The Law of Addition

Currently, I (Erick) am reading a book by John C. Maxwell entitled, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.” The law I just finished reading about is the law of addition. Basically this law is all about serving others. It’s about adding value to the relationships you have with those around you, and with those you lead.

The basic concept I gleaned from this is that it takes a servant-heart to truly produce good leadership.

One story Maxwell tells to help illustrate the law of addition is the story of Jim Sinegal, the CEO of Costco. Early in his career Senegal worked as an employee of a small company called Fed-Mart. The CEO of Fed-Mart, Sol Price, soon recognized Sinegal’s ability to lead well, began mentoring him, and soon promoted him to vice president of merchandising.

Through their partnership, Sinegal helped Price found “Price Club”, which was later bought by Costco. The rest is history.

Maxwell uses Sinegal as his example not because he rose from nothing into something, but because of his great example as a leader. As the CEO of Costco, Sinegal’s salary is in the bottom 10% of his CEO peers. And yet Costco is the 9th largest retailer in the world. Sinegal even wears a Costco employee name badge and is on a first-name basis with everyone. Sinegal is all about treating his employees with respect and is more focused on adding value to people by serving them than on serving himself.

“The bottom line in leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others.” – John C. Maxwell


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