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Episode Info

Episode Info:

“The journey of leadership is a journey to irrelevance. It has to be. Otherwise you're just a do-er, you're an individual contributor like everybody else.”

The problem with military command is that when you say ‘jump’, your subordinates are supposed to say ‘how high?’, regardless of the danger or the stupidity of the order. 

L. David Marquet realised there was something fundamentally wrong with this form of blind leadership when he took command of the USS Santa Fe, the US Navy’s submarine with the worst morale out of all its ships. 

David didn’t know his way around this submarine, he wasn’t trained on it, but he was still expected to command it. He realised that the only way to take control and quite literally turn the ship around, was to adopt a radical approach to leadership. 

He decided to empower his subordinates as they knew far more about their day to day roles than he did - he told them to take ownership of their decisions. He needed the ship to manage itself. 

His revolutionary approach to leadership went against everything he’d been taught, but it worked. In the three years under David’s command, the Santa Fe rose from the bottom of the ranks to being the number one ship in the US navy. 

In this latest episode, David shares his story, how he had to park his ego in order to succeed and how he relinquished control in order to take command. This is a truly fascinating conversation with actionable insights. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 

“I used to be a control freak. Well actually, I'm still wired to be a control freak. But I'm trying to get over it.”

On today’s podcast:

  • Get out of the decision making business
  • From permission to proactivity 
  • You can’t change characteristics, only behaviour
  • The psychological safety net
  • The power of ‘I don’t know’  
  • How to play the feedback game

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