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5 Things We Do Each Day: The John Maxwell Co. Rule of 5

By David Hoyt | May 3, 2013
5 Things We Do Each Day: The John Maxwell Co. Rule of 5

One of our main areas of focus at The John Maxwell Company is that we want to “live out” the principles John teaches.  One that has been paramount to John’s success is his consistent practice of the “Rule of 5”.

The Rule of 5 is simply a series of activities that you do EVERY DAY that are fundamental to your success. For John, his Rule of 5 are as follows: every day he reads, every day he files, every day he thinks, every day he asks questions and every day he writes.

As an executive team, we set out to determine our Rule of 5 for The John Maxwell Company.  We had in-depth conversations about the daily disciplines that everyone in our organization could contribute to, and when done consistently over time, would allow us to accomplish our organization’s vision of inspiring, challenging and equipping leaders to live out leadership.

So, here is our Rule of 5 that we seek to practice EVERY DAY at The John Maxwell Company:

  • Lead – We lead ourselves and our business to fulfill our purpose.
  • Grow – We grow ourselves and our business to achieve our potential.
  • Create – We create world-class leadership resources and experiences.
  • Excel – We chase excellence in all we do.
  • Serve – We serve our clients, colleagues and community.

After we defined our Rule of 5, the next step was to ingrain it in the hearts and minds of our team.  We did this a couple of different ways:

  • What we look at consistently gets embedded in our minds over time. So, we created a branded mini-poster, framed it for team members and asked them to keep it on their desks.  Each team member can easily access our Rule of 5 every day at their desks. 
  • We created a recognition game for two weeks that whenever a teammate saw another teammate exemplifying one of our Rule of 5 characteristics, they sent a short, company-wide email recognizing the person and how they lived out the Rule of 5.  The good news was that this exercise quickly helped our team remember our Rule of 5. As a bonus, it was a morale booster as teammates continually praised each other.  Overall, it was an incredible exercise that I’d recommend every company do.

Following are a few suggestions on how you can use a Rule of 5 within your organization:

  • Ask yourself daily if you’ve lived out the Rule of 5.  At the end of each workday, I look at our Rule of 5 and ask myself “How well have I lead today? How have I grown myself and our business today? What have we created today? Have I executed with excellence today? And finally, who have I served today?”
  • As you make strategic organizational decisions, make sure that they align with your Rule of 5.  If they don’t, why not? Could it be that you have the wrong Rule of 5? Or, is the decision that you’re looking to make moving you away from the daily disciplines and practices that make your organization successful?
  • Measure your team’s performance by how well they practice the Rule of 5.  Make it a part of the conversation during your employee reviews and reward employees who consistently practice the Rule of 5 with excellence.

So, do you have a Rule of 5 for your organization, team or department?  If not, I challenge you to develop a Rule of 5 and then practice it daily.

Throughout the month of May, we’ll be highlighting the Rule of 5 and steps to create your own Rule of 5. Share with us your Rule of 5 and any best practices that would be helpful to others as they develop their own by posting a comment below, on our Facebook, or Twitter using the hashtag: #Ruleof5

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Be the first to comment on "5 Things We Do Each Day: The John Maxwell Co. Rule of 5"

  • 7 Lessons From John Maxwell LIVE - Rob Drum says: December 7, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    […] Here’s how Maxwell’s team uses it […]

  • Jeb Bell says: December 26, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    I highly recomend the Maxwell Leadership Bible.

  • Success is Built Day by Day | Chris Lengquist says: March 20, 2019 at 6:39 am

    […] improvement comes over the course of time. John Maxwell, Jack Canfield and others have their Rule of 5. Basically, they teach that you can chop down the biggest oak tree in town with a small hatchet if […]

  • Todd Anderson says: February 16, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    I was looking for more info on the rule of 5 and other items from the transformation planner…Is there anything that walks you through using this planner in more detail ?????

  • Jason Brooks says: February 16, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    Todd–I’m more than happy to answer any questions you have about the planner. What would you like to know?

  • T.anderson says: February 17, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    Jason, thanks for reaching out….
    1. Is there a book or some type of discussion podcast around this planner?
    2. What is the rule of 5? Is this john rule or the Maxwell co rule?
    3. The meaning of the intentional acts category ?

  • Jason Brooks says: February 18, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Todd–there’s no book or podcast discussion, but I designed the product so I can help you with the other two questions. Let me begin by apologizing–I just reviewed the introductory letter in the planner, and realized I didn’t sufficiently explain either of the concepts that you’re asking about. I assumed the reader would be familiar with the insider language, and that is a fail on my part. I am sorry for the frustration that it caused you.

    The Rule of 5 is one of John’s key concepts regarding priorities–pick an area of your life where you want to grow, and identify five things you can do consistently each day to help you make progress in that area. John always shares his Rule of 5 for writing: every day he 1) reads, 2) thinks, 3) files, 4) asks questions, and 5) writes. The practice is easily extendable to other areas of growth, like finances or physical fitness. It’s built on the idea of identifying the main things you need to intentionally do to get better each day in a certain area. I’m more than happy to help you work through a potential Rule of 5 in a key growth area if you’d like.

    As for the intentional acts, those are deliberate actions you’ll take each day to add value to another person. John believes that they key to adding value to others is being intentional, so we wanted to encourage people to think of ways they could do just that. You could write down, “Bring my wife flowers” or “Text my kids to say, ‘I love you!'” or really anything that would add value to someone else. The point is to get you thinking of WHO you want to add value to, HOW you can do that, and then INTENTIONALLY perform that act of value.

    If you’re okay with it, I would like to reach out to you via the email address you used to submit your comment and touch base to see if this explanation helped in any way, and also offer further communication should you wish. If not, I hope this reply is helpful to you.



  • Todd says: February 19, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    Jason, again thank you very much for your responses…I have followed John over the years but must have missed some of these items/topics here lately…
    This sounds like a great product to use…
    YES please feel free to reach back out via email….thanks again…

  • 20 Tips to Be the Best Content Write in Your Industry | says: February 26, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    […] content is one of the things in leadership mentor and New York bestselling author John Maxwell’s Rule of 5 that he practices every […]

  • Dusabe says: April 14, 2020 at 3:42 am

    Hello Janson. Could you provide me a book or an article how to learn growth or how to choose areas of growth. Thank you very much.

  • Chinedu Divine says: July 12, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Pls how can I create a rule of five to live out my day

  • What is Your Rule of 5? says: February 3, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    […] No one exemplifies this principle more than John Maxwell. In fact, he has what he calls a “Rule of 5.” […]

  • Benjamin Plache says: June 27, 2021 at 7:31 pm

    Hi Jason,
    This feed looks like it was active about a year ago. I found it looking though this article about what John Maxwell does for his Rule of 5. Can you explain what John’s means when he says, “He files every day?”
    Thank you for your help.
    I was so blessed to hear John speak this past week at our company convention in Arizona. It was my first time to see and hear him. He loves so far beyond himself.
    Thanks for your help

  • Jason Brooks says: July 7, 2021 at 10:43 am


    When John says he files, he keeps several Notes on his iPhone where he stores links to articles he wants to revisit, quotes from sources that he finds helpful which he stores in themed folders (leadership, growth, positivity, etc.), as well as a Note on anything else that catches his attention as a potential value add topic or idea that would help the aspiring, assured, and/or accomplished leader.

    Once upon a time he did this all on paper with the help of Linda Eggers, but now he can keep his files in one easy to access place that can be readily shared: his iPhone.

    Hope this helps clarify things for you!



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