Momentum: What it is and 5 Ways to Get It


Negative momentum punches you in the gut every step of the way. But, positive momentum makes everything easier.

It is never the size of your problem that is the problem.
It’s a lack of momentum.

John Maxwell

5 truths about the momentum:

  1. Momentum magnifies success.
  2. Momentum shrinks problems and obstacles.
  3. Momentum energizes.
  4. Momentum enhances performance.
  5. Momentum makes change easier.

(Adapted from: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, by John Maxwell. — Must reading for all leaders.)

Momentum isn’t:

  1. Cheering people on.
  2. Giving compliments and affirmations.
  3. Positive feedback.
  4. Pumping people up.

These four things may fuel momentum, but they aren’t the Big Mo.

Momentum can’t be faked.


  1. Momentum whispers, “You matter.”
  2. Momentum feels things are getting better.
  3. Momentum believes wins are probable.
  4. Momentum is hope, courage, energy, and focus combined.

The difference between excitement and momentum is depth.

Building momentum:

  1. Momentum is a series of successful endings not beginnings. Excitement happens at the beginning. Momentum builds at the end.
  2. Momentum sneaks up on you. One day you look around and say, Wow! we’re going places. Excitement flares up; momentum builds up.
  3. Every win is one step toward momentum. If you can’t define the win, you can’t achieve momentum.
  4. Reach big wins through a series of small wins. Successful leaders build small wins into big initiatives.
  5. Momentum begins with successful endings, but requires next steps. Momentum cools when you stop moving forward.

Successful leaders build momentum. Lousy leaders destroy it.

Momentum busters:

  1. Devaluing small contributions.
  2. Talking problems more than progress.
  3. Separating deliverables from people. People, not processes, get things done.
  4. Focusing on weakness rather than strength.
  5. Controlling rather than releasing. When people ask permission they lose momentum.

Momentum builds slow with hard work. But, lousy leaders let the steam out quickly. Of all the things you do, make building momentum a priority.

What is momentum?

How can leaders build momentum on teams and in organizations?