Level Five – From Success to Significance
By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

Last week we looked into Level 4 of John Maxwell’s Five Levels of Leadership, People Development. I ended last week’s post with these thoughts: People development is extremely rewarding. It builds our organizations, engages employees, and fosters long-term relationships, but as The Count on Sesame Street was prone to say, “But wait, there’s more.”  There certainly is. Level Five, The Pinnacle. According to John Maxwell, only about 1% of leaders ever reach The Pinnacle.

5 – The Pinnacle
4 – People Development
3 – Production
2 – Permission
1 – Position

Pinnacle leaders understand that the highest goal of leadership is to develop leaders, not gain followers. In the final chapters of his book, John Maxwell gives us an amazing example of a level 5 leader, John Wooden. During Coach Wooden’s time as the head basketball coach of the UCLA Bruins, his teams won 620 games in 27 seasons. They won 10 NCAA titles during his last 12 seasons. His accolades are too numerous to list in a short post such as this. Suffice it to say; many recognized his greatness.

One of my favorite stories about Coach Wooden is how he started each new season of practices. His team would meet with him in the locker room, and he would show them how to properly put on their socks. He realized that if they rushed through this fundamental step, they would develop blisters that could keep them off the court. Consistency in the basics on a daily basis was a must. When asked what he missed most about his days at UCLA, his answer was simple, the practices. Not surprising of a Level 5 leader, he missed the daily teaching moments with his team. Coach Wooden lived his life in such a way that he modeled leadership and leadership development daily.

A list of John Wooden’s former players would look like a basketball players hall of fame. Coach, however, was most proud of their accomplishments off the court. His players became leaders in education, government, business, and religion. As a Level 5 leader, his objective was on growing leaders, not gaining followers. He understood that a life worth living is one that is lived for others, a life that moved beyond success, to one of significance. How about you? Are you willing to move from success to significance?

Please join Marisa and me on The Next Page podcast as we dig deeper into Level Five. We will look into ways to grow into this level, stay at this level as we work to develop others.

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