David Marquet - Intent Based Leadership: Create Leaders at Every Level

Leadership Nudge™ – Start with How

One simple trick for asking better questions is to simply put the word “how” at the beginning of the question.

So instead of “Are you sure?”, say “How sure are you?” Instead of “Do you support this?”, say “How strongly do you support this?”. We call that the “safety net how“, because that makes it easier for people to share what they think.

Here are two more examples:

This is the “probabilistic how“, which invites your people to think in a probabilistic way. It has to do with questions about the future. So, for example: Instead of “Will we launch on time?” → “How likely is it that we will launch on time?”. Probabilistic thinking is a component of critical thinking.

Then, finally, there is the “aspirational how“. So, instead of “Can we do it?” it’s “How can we do it?”. “Can we learn it?” → “How can we learn it?”. So, in other words, it’s not about saying “Well, yes/no, we can do it”, but, “What are the steps to take?”.

I’m David Marquet. That’s your leadership nudge.


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