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

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Leadership Nudge™ – Think Like a Start-Up

I’m eating here at Cunard Tavern in East Boston. The restaurant opened about 4 months ago.

The server comes up and says, “Hey, We’re pretty new here. We really want to get your feedback on how you like all the dishes. We’re still working out all the kinks.” (Not that there were really any kinks.)

That is a great mindset! That is a start-up mindset. We all ought to have that mindset all the time, because we can always get better.

Have a start-up mindset. Focus on getting better!

I’m David Marquet and that’s your Leadership Nudge.

Leadership Nudge™ – Want Feedback?

Did you know that the line “Can I give you some feedback?” triggers the same threat center in the brain as seeing a bear in the woods? We want to run or fight or freeze.

What if, rather than improving the way that we give feedback, we ask for feedback instead. Research shows that asking for feedback is better for both the giver and the receiver. There’s less threat on both sides and we’re able to get that specific feedback quicker more often and from many different people.

When feedback works, we’re able to contrast between what we’re doing right now and what we need to do to reach our future goal. High-performing people ask for feedback frequently.

So, get into the habit of asking for feedback at least two to three times a week. And, when you get it, don’t forget to say “Thank you for your feedback.

I’m Jenni Jepsen with your Leadership Nudge. Let us know how it goes.

Leadership Nudge™ – Elephant in the Room

Sometimes, there’s a big issue but no one seems to be talking about it.

Look, if there’s an elephant in the room, just bring it up and talk about it.

Pass Information, not Instructions

We’ve all had a situation where a friend was helping us park the car and it was like, “Come on. Come on. Come on.” *BUMP* “Stop!”

What’s the problem? They are passing instructions, not information. The control rests with the driver, but we’ve decoupled the instructions from the person who actually has control of what’s going on.

So, instead, let’s do what my friend Jens is showing us here.

Jens Passing Information, Not Instructions

  • Establish eye contact. Make sure you have that.
  • Show the distance. Now the driver naturally slows down as he gets closer and closer.

The principle is “Pass information, not instructions”.

By the way, this is how they park 500,000 pound airliners on a dime.

I’m David Marquet and that’s your Leadership Nudge

Leadership Nudge™ – Left Hand Day

One of our leadership principles is “Practice, don’t Preach”.

So, in other words, we’re trying to make the point that it’s not about giving your people a lecture, or even internalizing it in our head: “This is what I need to do.” It’s about actually practicing it.

So, the activity that we did at this conference that I just came from was what we called “Left Hand Day”.

We said, “Ok”, at the beginning of the day, “All day we are going to shake hands with our left hand.”

I raise my left hand, I pointed to it and said “Is anyone confused about what the left hand is?”

Everyone was of course shaking their heads, “No, of course we know what the left hand is.”

It was hard! Even at the end of the day, I forgot and when I was shaking hands with the conference organizer, we both reached out with our right hands!

Fortunately, we caught ourselves, but it makes the point: it’s about practice, not preaching.

So, if you want to try that with your team, have “Left Hand Day” and spend the day shaking hands with your left hand.

Let me know how it goes!

Leadership Nudge™ – I’ve Got That

“I’ve got that” is a great tool for millennials and Gen Y to build their influence in an organization.

What leaders worry about is ownership of issues and the cognitive burden that comes with having to remember all the issues and drive them forward. When team members hear “I’ve got that” it relieves them of a great cognitive load which is very helpful. Of course, you need to then actually own that issue.

Do you want to be a lot more valuable to your teammate, your boss or your organization?

Just say these three words:

“I’ve got that”

Often, as a team, we’ll discuss something or as a leader I’ll throw something out to the team and I’m a little reluctant to tell someone to do it, because I’m looking for some ownership and some proactivity.

When you say “Hey, I’ve got that”, that’s everything. Now, your boss doesn’t need to worry about it anymore. It’s really valuable.

Of course, you then have to do it.

Want to be more valuable? Say these words: “I’ve got that.”

Leadership Nudge™ – Say What You Do

This Air Canada Club sign is a good example of a good sign.

Say what you do, not what you won't do.

The principle is:

Say what you do, not what you won’t do.

So, here we’re saying, “We welcome you from 5am to 8:45pm.”

It isn’t, “We’re not welcoming you after those times”, or “We’re closed after these times”, but “These are the times that we are welcoming you”.

Principle: Say what you do, not what you won’t do.

Leadership Nudge™ – Think Long Term

The next time you need to make a decision, turn the calendar to a date six months from today. Look at that date and imagine it’s that day.

Then, think to yourself, ‘Ok, on that day, (thinking back to today), what do I wish I’d done?’

The reason this works is because it activates the long-term part of your brain. Humans are generally short-term thinkers and we need help thinking more in the long-term.

So, you will bias your decision more for a long-term win, which will be better in the long run than when you bias your decision for the short-term.

Let us know how it goes!

Leadership Nudge™ – Focus on Success

Take a look at this graphic:

I bet it took you just a few seconds to spot the mistake.

Our brains are wired to notice errors.

An elementary school teacher posted this on social media and his 3rd graders laughed at him for making the mistake. Then, he asked, “What about the nine answers that are correct?”

In our busy world, we tend to focus a lot of our energy on the mistakes that we made. This creates an “avoid errors” mindset. What we want to do is move towards achieving excellence rather than avoiding errors.

So, the next time you or someone around you makes a mistake, yes,of course acknowledge and learn from it, and focus on the great things, the successes, that you and the people around you are accomplishing.

I’m Jenni Jepsen with your Leadership Nudge

Let us know how it goes!

Leadership Nudge™ – Stop Telling People What to Do

Stop telling people what to do.

We tell people what to do so often, that we don’t even recognize when we’re doing it.

So, here’s a good activity:

Here in the men’s room we have a sign that says: “Please do not flush paper towels”.


Someone probably flushed paper towels down the toilet and it clogged the toilet, disabling it and it resulted in maintenance costs. So, we tell them “Don’t flush paper towels.”

A better approach:

Let’s be explicit about the impact of flushing paper towels: “Flushing paper towels results in putting the toilet out of commission and higher maintenance costs.”

Stop telling people what to do.

An activity for you is to go around your workplace and look for all kinds of signs like this, (where we’re telling people what to do). Take them down and replace them with signs that describe the impact of the activity and trust them as adults to do the right thing.

Copyright © 2017 Turn the Ship Around, LLC. All Rights Reserved