OUR MANAGEMENT CONCEPT: INTENT BASED LEADERSHIP (IBL)
THE ORIGINS OF IBL
IBL is a leadership concept that is in tune with our values, culture and goals and which should help us to find a common way in how we communicate with each other. The idea in general is nothing new but the concept is helpful in being very concrete in its everyday implications. IBL was developed by David Marquet when he worked as a captain on a nuclear submarine in the United States.
For more information look on www.davidmarquet.com
THE PRINCIPLES OF IBL
IBL has six main principles:
- Our objective is to achieve greatness, not avoid errors
- In order to achieve greatness, we need people to think
- For people to think, leaders must give control, not take control
- To ensure successful distribution of control, the two supporting pillars of technical competence and organizational clarity must be in place
- Our focus is to change the environment, not the people
- One way we do this is to act our way to new thinking, not think our way to new action
THE FIRST PRINCIPLE: ACHIEVE GREATNESS, NOT AVOID ERRORS
The definition of greatness in this context is: Anything that helps another person. The prerequisite for that to occur is that you have a save environment where you can try out new things and where you are allowed to make mistakes. Thus, how we as a team and as a company deal with mistakes is important. Whether as a giver or as a receiver of a criticism: Try to see it as a way to learn and improve.
THE SECOND PRINCIPLE: IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE GREATNESS, PEOPLE MUST THINK
The capability to think is influenced by our level of stress: The area in our brain called the prefrontal cortex is responsible for rational thinking. But if we are stressed, the limbic system takes over and we are in fight or flight modus. Indeed, a certain amount of positive stress helps us get optimal prefrontal cortex performance. But too much stress prevents us from being rational, proactive and organized in our work. As you all know, external stress factors can mostly not be eliminated. But what we can work on is how we handle it internally. Thus, if you see employees or colleagues who are struggling try to support them and ask them how you can help.
THE THIRD PRINCIPLE: FOR PEOPLE TO THINK, LEADERS MUST GIVE CONTROL
Having control over one’s own life is a basic human need. We are happier the more we are in control over what we do (for those who want to know more about that, read Daniel H. Pink’s book “Drive”). Also, if we want people to think, we must give control. This means pushing authority to where the information is. Decisions should be made by the person who has the most knowledge about the topic under discussion. On the way there, start with small things or with parts of a bigger question.
THE FOURTH PRINCIPLE: ENSURE TECHNICAL COMPETENCE AND ORGANIZATIONAL CLARITY
The prerequisite to giving control is organizational clarity and technical competence. Managers’ core task is to make sure that these two pillars are in place. Make sure that everyone knows the goals. And all of us should ask ourselves: “Do I have the necessary technical competence?”. If not, ask for a course, coaching or internal advice in order to reach the necessary level of knowledge and skill.
THE FIFTH PRINCIPLE: CHANGE THE ENVIRONMENT, NOT THE PEOPLE
The environment is a deciding factor for how we act. In an experiment called “Good Samaritan” it was seen that people who were under a lot of time pressure in fulfilling a specific task where significantly less likely to help someone who was in a precarious situation. Consequently, when having a problem somewhere, try to adapt the environment. Ask yourselves as a team or manager what could you change (physically, in interaction etc.), decide on one or two points and just try it.
THE SIXTH PRINCIPLE: ACT YOUR WAY TO NEW THINKING
New things are seen as dangerous when they come from outside and consequently, we are resistant to change. To circumvent this, involve the people who will be affected, make the change small and then just do it. The positive feedback will make you all continue, and it will become a habit. You have acted your way to a new way of thinking.
A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM DAVID MARQUET
For our very own Intent Based Leadership story, don't miss what the grand master has to tell after his visit to Dolder Basel on YouTube.