Leadership Nudge® 382 – Bring Me a Rock, part 2

April 13, 2022by Sandy Wilmer

Leaders can provide Organizational Clarity during the initial decision phase of a project to guide the team. With that clarity, the team can present several options to keep the project moving in the right direction. Watch David explain.


Hey! In Nudge 372, I talk about the frustration of the “Bring Me a Rock” game, where leaders don’t know exactly what they want. They tell the team, “Hey, bring me some kind of a solution for this or your initial estimate.”  

Your initial work on it (and the team) kind of floundered around doing things that aren’t that productive. And/or they only focus on one solution. And the leaders says,“Oh, no, not that go back.” And so there’s a lot of series work, which holds us back. You want to work in parallel.  

So like, that’s a rock – this is a rock – Mount Rushmore is a rock. But there are lots of different kinds of rocks. So the key is — the team should bring back multiple rocks at once and advance the project as quickly as possible when you’re in that decision space.  

Now, the leader can help here by giving guidance (we call this Organizational Clarity) on what kind of rock to bring. So for example, as a team say, “Here, look, Dale, I have 2 . . 3 . . . 4 rocks. Not all of these are viable, which ones do I reject? Which ones do I bring?” 

If you’re looking for an innovative solution, I would say something like, “Bring me the most different rocks. Come up with the most divergent . . . cognitively divergent rocks.” Or “ . . .  the rocks that are the easiest to implement.” 

Some sort of criteria, but don’t be overly prescriptive about it.  

Thanks, Josh, for your comment on the earlier Nudge. That was really helpful to clarify and move the Nudge forward. Thank you very much.  

I’m David Marquet. That’s your Leadership Nudge. 

Sandy Wilmer

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Intent-Based Leadership International, LLC • 1435 E. Venice Ave #104-173 • Venice, FL 34292 • +1.941.408.0311

Intent-Based Leadership International, LLC • 1435 E. Venice Ave #104-173 • Venice, FL 34292 • +1.941.408.0311

Intent-Based Leadership International, LLC • 1435 E. Venice Ave #104-173 • Venice, FL 34292 • +1.941.408.0311