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

Category Archives: Intent Based Leadership – All Posts

Practice Deliberate Action

Leadership Nudge – Practice Deliberate Action

One of the most important things we did on SANTA FE while implementing Intent-Based-Leadership was to inject thinking in everything we did. In particular, between the impulse to do something and act of doing it, we would pause and vocalize what we were doing.

If we were going to press a button to energize a display it might sound something like this. I would have the impulse to turn the display on. I would point at the button,  say, “Turning the display on,” pause, and then push the button.

This practice allowed the team around me the opportunity to back me up and I would have once last chance to think, “Is this the right thing to do?”

My leadership nudge to you this week is this:

Practice deliberate action. Pause before you take an action and verbalize what you intend to do, and then take your action.

Let us know how it goes!

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge –

Control In An Emergency


This week we are going to talk about the connection between control; how much authority we are giving to the team, and the competence and clarity that the team has; how well the team technically knows the job and understands the why. What we are asserting is that there is this stable domain of operations where these two things are related. Continue reading

Stress Performance Curve


The stress performance curve, sometimes referred to as the arousal performance curve can help us understand the effects of stress on our abilities and our teams’ abilities to perform simple physical or complex cognitive tasks. Continue reading

Value Your Team

Leadership Nudge – VALUE YOUR TEAM 

People that are valued by their organization tend to be more engaged and contribute more to the success of the team. They also tend to be happier and healthier and it shows in their efforts. Continue reading

Embrace Outliers

Leadership Nudge – EMBRACE OUTLIERS

When Leaders hear a different position than their own, an outlying position, they embrace it. They say, “Hey, tell me more about that.” I’ll give you two examples where this did not happen. Continue reading

Know All, Tell Not

Leadership Nudge – KNOW ALL, TELL NOT

I am going to give you this two by two matrix that describes different models of leadership. Now most leadership lives up in the KNOW ALL, TELL ALL world. The leader knows all the answers so he or she gives all the orders, and since they are the ones giving all the orders, they better know all the answers! Continue reading

Fix the Environment, Not People


I believe that every human has the potential to do great. We all have a latent superhero within. All too often, however, that superhero never sees the light of day because of fear, bureaucracy, or insecurities we carry with us. Continue reading

Leaders Learn Always

Leadership Nudge – Leaders Learn Always

A key philosophy of “leaders learn always” is that you learn as much as possible from the things you are already doing. Onboard my submarine, we found that if we just paid attention to our everyday operations, like starting the reactor, getting under way, and submerging the ship, we could learn a lot. Continue reading

Level 6 Communication

When we give people instructions it creates dependence. When people give intent it creates independence. The key to your team becoming more proactive rests in the language the subordinates and superiors use. Sometimes we call this empowerment, but I don’t believe we empower people. They are already empowered. What we do is give them the authority to exercise their natural empowerment. Whatever you decide to call it, the way you get there is not by giving people speeches but by giving people a tool they can use to make decisions at a higher level than they could before.

Instead of waiting for an order for the next steps to take, an empowered employee reports to his manager with sufficiently complete information and rationale for the action he intends to take. The employee uses empowered phrases such as “I intend to . . .” to communicate to his manager, who then only needs to give his or her approval allowing the employee to then act accordingly. This process of employees thinking out loud as to what they intend to do and why causes them to think at the next higher level, thereby turning the management structure upside down. The use of empowering language builds energetic, emotionally committed employees who think about what needs to be done and the right way to do it.

My leadership nudge to you this week is this:

Make room for your teams to level up. Giving them space to grow to Level 5, “I intend to” will result in rich communication and greatly empowered teams.

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge –


Happy New Year – Be Grateful

Leadership Nudge – Happy New Year, Be Grateful

As 2015 comes to a close, my team and I would like to express our gratitude for the opportunity to work with people that are creating, sustaining, and growing workplaces where everyone engages and contributes their full intellectual capacity; places where people are healthier and happier because they have more control over their work; places where everyone is a leader. Continue reading

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