The first law in John C. Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, is The Law of the Lid. Essentially, Maxwell opines that a person’s level of effectiveness is a function of their leadership ability. In his example he plots dedication against leadership ability on a scale of 1 to 10. A person with a dedication rating of 8 and a leadership ability of 7 is, according to Maxwell’s Law of the Lid, 600% more effective that a person with a dedication rating of 8 and a leadership ability of 1.
Now, while I agree that smart, talented and dedicated leaders are demonstrably more effective than smart, talented and dedicated people with little or no leadership ability, I am struggling to understand the science behind the measurement scale.
How do you rate a leader’s ability on a scale of 1 to 10? Is it merely a subjective measure or is there a set of scientifically derived criteria used to assess a person’s position on the scale? Similarly, we all know that smart, talented, dedicated people are more effective than people that are either lazy or intellectually challenged (or both). But is it actually possible to define measurement criteria that allow us to make quantitative and qualitative comparisons?
In summary, The Law of the Lid, feels like it should hold true but I can’t see any experimental data to uphold the hypothesis.
As Manfred Eigen once said:
“A theory can be proved by experiment; but no path leads from experiment to the birth of a theory.”