Leadership Nudge® 335 – The Ladder of Leadership: Pause, Rewind, Fast Forward

December 16, 2020by Sandy Wilmer

An easy way to think about how to use the Ladder of Leadership is to imagine the steps as a way to Pause, Rewind and Fast Forward. Watch David explain in this week’s Nudge.


The Ladder of Leadership with the seven steps is sometimes complicated and hard to remember. “Oh, is this step three or four? I can’t really remember.” 

But I’m going to give you a simplified way to think about the ladder. And it’s looks like this. Pause, Rewind, Fast Forward. And that’s the sequence: pause, rewind, fast forward.  

When we move from, “tell me what to do” to “what do you see?,” that’s where I’m stopping. “What do you see?” Observation is just description of the current state. And because it’s simply description, it feels very safe. So this is the first step above, ‘tell me what to do.’  

Then Rewind. 

“How did we get here?”  

“What came before this?”  

“What do you think the root cause is, was making this happen?”  

So it involves some thinking, but the thinking is reflected into the past, which tends to feel more certain. “Oh, I can make up a story and explain why we are where we are right now.” 

So again, it’s a little more vulnerable than simply observation and description, but not a whole lot more.  

Then we go into the future. “What do you think we should do?” 

Or “What do you intend to do?” 

Or maybe even at level six, you just took action, and you just did it.   

But it’s pause, rewind, fast forward. And for me, I just picture those buttons on the old time VCR. I’m David Marquet. That’s your Leadership Nudge. 

Sandy Wilmer

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