Most of the laws are obvious, for example number 14, The Law of Buy In, states that people buy into the leader and only then do they buy into the vision. That makes intuitive sense and has a practical application in the real world. Early stage technology investors often bet on the jockey, not the horse.
Some readers have dismissed the book because the laws are easy to understand. These critics miss two significant points about the power of the book: 1. "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" codifies and reinforces our thinking. For example, Law Number 17, The Law of Priorities, cautions against equating activity with achievement. Maxwell points out that we must constantly review our priorities to make sure that we are steering the ship in the right direction ( Law 4, The Law of Navigation). Far beyond leaving it there and stating only the obvious, Maxwell adds that we must always evaluate our priorities with the 80/20 rule in mind. Focus 80 percent of your time on the 20 percent of your priorities that will provide the largest return. He notes that the rule is applies equally to developing strategic sales accounts as does it in developing people. 2. "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" is a reminder that leadership is a daily commitment. As Maxwell notes in Law Number 3, leadership is a process that "develops daily, not in a day." Reading Maxwell's book reinforces what many of us already know about leadership and reminds us to put those theories into practice every day.
Many books on leadership are long on theory but don't help the reader understand how to put the theory into practice. Maxwell does not fall into that trap. At the end of every chapter, he lists three activities you can do to apply the law to your life. For example, after Law 13, The Law of the Picture (people do what people see), Maxwell asks his readers to: 1. Make a list of their own core values and compare them to their actions over that past month, noting which activities clash with their core values. 2. Ask a colleague to watch you over a period of time and evaluate where your actions have clashed with your words. 3. Make a list of what you wish you people did better and grade yourself on those skills. With that self evaluation in hand, commit to improving your skills where your people are weakest and be a more visible role model in the areas where you are strongest.