« Turn The Ship Around » by L. David Marquet

« The fundamental premise is that he realized that when people come to you for orders, or ask your permission to do something, they don’t bring any of their own responsibility to the request. They’re asking you if they can xyz. That puts it on you. They don’t have to fully consider their ask because they still need you to OK it. You’re their door stop just in case. So it’s not about them and what they want to do, it’s about what you are OK with them doing. And even if you OK it, it only happened because you said it could happen. That creates too many dependencies, and — like Marquet — I believe people and teams within an organization should be able to move independently of one another. Fewer dependencies, not more.
So instead of asking permission and or seeking orders, he told his sailors to come to him with intent. Instead of “Captain, may I turn the ship starboard 30 degrees?” (which asks for the Captain’s permission to OK the command), he wanted people to come to him saying “Captain, I’m going to turn the ship starboard 30 degrees.” In just a few words, everything’s different. “May I?” pushes all the power and responsibility to the person granting the permission. “I’m going to” squarely puts the responsibility on the person who’s going to carry out the action. »


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