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How Sure Are You?

Leadership Nudge –  HOW SURE ARE YOU?

When you are in France, it’s ok to say “Bien sur.” But in English you don’t want to ask the question “are you sure?” It’s provocative and you don’t really learn anything. We tend to ask because we want to test and probe to see that the person is really confident in what they are saying, but a better way to ask that is to say “how sure are you?” or “how confident are you?” Even better, “what do you see that is making you come to this conclusion?” When we ask “how sure are you?” it trains your brain to give people opportunity to share what they know and what they have learned that helped them make decisions.

Our Leadership Nudge to you this week is this:

Replace “Are you sure?” with “How sure are you?”

Let us know what how it goes!

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge –  www.davidmarquet.com

Why Your Resolutions Won’t Stick


If you’re like most people you are going to make or you’ve already made a New Year’s resolution. And if you’re like most people you’re going to fail. Here’s why: Number one, it wasn’t specific enough. You said something like “Oh, I’m going to lose weight.” Or “I’m going to be healthier.” Number two, you didn’t set an actual plan. You talked about the outcome but not the way to get there. And number three. You didn’t set a formal accountability partner – someone who you trust and respect that you’re going to report and feel accountable to in terms of this progress.

So, if you really want to keep your New Year’s resolution, say something like this. Let’s take weight loss, which is the number one resolution most years. You say to yourself, “Hey, on December 1st, I’m going to weigh less than 180 pounds by keeping a food log of everything that I eat and not eating bread after lunch. And I’m going to have a weekly call with my brother who’s going to hold me accountable to that behavior.”

Our Leadership Nudge to you this week is this:

To achieve your New Year’s resolution – be specific – have a detailed plan – commit to an accountability partner!

Let us know what how it goes!

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge –  www.davidmarquet.com

Give Control First

Leadership Nudge – GIVE CONTROL FIRST 

One of the fundamental concepts of Intent-Based Leadership™ is the relationship between how much control, how much decision making authority we can give people, and their level of competence and clarity. Generally, we say leaders need to tune the level of control to the level of competence and clarity. We explained that concept in Leadership Nudge 131- Avoid Chaos Tune Control and we call that figure 1a.


This week we are explaining figure 1b. This figure shows how we help our teams move up and to the right. What is happening is that algorithms and bots keep eating up the low end of this curve. There are two key things to understand about figure 1b. Number one, is the steps are small. We want to move in small positive steps. Number two is the first step is up. In other words, the leader has to give more control first. This allows the person to expose their level of competence and clarity. We normally think that when our teams demonstrate competence and clarity (moving right on figure 1b), then I am going to give you more control. That is the perspective of the leader.

If you are team member, your job is to do the exact opposite. Your job is to be transparent and open with your boss about how much competence and clarity that you have. That it makes it easy for him or her to give you more control.

Our Leadership Nudge to you this week is this:

Give control first.

Let us know what how it goes!

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge –  www.davidmarquet.com

Scripting for Teams

Leadership Nudge – SCRIPTING FOR TEAMS

Have you ever seen a really high performing team operating where people are saying things and everyone know exactly what the other person is doing? They are getting the right information at exactly the right time. Well, that comes about because of scripting. Scripting is where we choose the words or we deliberately script up the words that we are going to say to make the procedure happen.

Most procedures state a sequence of operations – what needs to happen. Often they don’t say the words that are needed to make those things happen. There may be information that another team member needs that I have, or the information someone else has that I need.

So what we do is. If you have multiple shifts, you have each shift take a whack at the script and then they pass the script from shift to shift. Each shift iterates the script. It’s great training because they have a physical thing that you can check. And they are each building on each other’s work. And at the end they have a better sense of what they all need to say to make the thing happen.

Our Leadership Nudge to you this week is this:

Try writing the script for a process or procedure and let your team edit it.

Let us know what how it goes!

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge –  www.davidmarquet.com

Leadership is a Practice


When implementing Intend -Based Leadership within your organization, it takes practice and dedication just like a soccer or football team. Daily, weekly, bi-monthly or monthly practice sessions are vital in order to have greater consistency over a period of time.

In difficult circumstances or in time management projects, you may want to take back control and start telling people what to do again. However, resist the urge to give orders, keep up the momentum and by doing so you will see great benefits within your leadership team and your organization.

Momentum can be defined as; the strength or force that allows something to continue to grow stronger or faster as time passes.

We encourage you to;

  • Keep giving control
  • Resist the urge of telling people what to do
  • Keep seeing leaders at every level

Keep scaling up the ladder of leadership with your team by saying:

  • What do you see?
  • What do you think?
  • What would you like to do?
  • What do you intend to do?

Our Leadership Nudge to you this week is this:

Practice, practice, practice!

Let us know what how it goes!

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge –  www.davidmarquet.com

Avoid Chaos, Tune Control


We use figure 1a. to illustrate one of the fundamental concepts in Intent-Based Leadership™. That concept is that leaders need to tune the amount of control that they are giving their team to the level of competence and clarity that each team member has. The key word is tune.


In a situation where the team has more competence and clarity compared with the authority to make decisions, we find very frustrated people. On the other hand, leaders fear giving too much authority to make decisions without the competence and the clarity. This results in chaos and bad decisions.

One of the problems is that if we don’t really have a good understanding of someone’s competence and clarity we always default to the low end of giving control. That is the safe way to go. When we default to the low end it results in over-controlling the situation which generally puts people in the frustration zone.

When we poll organizations, 63% of people report themselves in the frustration zone, about 20% report themselves in the sweet spot, and about 15% report themselves in the chaos zone. Remember, the leaders job is to tune the level of control based on each person’s level of competence and clarity.

Our Leadership Nudge to you this week is this:

Tune the level of control you exercise, based on the level of competence and clarity your team possesses.

Let us know what how it goes!

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge –  www.davidmarquet.com

Certify, Don’t Brief

Leadership Nudge – CERTIFY, DON’T BRIEF

You are in charge of a team and about to engage in a major operation or evolution- a very important crane lift, or surgical procedure, or an airplane taking off, or, for us on USS Santa Fe, starting up the reactor. You gather the team together to do a briefing. You review each person’s responsibilities. And at the end you say, “Hey, how are you doing? Any questions? Do you understand?” Everyone understands and nods. Then you go and do the operation.

Well, don’t do that. Instead, cancel all your briefings. The problem is briefings are very passive for all of the participants. The only person really involved is the person leading the briefing. Instead of doing a briefing, do a certification.

A certification is different from a briefing in two key ways. Number 1, the participants say what their responsibilities will be during the operation. They talk about what they might be looking for, the key decisions that they might have to make. They talk about their understanding of the sequence of events during the operation.

And then number 2, the person in charge makes the decision that the team is ready to move forward. So number 1 is from the participants up. And number 2, there’s a decision that you’re ready to move forward with the operation.

Our Leadership Nudge to you this week is this:

Have your team tell you their responsibilities and then you make the decision to proceed. Certify your team, don’t brief!

Let us know what how it goes!

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge –  www.davidmarquet.com

Lack Clarity? Take the Initiative


Have you ever found yourself in this situation? You’ve had the “I intend to” talk with the boss. The boss likes the direction you are going and says, “Let’s get it done!” You are excited, energized, motivated, and then you realize you might be lacking some of the clarity you need to get the job done.

Here are some things you can do. First, take the initiative. Schedule time with the boss to get the clarity you need. Second, don’t ask the boss to solve the issue, just ask for more information. Don’t go in and ask them to tell you what to do. Try saying this instead; “I need a little more clarity to ensure success here. Can you let me know what you are thinking?”

Here’s the why. It shows you understand the importance of the job you are trying to accomplish. And you retain the initiative for the communication and for getting the job done. You have control over your work.

Our Leadership Nudge to you this week is this:

If you find yourself lacking clarity – take the initiative for acquiring the information you need.

Let us know what how it goes!

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge –  www.davidmarquet.com

How We Give Thanks

Leadership Nudge – HOW WE GIVE THANKS

Here in the United States we are about to celebrate our Thanksgiving Holiday. Giving thanks, recognizing, and praising our people is going to be top of mind. How we give thanks and how we praise our teams has a significant impact on their subsequent behavior.

If we say “Hey, thanks for doing such a good job,” and we praise a trait, the outcome can be quite interesting. We say things like, “You demonstrated how smart you are,” or “You are really talented.” That tends to push people into a fixed mindset. That will make them a little more risk-adverse and not want to test whether that trait is actually true or not.

Praising people for their behavior, like “You worked really hard,” or “You showed great attention to detail, perseverance, or grit,” tends to give people a growth mindset. It encourages them to engage in more of that behavior.

To learn more, check out this article from Carol S. Dweck, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-secret-to-raising-smart-kids1/

Our Leadership Nudge to you this week is this:

When thanking your teams this week, praise their behavior!

Let us know what how it goes!

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge – www.davidmarquet.com

Red Work Blue Work

Leadership Nudge – RED WORK BLUE WORK

Our Leadership Nudge™ this week is about two different kinds of work. We call them Red work and Blue work.

Red work is work that is fundamentally about reducing variability. Red work is the kind of work we are very familiar with. It is a result of the industrial revolution. Red work is about doing. It is about avoiding errors. It is about execution. When we say, “We come to work to do our jobs,” that is a legacy of this long history of red work.

Blue work is fundamentally about embracing variability. Blue work is thinking work, not just doing. Blue work is about achieving excellence, not just avoiding errors. Blue work is about decision making, not just executing our tasks.

We think about our work like this, our work is either red work or blue work, and we alternate between the two. Here’s the problem. Bots, algorithms, and robots are increasingly eating away at the red work. If you are doing a lot of red work, your job is at risk and it is going to go away.

Our Leadership Nudge to you this week is this:

Think about the work you are doing and create more blue work in the work.

Let us know what how it goes!

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge –  www.davidmarquet.com

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