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Permission to Speak – Leadership Blog – Kelly Vandever Interviews David Marquet on Intention Based Leadership


Podcast Logo Episode 10 David Marquet

Permission to Speak

Video Blog & Podcast

Hosted by Leadership Communications Expert Kelly Vandever

Permission to Speak is the video blog and podcast that loiters at the intersections of leaders who want their people to speak up, technology that facilitates connections, and results that serve an organization’s higher purpose.

Our guest for this episode:  David Marquet

Topics discussed:

  • Turn the Ship Around: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders
  • Former Commanding Officer of USS Santa Fe
  • His life depended on his staff speaking up
  • Took the USS Santa Fe from the worst ship in the fleet with regards to performance and morale and turned the ship around to become the best ship in a year with the highest scores the Navy had ever recorded!
  • Giving orders versus intent based leadership
  • If you give orders, people will follow them… and not speak up even if you tell them it’s OK to speak up
  • By saying, “I intend to…” to your boss, you have to take psychological ownership of the action and results
  • Plus by saying, “I intend to…” it creates an opportunity to have a conversation between leader and employee
  • Give people authority in a small way first and see what happens
  • My boss trusts me, I’m the master of my domain
  • The real story was what happened over the next 10 years when officer after officer (10 total) got selected to be a submarine commander which was unprecedented!
  • If you have a “know all, tell all” attitude as a leader, you can have an impact for a time. But when you leave thing drop.  Leadership is measured by what happens when you leave.  Leadership is what your people do when you’re not there… how much do you get people to believe in themselves
  • Compare that to the leadership text at the academy that says, “Leadership is directing the thoughts, plans and actions of others so as to obtain and command their obedience, their competence and their respect.”
  • Creating a system where you don’t have to give orders is where you get to
  • It’s scary to go against your instinct and training to give commands and not tell them what to do
  • Staff was incredibly forgiving
  • Representation of the drawing David does 18 minutes into the interview

David Marquet XY Diagram

  • Y-axis giving away control, X-access level of competence and clarity of the people
  • You can give control away when there’s an emergency when people are competent and clear about what you’re trying to achieve
  • Know All / Tell All 2×2 Matrix

David Marquet 2x2 Diagram

  • Representation of the drawing David does 24 minutes into the interview
  • Know your job, but whenever possible, resist giving your people the answers
  • People start feeling better about coming to work because they have decision making power which results in increased retention, employee satisfaction score goes up and customer satisfaction scores go up
  • Your people are more important than customers… they’re the ones taking care of the customers!
  • Story of University of Kentucky baseball, Brian Green, batting coach, who stopped telling kids what to do and told the kids, your job is to tell me what’s your plan. Made the kids think.  Next year, top of the league.  Signed a kid to the majors, first time it’d ever happened there. Now Brian is the head coach at the New Mexico State.
  • Engage thinking to help staff solve their own problems
  • Create the space where employees have room to think and problem solve
  • Satisfaction in a job comes from knowing your job matters, from feeling competent in your ability to do it, being connected to some kind of a team and having control
  • Speed at which people willingly take ownership of intent varied by individual
  • Relationship of total trust and taking care of your people
  • Trust is trust… it doesn’t mean trust plus competence together
  • You need to actually care about your people, and you can’t fake it
  • Example of the career counselor who would come in at 3 in the morning to take care of the sailors when they transferred after their tour on the ship
  • Leadership is hard.  It goes against your instincts, your need for control.  Resist those drives.  Don’t beat yourself up.  You’re not going to be perfect.
  • Talk to your team, tell them I’m going to move in this direction. Give them permission to speak up when you go against what you said you were going to do.  David gave them yellow cards to hold up to help him hold himself accountable. Staffs are amazingly forgiving.
  • Leader as hero isn’t what’s going to energize intelligent people to come to work and kick butt.
  • Give your team permission to give you feedback. Be specific.
  • Ask your team, what do you think we should do?
  • Biggest surprise, everyone all over the world wants the same thing…. They want a job that matters. They want a better life for their kids.  The innate humanness in all of us is the same.    Lives that matters, and a lot of that is from our job.  Don’t want to just use their hands but also their heads.

David’s Website – davidmarquet.com

David’s book