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This is the Mayan temple of Chichen Itza and this took 300 years to build. Now, imagine starting a project and keeping the same plans, the same design and the same values for 300 years. The Mayans were great with calendars. They had a 5000 year calendar.
So, here’s what we do as leaders: We want to have a long-term perspective. Here’s a trick for that.
Take your calendar, go six months into the future and then imagine it’s that day. Then, think back to today and say, “What do I wish I’d done?”
Leaders have a long-term perspective.
I’m David Marquet, that’s your Leadership Nudge.
In Turn the Ship Around! we tell the story of the team on the USS Santa Fe. They learned how they didn’t need to be told what to do and they can just say “I intend to…”
It came about by giving them control based on competence and clarity. Behind what was going on for the team, there was a leader’s journey. The leader’s journey is told this way:
From being a know/telling leader to not knowing and deciding not to tell and then seeing the power of not telling people what to do. The leader is still learning the jobs and then trying as much as possible to be a knowing but not telling leader.
So, we think the leader’s journey is essentially going from being a knowing/telling leader to a knowing but not telling leader.
We’ve re-framed the story of Turn the Ship Around! in this context and we’ve put it out as a workbook.
This has workshop elements and questions for leaders and their teams. It also has middle management perspective from one of the chiefs on the Santa Fe, Andy Worshek.
It also has references to research and scholarly articles that support this idea, scientifically, about “Why it is so powerful to stop telling people what to do?”
It tells the story in the context of this leadership journey.
I’m David Marquet. That’s your Leadership Nudge.
The Turn the Ship Around!: Workbook just came out January 2nd 2018 and is available from major vendors and on Amazon.
One of the good things for leaders to do is do a “walk-about” and you go see where the work is. This is called a “Gemba Walk”. “Gemba” meaning the place where the work happens.
Now, here’s the secret: When you’re on your Gemba Walk, don’t be the good idea fairy. Don’t interfere with the work. A lot of leaders say, “Oh, I have an answer. Let me help you. Etc.” You’re interfering with the work.
If the team invites you to help; fine. Otherwise, you can say “Hey, how’s it going?” That kind of thing, but resist trying to jump in and solve their problems.
Maybe, if they say “We have a problem”, then ask “How can I help?”
On your Gemba Walks, resist being the good idea fairy.
Leaders fix the environment, not people.
Watch this short clip about airline customer service and be asking yourself the question: ‘What is it about the environment that’s causing the gate agents to act in this way?’
I’m here in Barcelona, (though it could be any airport), and I’m ready to board to Newark. The boarding time on the sign reads – 9:45. Right now it’s about 9:51. The cleaning crew just came off and the cabin crew just went on along with the pilots. So, we all know that we’re not really boarding at 9:45.
In the meantime, we have all these gate agents. Could we say anything to the passengers? Nah. Could we just say, “Hey, we’re just going to be a few minutes late”? Nah.
They’re just going to ignore all those people that are standing out there.
So, what do you think is getting in the way of these gate agents from just being transparent, thinking about what these people are going through, and just picking up the mic and just letting them know what’s going on?
I’m David Marquet, that’s your Leadership Nudge.
I’m here at Ella’s Kitchen, a Certified B Corp, where the CEO and the leadership team are giving autonomy to the team to develop products and market them.
One of the products they came up with was Melty Sticks.
Now, when the idea of Melty Sticks came to the leadership team, the leadership team was not very enthusiastic about it.
Basically, it’s a cross between a puff and a bread stick.
They thought, “Eh, we have to charge a little bit more, because it has to be packaged just right. Otherwise, it breaks in packaging.”
So, when the leadership team approved it, their mindset was “Well, it’s going to be a dismal failure, but it will be a lesson to the team.”
Guess what… Melty Sticks? – #1 selling product!
So, when you’re a leader and you give your team autonomy and authority, prepare to be surprised.
I’m David Marquet, here at Ella’s Kitchen, and that’s your Leadership Nudge.
I’m here by the statue of the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.
Sherlock Holmes was a keen observer and that allowed him to see things that others didn’t see and solve cases that others couldn’t solve.
You can be like Sherlock Holmes and develop your observation skills.
When you make observations, make them accurate, specific and comparative.
- Accurate: You see the world as it is, not how you wish it were.
- Specific: Means we use very specific language to describe it.
- Comparative: Not just, “Here’s an observation”, but “Here’s how it should be, how it could be, and how it was according to plan.”
If you practice that, (accurate, specific and comparative), then you’re going to develop your ‘Sherlock-Holmes-Seeing’ skills.
That will take you on the first step on the Ladder of Leadership and the first step toward being an expert in your field.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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