The Law of Timing

If we only lead when it is convenient, then we violate the law of timing.
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Reflections on John C. Maxwell’s “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”

If we only lead when it is convenient, then we violate the law of timing. Crisis does not respect a leader’s priority list.

Knowing when to step in and lead at the right time is an important feature a leader displays.

Where have we seen the Law of Timing recently?

#MeToo Movement

Once the #MeToo movement picked up steam after Harvey Weinstein’s accusation of sexual assault, leaders started revisiting their corporate policies on harassment. More women found leadership roles within the government. Times Magazine named the People of Year for 2017 as “The Silence Breakers,” those individuals who spoke out against abuse.

The timing to break the silence was perfectly attuned to what was being uncovered in the culture. These leaders made a difference by reading the signs and coming forward.

Black Lives Matter

The protests against the violence and unfair treatment of Black Americans spawned a web of corporate advocates for the movement. While civil rights is certainly not a new issue, the leadership from the Black Lives Matter movement came at a time when racial injustice finally became public knowledge, at least for “white” Americans. Using social media to spread videos of unarmed black men being beaten and killed spoke to the Law of Timing. The Civil Rights movement did not have Twitter, but the power of one picture spoke volumes. Using new communication tools, the Black Lives Matter movement gained massive support, especially seen recently in the deaths of George Floyd and Breona Taylor.


The delayed response to the coronavirus pandemic in the United States has left hundreds of thousands dead, millions without jobs, and billions of dollars in revenue. A poorly timed response has led to the spread of misinformation and “extreme contagion” in the United States. The downplaying of the seriousness of the virus, the ignorance of mask usage, and a misunderstanding of the working class, all clash against the Law of Timing.

When to lead is as important as what to do and where to go. — John C. Maxwell

Social media has played a significant role in increasing the responses to the Law of Timing. If you don’t act timely, it could cost your company a fortune. That is why so many corporations have taken the lead in publicizing these issues. In the wave of a “cancel culture,” not speaking up at the right time, will harm you.

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