Just imagine If.....

All you leaders out there….Imagine if people in your organisation could do things exactly the way you wanted them to, automatically, without the need for you to constantly check on them or even issue orders. Sound good?

This cracking little animated film is all about leadership and how to communicate your “intent” rather than having to issue specific instructions or orders. It’s based on the ideas of a very influential leader who was responsible for ensuring that many critical decisions were able to be made quickly and effectively in the most challenging situations.

Here’s the film clip right here: Please read the rest of this short blog first though if you can….

Intent Based Leadership - David Marquet

I believe that the same principles can be applied to many different environments and especially in Safety.

It reminds me of many years when I worked in similar circumstances with several powerful leaders who communicated their “intent” very effectively. Most of them made it clear that they expected everyone to go the extra mile, to get the job done, almost whatever it took to complete the task or mission. People responded accordingly often taking huge personal risk, occasionally with tragic consequences!

Then, I worked with a particularly brilliant leader in some of the most challenging and competitive conditions. He had a slightly different “intent” that he made absolutely clear to us all.

He made it known that whilst it’s vital to get all tasks done and that all missions were successful, it was equally vital to ensure that they were done properly, safely and without the need for putting people at unnecessary risk. “What would I do if we lost just one of you, even for a short period?” he’d say. “How could I properly replace any one of you?”

We didn’t believe him at first, so we just carried on doing things the way we used to!

It took him a week or two to change ATTITUDES that then quickly installed into our own VALUES and BELIEFS and then he’d got us. Everybody was clear on his “intent” and we would all make decisions and act based on that intent. We’d still make sure that we got the job done and we made sure it was done properly and as safe as we could to make sure we could get on with whatever the next task was.

He very rarely ever had to make decisions again! Nor did he have to constantly monitor our performance. He just knew that we’d all do the right thing because we were PROUD to do it that way! Now that’s real leadership and it’s just as effective on the Sports field, Battlefield or in any Workplace.

Thank you for reading and watching, if you’re curious about better ways of influencing behaviour and improving safety performance we’d like to meet you on our IOSH Approved Behavioural Science & Performance Psychology for Safety Courses

8 thoughts on “All you leaders out there. Imagine if…?”

  1. scottdunbar_92@hotmail.co.uk

    Interesting short clip with David Marquet. I suppose it will depend on how many failures you get before it starts to come together, also, the right people need to be in place to make it work. One weak link can cause failure and this could make you look incompetent.

  2. really great video and very inspiring thought. The power of 135 people all thinking passionately and creatively is much stronger than just one person, not matter how smart this person is.

  3. Bartlomiej Mormol

    Empowering the people, giving them the space for own decisions and strategies which are resonating with our vision and purpose as main intent? Oh.. Yeh, that’s great idea, very opposite to micromanagement which is feeding only the bad leader ego!

  4. Loving the idea of providing clear intent and then moving the authority to where the information is. I strongly agree that the enabler for this is building the capability to coach others rather than purely direct others. Looking forward to building the awareness and then the capability of our leaders to “give control and create leaders” throughout our organisation.

    1. Great point Sarah and glad you enjoyed that clip. Coaching will help of course and also a bit of a mindset shift as well, really enjoying reading some of the responses here so far.

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