Chapter XIX Solomon (Momentum)
Written by Ray Fairman   
Our lesson this time comes from The Book of I Kings 2:1 where we can learn another lesson about leadership from King Solomon who was a leader who made things happen and kept them happening.

Momentum is critical for successful leaders because it is a dynamic force that has a life of its own, followers are infected with it, managers control it, but it takes sound leaders to create it. There is an old adage that states, "If you can't stand the heat you need to get out of the kitchen." You have more than likely heard that saying before but now you are going to learn that it has a close military relative in the leadership field. That relative goes like this "If you can't make some heat then get out of the kitchen." You see, Solomon, like all good Captains, realized that you can't steer a ship unless it is moving."

Growth and change are inextricably linked and can never be separated; both bring into play the leadership Principle of Momentum, which Solomon utilized so efficiently. Momentum is a key ingredient of a successful leader's make-up. Without momentum even the smallest obstacles or inconveniences will seem insurmountable. However, with enough momentum nearly any complication or barrier can be overcome. So let's take a look at how Solomon took the momentum he received from his father King David and sustained that momentum, using it to accomplish the changes that made him the distinguished leader he became.

Solomon started his reign as a leader solely with what his father David provided. He was left a stable kingdom, plenty of resources, wise counsel and above all a public endorsement of his leadership. Israel knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that they had a leader in Solomon.

When Solomon began his leadership journey as a young man, he humbly asked God for wisdom a trait which he considered above all else a leadership necessity. When he asked God for wisdom, he did so recognizing his position, his responsibilities and the potential difficulties and sacrifices he would face on his quest to become a great leader. Solomon knew he would need wisdom above all other things. So he asked God to provide him with an understanding heart, which would keep his motives pure in judging God's people. Not a bad decision for an 18 year old is it?

During his reign Solomon made many wise decisions that won for him wide spread credibility.  His wise decisions affecting both internal and external matters placed him in high standing among the people. His legendary decision regarding the parentage of a baby won the respect of all who heard and people came from far and near to learn or benefit from his God given talents.

During his reign he maintained peace and harmony throughout the land. He was able to avert a bloody domestic civil war and took wise precautions to avert attack from other nations, thereby maintaining peace on every side. (I Kings 4:24)

He surrounded himself with a wise military and administrative staff. While it is true that he selected only a few of David's wise counselors (that in and of itself may have been the product of wisdom), he added other wise leaders that he had nurtured himself. He thus surrounded himself with both loyalty and competence.

He not only sustained the momentum inherited from David his father and predecessor but also augmented it by exhibiting a willingness to accept an overall responsibility for perpetuating the momentum. It seems that some leaders are only willing to accept that responsibility when the momentum is rolling along producing success after success. A great leader though must accept the responsibility for slow downs much more readily than they will accept the accolades for uninterrupted success. It is regarded as sound management when after three years of leadership in any great organization; every success and every setback experienced by the organization is viewed as if it is the leader's responsibility.

Solomon was also good at directing momentum and not letting it direct him. He received the reins of leadership from his father David, a great warrior king and an outstanding military tactician. Solomon, however, was a king who led Israel with an emphasis not on combat and conflict but on trade and construction. This required a redirection in the momentum that he received from David, a change Solomon was willing and able to foster. A more modern day leader (Thomas Jefferson) once said regarding change, "In matters of fashion, go with the flow, but, in matters of conscience, stand as firm as a rock."

I am sure that Solomon probably had to work, like most leaders do, at maintaining his enthusiasm especially during difficult times. Leaders must always strive to remain positive in the face of disaster and great leaders must show great amounts of enthusiasm. They must believe and make others believe, like Solomon could, that the work they are doing is the most important work they can be doing and that it really matters. You see purpose fuels enthusiasm which produces momentum.

Leaders like Solomon must also be able to convey the idea that the people they are working with are the best and will give their very best every time; therefore I, their leader, must always give my best in support of them.

When you can accomplish these tasks the results will be generally be positive. Good leaders will rarely be surprised; they know they will get the kind of results they expect. Conversely, poor leaders with a defeatist attitude who fail to develop and maintain their unit or organization's momentum will also get what they anticipate and will likely look for someone else to blame.

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