today's success. Winning carries with it a slate of temptations dangerous enough to topple the grandest of corporate CEO's. I call these temptations the first place erasers. Falling prey to them is a surefire ticket to the second tier.

The Momentum Myth - Leaders presiding over good times and high profits begins to relax. Comfort sets in, and the leaders lose their edge. Hard work and a sense of urgency are replaced by naive optimism and idleness. Falsely believing they can coast, leaders fall asleep at the wheel. The end of their vigilance coincides with the end of their time at the top.

The Reputation Factor - Leaders begin to place their position above their production. They live off of yesterday and their best moments. Having already notched big victories, they quit fighting to reach their potential. Consequently, they drive the organization downhill toward mediocrity.

The Entitlement Mindset - Leaders believe they have a right to be number one. Oftentimes these leaders have been given their position rather than having earned it. Expecting preferential treatment, they have an underdeveloped work ethic. As a result, they are unable or unwilling to make the sacrifices required to stay in first place.

The Revolving Door
- Leaders quit attributing their success to talented performers at all levels of the organization. People tire of laboring in obscurity, and they move on to new opportunities. Leaders fail to patch the slow leak of talent leaving their teams, and they eventually sink from first place to the middle of the pack.

The Ego Issue - The ego issue trips up leaders who cannot face or admit failure. Since their identity is wrapped in their accomplishments, they do not take ownership of mistakes. To avoid taking responsibility for poor decisions, they may have remarkably high degrees of denial or self-deception. Out of touch, they cannot steer the ship to a first place finish.

Playing Not to Lose - Leaders become cautious and defensive of their perch at the top. They begin to be motivated by fear rather than purpose. Instead of playing to win, they play not to lose. Risk averse and small-minded, they are deficient of the boldness and courage necessary to command a first place team.

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