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November 30, 2017

All You Leaders, 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.


Deliberate Actions