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Leadership Is Language
From the acclaimed author of Turn the Ship Around!, former US Navy Captain David Marquet, comes a radical new playbook for empowering your team to make better decisions and take greater ownership.
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ABOUT THE BOOK

You might imagine that an effective leader is someone who makes quick, intelligent decisions, gives inspiring speeches, and issues clear orders to their team so they can execute a plan to achieve your organization's goals. Unfortunately, David Marquet argues, that's an outdated model of leadership that just doesn't work anymore.

As a leader in today's networked, information-dense business climate, you don't have full visibility into your organization or the ground reality of your operating environment. In order to harness the eyes, ears, and minds of your people, you need to foster a climate of collaborative experimentation that encourages people to speak up when they notice problems and work together to identify and test solutions.

Too many leaders fall in love with the sound of their own voice, and wind up dictating plans and digging in their heels when problems begin to emerge. Even when you want to be a more collaborative leader, you can undermine your own efforts by defaulting to command-and-control language we've inherited from the industrial era.

It's time to ditch the industrial age playbook of leadership. In Leadership is Language, you'll learn how choosing your words can dramatically improve decision-making and execution on your team. Marquet outlines six plays for all leaders, anchored in how you use language:

  • Control the clock, don't obey the clock: Pre-plan decision points and give your people the tools they need to hit pause on a plan of action if they notice something wrong.
  • Collaborate, don't coerce: As the leader, you should be the last one to offer your opinion. Rather than locking your team into binary responses ("Is this a good plan?"), allow them to answer on a scale ("How confident are you about this plan?")
  • Commit, don't comply: Rather than expect your team to comply with specific directions, explain your overall goals, and get their commitment to achieving it one piece at a time.
  • Complete, don't continue: If every day feels like a repetition of the last, you're doing something wrong. Articulate concrete plans with a start and end date to align your team.
  •  Improve, don't prove: Ask your people to improve on plans and processes, rather than prove that they can meet fixed goals or deadlines. You'll face fewer cut corners and better long-term results.
  • Connect, don't conform: Flatten hierarchies in your organization and connect with your people to encourage them to contribute to decision-making.

In his last book, Turn the Ship Around!, Marquet told the incredible story of abandoning command-and-control leadership on his submarine and empowering his crew to turn the worst performing submarine to the best performer in the fleet. Now, with Leadership Is Language he gives businesspeople the tools they need to achieve such transformational leadership in their organizations.


ABOUT THE BOOK

You might imagine that an effective leader is someone who makes quick, intelligent decisions, gives inspiring speeches, and issues clear orders to their team so they can execute a plan to achieve your organization's goals. Unfortunately, David Marquet argues, that's an outdated model of leadership that just doesn't work anymore.

As a leader in today's networked, information-dense business climate, you don't have full visibility into your organization or the ground reality of your operating environment. In order to harness the eyes, ears, and minds of your people, you need to foster a climate of collaborative experimentation that encourages people to speak up when they notice problems and work together to identify and test solutions.

Too many leaders fall in love with the sound of their own voice, and wind up dictating plans and digging in their heels when problems begin to emerge. Even when you want to be a more collaborative leader, you can undermine your own efforts by defaulting to command-and-control language we've inherited from the industrial era.

It's time to ditch the industrial age playbook of leadership. In Leadership is Language, you'll learn how choosing your words can dramatically improve decision-making and execution on your team. Marquet outlines six plays for all leaders, anchored in how you use language:

  • Control the clock, don't obey the clock: Pre-plan decision points and give your people the tools they need to hit pause on a plan of action if they notice something wrong.
  • Collaborate, don't coerce: As the leader, you should be the last one to offer your opinion. Rather than locking your team into binary responses ("Is this a good plan?"), allow them to answer on a scale ("How confident are you about this plan?")
  • Commit, don't comply: Rather than expect your team to comply with specific directions, explain your overall goals, and get their commitment to achieving it one piece at a time.
  • Complete, don't continue: If every day feels like a repetition of the last, you're doing something wrong. Articulate concrete plans with a start and end date to align your team.
  •  Improve, don't prove: Ask your people to improve on plans and processes, rather than prove that they can meet fixed goals or deadlines. You'll face fewer cut corners and better long-term results.
  • Connect, don't conform: Flatten hierarchies in your organization and connect with your people to encourage them to contribute to decision-making.

In his last book, Turn the Ship Around!, Marquet told the incredible story of abandoning command-and-control leadership on his submarine and empowering his crew to turn the worst performing submarine to the best performer in the fleet. Now, with Leadership Is Language he gives businesspeople the tools they need to achieve such transformational leadership in their organizations.


Let's reengineer our Industrial Age language for the modern era.
INSTEAD OF:
TRY:
"Are you sure?"
"How sure are you?"
"Are you happy with how we did yesterday?"
"What could we have done better?"
"Why would you want to do that?"
"Will you tell me more about your decision?"
"Failure is not an option!"
"How might this not work?"
"Do you feel good about this plan?"
"How confident are you about this plan?"
"Does that make sense?"
"What can I explain further?"
Don't bring a reduce variability playbook to an embrace variability game.
Let's reengineer our Industrial Age
language for the modern era.
INSTEAD OF:
"Are you sure?"
"Are you happy with
how we did yesterday?"
"Why would you want
to do that?"
"Failure is not an option!"
"Do you feel good
about this plan?"
"Does that make sense?"
TRY:
"How sure are you?"
"What could we have done better?"
"Can you tell me more 
about your decision?"
"Do you see any ways in which this might not work?"
"How  confident are 
you about this plan?"
"What can I
explain further?"
Don't bring a reduce variability playbook
to an embrace variability game.
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For e-books:

*Looking to equip your team with the Leadership Is Language playbook? Find out how to get complimentary copies for your organization here.

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YOUR COPY*
For hard copies:
For e-books:

*Looking to equip your team with the Leadership Is Language playbook? Find out how to get complimentary copies for your organization here.

L. David Marquet
Creator of Intent-Based Leadership®
Author of Turn the Ship Around! 

As the captain of a nuclear submarine, David Marquet realized during a simple drill that having one thinker leading was not only limiting the efficiency of operations of the submarine, it was downright dangerous.

L. David Marquet
Creator of
Intent-Based Leadership

Author of 
Turn the Ship Around!

As the captain of a nuclear submarine, David Marquet realized during a simple drill, having one thinker leading was not only limiting to the efficiency of operations of the sub, it was downright dangerous.

A message from David:
Dear Friend,

In 2013, I published my first book, Turn the Ship Around!, in which I told the story of how, as captain of the nuclear submarine USS Santa Fe, I abandoned the programmed leader-follower framework in favor of empowering everyone to think of themselves as leaders. USS Santa Fe went from the worst-performing submarine to the best-performing one, with a record number of officers selected to become future submarine commanders. Turn the Ship Around! went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies in over a dozen languages and has improved workplaces around the world. Language was a central character in the book, and how we changed our language was a big part of the story.

Today, I'm pleased to share with you an early look at my new book, Leadership Is Language: The Hidden Power of What You Say -- and What You Don't, to be published in February 2020. In this book, I build on the principles I first outlined in Turn the Ship Around!, focusing on operational rhythms and language at work. In my years spent observing and advising business leaders, I have noticed that even when we intend better, we default to the counterproductive language of leadership inherited from a time when workers worked with their hands and managers worked with their heads. Why do we seem programmed to use unhelpful language, and what can we do about it?

I wrote Leadership Is Language to answer these questions. It's a new playbook aimed at changing our language to achieve better norms and rhythms for decision-making and execution.

My hope is that you find this to be a book that helps you achieve the right balance between deliberation and action, take bold risks without endangering your mission, and put your team on a path to continuous improvement.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Sincerely,

L. David Marquet

A message from David:
Dear Friend,

In 2013, I published my first book, Turn the Ship Around!, in which I told the story of how, as captain of the nuclear submarine USS Santa Fe, I abandoned the programmed leader-follower framework in favor of empowering everyone to think of themselves as leaders. USS Santa Fe went from the worst-performing submarine to the best-performing one, with a record number of officers selected to become future submarine commanders. Turn the Ship Around! went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies in over a dozen languages and has improved workplaces around the world. Language was a central character in the book, and how we changed our language was a big part of the story.

Today, I'm pleased to share with you an early look at my new book, Leadership Is Language: The Hidden Power of What You Say -- and What You Don't, to be published in February 2020. In this book, I build on the principles I first outlined in Turn the Ship Around!, focusing on operational rhythms and language at work. In my years spent observing and advising business leaders, I have noticed that even when we intend better, we default to the counterproductive language of leadership inherited from a time when workers worked with their hands and managers worked with their heads. Why do we seem programmed to use unhelpful language, and what can we do about it?

I wrote Leadership Is Language to answer these questions. It's a new playbook aimed at changing our language to achieve better norms and rhythms for decision-making and execution.

My hope is that you find this to be a book that helps you achieve the right balance between deliberation and action, take bold risks without endangering your mission, and put your team on a path to continuous improvement.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Sincerely,

L. David Marquet

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