Momentum is like a booster rocket that when when ignited makes obstacles easier to overcome. When a team has momentum, they are “in the zone”. Things just seem to flow.
Maxwell explains Momentum using an analogy of a train:
A train traveling 55 mph on a railroad track can crash through a 5-foot thick steel-reinforced concrete wall without stopping. That same train, starting from a stationary position, won’t be able to go through an inch-thick block in front of the driving wheel.
It is never the size of your problem that is the problem. It’s a lack of momentum. Without momentum, even a tiny obstacle can prevent you from moving forward. With momentum, you’ll navigate through problems and barely even notice them.
As a leader, your responsibility is to understand momentum, to get it moving for your organization, and to sustain it over time.
John C. Maxwell
When I first learned about Momentum it helped me think about the leadership role in a new way. I realized then that I could come to work every day and focus on problems. On good days I would assist the team to solve those problems. I would feel good because I would see an immediate impact. But ultimately the impact I would have is small, fleeting, and doesn’t scale. Problem solving is important, but the ultimate problem solver is a team with Momentum.
Problem solving only scales if it is the responsibility of the team. A leader’s job is to enable the team by setting the right conditions.
In this article I want to briefly outline the three measures of Momentum; with the proper mixture of capabilities, alignment, and energy you have the conditions for a team to achieve Momentum.