Simon East HN216 Lead a Ministry Team Book Review

Student HBC060094 Word Limit: 500 Actual Words: 505

Maxwell, John. The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork . Nashville, TN: Nelson, 2001.

John C. Maxwell is a prolific author and speaker, one of the western world s most popular teachers of leadership. The book The 17 Irrefutable Laws of Teamwork follows a number of other successes including The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Developing the Leaders Around You, and Developing the Leader Within You. It touches on many common leadership concepts (some are almost common-sense), but was refreshing in its depth, integrity and call to excellence for leaders. I found myself challenged, enlightened and motivated throughout the book.

The book is an easy read, with many great stories and examples spread throughout each chapter. While the title claims its theme of teamwork, it frequently ventures to issues of leadership. Perhaps it s because he desires to see every successful team member becoming a core influential member (if not a key leader). Or probably more because creating team culture is best implemented top-down, from the key leader themselves. Thanks to Maxwell s experience, he has managed to keep it broadly relevant to churches, non-profit organisations, businesses and sporting teams.

Strong arguments
I found most of the laws quite solid and insightful. Every chapter contained nuggets of helpful advice, motivating vision, and practical steps. Each chapter bore a consistent memorable title ( The Law of Big Picture , The Law of the Bad Apple etc.), equipped with a helpful subtitle that explained its point ( Rotten attitudes ruin a team ). The moving inspirational stories were usually about top organisations international companies, and premier sports teams presidents, army commanders,

but most were also balanced with

practical steps to create that specific culture within a team at any level.

Weak arguments
Unfortunately, Maxwell s love of a good story did sometimes seem a little far -stretched from the point he was trying to make. Colin Powell was exemplified as a team member who fitted their niche, when he seemed to actually succeed at almost any job he was given. Also, I found myself somewhat discouraged in sections because of the difficulty of achieving some of the principles. Maxwell rarely seemed to acknowledge the struggles leaders can face, especially within their own inner emotional and psychological w orld, compounded by competing pressures and demands. He simply assumed that once you know the principle, you should be fine to go and implement it. Perhaps he could have spent some more time expanding on the barriers and forces that work against each pri nciple. For example, investing in the team is worth the cost but what about when that cost is to your own

family? It was in these cases I found his principles a little too black and white to reflect the complex nature of real-world relationships.

I can see why his writing sells. It s motivating, inspirational and practical. He doesn t get caught up in the difficult details, but prescribes solid (often biblical) leadership principles that undergird the best teams and organisations around the world. This book will stick on my shelf for years to come. Now, if only the journey to success was as easy as he makes it sound...


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