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

Monthly Archives: July 2016

No They Day

Leadership NudgeTM – No They Day

I just returned to my team this week after experiencing a challenging cross country bike ride. I rode 80-100 hundred miles a day, from Kansas to Pennsylvania. Each night I experienced a different hotel. When I would check in, I would listen for the word “they.” A lot of times I heard things like this; “Your room’s not ready. Let me go check and see if they have it ready.” As soon as I heard the word they, I would cringe because I knew that wasn’t a team. Teams use the word “we.”

I knew I was dealing with a team when I would hear the front desk person say, “We’ll see if we have your room ready.” The “teams” I encountered always seemed to be a little more polite and friendly. They projected a sense of pride and courtesy that was quite welcome after a hundred miles on my bike. So when the front desk referred to the rest of the staff as they, you know it’s not a team. They are viewing themselves as separate teams.

The point is, don’t give a lecture on being a team. Say, “let’s just use the word we.” It will look something like this; “at the front desk, we are going to practice referring to everybody else in the hotel, room service, food & beverage, engineering, as we.” Over time, that will change the mindset and it will feel like a team. People will start behaving like a team.

Our leadership nudge to you this week is this:

Have a no “they” day. Have a day where you are forbidden from using the word they when referring to anybody else inside the organization.

Let us know how it goes!

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge – www.davidmarquet.com


Make it Safe

Leadership NudgeTM – Make it Safe

Here at Turn the Ship Around we operate often with our boss out of the office. In fact, over the next couple of weeks, David will be riding his bicycle from Missouri to New Hampshire with America by Bicycle. Because we have control over the work we do, progress never stops here.

Just like other organizations, with progress comes mistakes. On our team, when a mistake is made, the goal is; inform the team, inform the boss, and solve our issues together. When it is not safe to admit a mistake, many people will do their best to hide the mistake and hope it goes undiscovered. Because it is safe here to admit a mistake, hidden problems are a thing of the past.

When a mistake happens on your team how do you respond? Organizations that make it safe to admit a mistake and work together waste less time reacting to hidden problems. In fact, it is nearly impossible to fix problems you don’t know about.

Our leadership nudge to you this week is this:

The next time someone on your team informs you of a mistake, say “Thank You” and then work on solving the problem together.

Let us know how it goes!

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge – www.davidmarquet.com

Evaluate the Environment

Leadership NudgeTM – Evaluate the Environment

In the subway system in Stockholm you will find a set of stairs next to an escalator. As you can imagine most people take the escalator and not the stairs. Why not? Using the escalator will deliver you to the same location as using the stairs. It requires less energy. Everybody else is using the stairs.

One organization thought beyond those things. They recognized that if people used the stairs, it would be better for them. They could have posted signs telling people to use the stairs instead of the escalator. Or they could have put a poster up encouraging people to choose the stairs. We all know how effective signs and posters are at changing behavior.

Instead, they focused on changing the environment. They asked, “what could be done to make using the stairs more inviting than using the escalator?” The answer was to make the stairs more fun. The stairs are now piano keys and they play notes when pedestrians walk on them. The result is 66% more people than normal now choose to use the stairs instead of the escalator. That’s a pretty good change in behavior if you ask us. When encouraging behavior change in your team, don’t look for ways to “fix” them. Look instead for ways to make the environment support the desired behaviors.

Our leadership nudge to you this week is this:

Pass out index cards to your team and ask them for feedback on at least one thing they would change about the work environment. . .and then act on one of them.

Let us know how it goes!

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge – www.davidmarquet.com


Magna Carta

Leadership NudgeTM – Magna Carta 

This week’s Leadership NudgeTM is more of a nod. It is a nod to a very important document, the Magna Carta. One of the copies is enshrined in the Salisbury Cathedral in England. This copy is one of four surviving from its original issue in 1215, 801 years ago.

The Magna Carta champions the idea that we are all accountable under rule of law, even the king. The king is just as accountable as everyone else. This document has been an inspiration for constitutions written since then. It is also an inspiration for Intent based-LeadershipTM because the idea is that we are all accountable to the idea to follow the principles of our organizations. At the same time, we should chart our own path for how we do that. In other words, we are all leaders, but we are also followers. We follow principles.

Our nudge to you this week is this;

Take a look at your organizations principles. . .are you following them?

Let us know what you find?

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge – www.davidmarquet.com

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