Ich war zwar nicht bei der Armee – und kann auch mit Hierarchien nur schwer, aber es gibt auch hier einen Ausweg.
David Marquet zeigt es anhand seiner eigenen Geschichte wie es gehen kann.
„Führung sollte bedeuten, Kontrolle zu geben, statt Kontrolle zu nehmen, und Führer zu schaffen, statt Mitläufer zu schmieden.“ David Marquet, ein erfahrener Marineoffizier, war es gewohnt, Befehle zu erteilen. Als neu ernannter Kapitän der USS Santa Fe, einem atomgetriebenen U-Boot, war er verantwortlich für mehr als hundert Matrosen, tief im Meer. In dieser stressigen Umgebung, in der es keinen Spielraum für Fehler gibt, war es von entscheidender Bedeutung, dass seine Männer ihren Job machten, und zwar gut. Aber das Schiff wurde von schlechter Moral, schlechter Leistung und der schlechtesten Personalbindung in der Flotte heimgesucht. Marquet verhielt sich wie jeder andere Kapitän, bis er eines Tages unwissentlich einen unmöglichen Befehl gab und seine Mannschaft versuchte, ihn trotzdem zu befolgen. Als er fragte, warum der Befehl nicht in Frage gestellt wurde, war die Antwort: „Weil Sie es mir gesagt haben.“ Marquet erkannte, dass er in einer Kultur von Mitläufern führte, und dass sie alle in Gefahr waren, wenn sie ihre Arbeitsweise nicht grundlegend änderten. Daraufhin nahm Marquet die Dinge selbst in die Hand und drängte auf Führung auf allen Ebenen. Turn the Ship Around! ist die wahre Geschichte, wie die Santa Fe vom schlechtesten zum ersten Schiff der Flotte aufstieg, indem sie den traditionellen Ansatz der U.S. Navy von Führern und Mitläufern in Frage stellte. Er kämpfte gegen seine eigenen Instinkte an, die Kontrolle zu übernehmen, und erreichte stattdessen das weitaus mächtigere Modell, die Kontrolle abzugeben. Schon bald wurde jedes Mitglied von Marquets Crew zum Anführer und übernahm Verantwortung für alles, was er tat, von Büroarbeiten bis hin zu wichtigen Kampfentscheidungen. Die Besatzung engagierte sich voll und ganz und brachte jeden Tag ihre volle intellektuelle Kapazität ein, und die Santa Fe begann, Auszeichnungen zu gewinnen und eine stark überproportionale Anzahl von Offizieren zum U-Boot-Kommando zu befördern. Unabhängig von Ihrem Unternehmen oder Ihrer Position können Sie die radikalen Richtlinien von Marquet anwenden, um Ihr eigenes Schiff umzukrempeln. Der Lohn: ein Arbeitsplatz, an dem jeder um Sie herum Verantwortung für sein Handeln übernimmt, an dem die Menschen gesünder und glücklicher sind, an dem jeder eine Führungspersönlichkeit ist.
- Von Mitläufern zu Führern.
- Kämpfe gegen deinen Instinkt stets die Kontrolle übernehmen zu wollen.
- Wer die Information hat, dem gehört die Authorität über Entscheidungen.
- Fälle Entscheidungen, als ob der CEO jedes Mal dabei ist. Und wenn es nicht „seine Entscheidung“ ist, ist sie vermutlich noch viel besser, da derjenige die notwenigen Informationen hat.
- Dadurch gewinnen wir an Geschwindigkeit und verlieren keine Zeit mehr.
- Schaffe den Raum fürs Denken.
- Nix ist schwierig 😉
- Gebe Verantwortung und mache Leader
Zitate und Annotationen
[I]magine a world where we all find satisfaction in our work.
As Albert Einstein said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”
Leader and Follower
In other words, leadership in the Navy, and in most organizations, is about controlling people. It divides the world into two groups of people: leaders and followers. Most of what we study, learn, and practice in terms of leadership today follows this leader-follower structure. This model has been with us for a long time. It is pervasive. It is the structure depicted in The Iliad, in Beowulf, and in other Western epics.
The problem with empowerment programs is that they contain an inherent contradiction between the message and the method. While the message is “empowerment,” the method—it takes me to empower you—fundamentally disempowers employees. That drowns out the message.
Here is a short list of “empowered phrases” that active doers use: I intend to . . . I plan on . . . I will . . . We will . . . Interested readers will want to check out Stephen Covey’s The 8th Habit for more ideas about the value of empowering language.
Cognitive Work is most important
In our modern world, the most important work we do is cognitive; so, it’s not surprising that a structure developed for physical work isn’t optimal for intellectual work.
It is a world where every human being is intellectually engaged, motivated, and self-inspired. Our cognitive capacity as a race is fully engaged in solving the monumental problems that we face.
Broad goals instead of specific goals
Second, the way I was told to manage others was not the way I wanted to be managed. I felt I was at my best when given specific goals but broad latitude in how to accomplish them.
Upon reflection, Commodore Kenny was providing great leadership. He presented me with a specific goal—have Santa Fe ready for deployment in every way—but did not tell me how to do it. The other thing he was telling me was that the people and resources available to the ship would be the same as they were before and the same as they were to any other submarine. Consequently, the only thing we could change was how we acted and interacted. This would be my focus.
Do people want to change, or are they comfortable with the current level of performance? Are things too comfortable? Is there a feeling of complacency? Do people take action to protect themselves or to make the outcome better? Does leadership in your organization take control or give control?
The department heads identified a potential problem with this approach. Who would be responsible and accountable for the work? If you, the captain, allow us to make decisions about the work, aren’t you risking your professional reputation and career on how well we do? Isn’t that the reason these ideas are so hard to implement? They had a point. I pondered that. Would I be willing to be vulnerable to the effects of their decisions? On a submarine, a warship, there were lives at stake after all, not just our careers. I would retain accountability for Santa Fe’s operational performance but release control of the actual decisions to the department heads. It felt uncomfortable, but we were in such a bind that I didn’t see any other way. Besides, Santa Fe was already at the bottom—how much worse could the ship do?
First, the crew wanted change, even if they didn’t know quite how to do it. When I asked the men what I shouldn’t change, what worked particularly well, I didn’t get a lot of answers. The frustration, wasted hours, and mediocre results of the previous year had convinced them they needed to do something else. Ultimately, we were to introduce a way of doing business that would be different from what they’d experienced before and would spare them the pain they’d suffered earlier on board. Without the thirst for change it would have been difficult to get the crew to accept an entirely new way of thinking about leadership. This call to action would be necessary for the changes I had in mind. Second, we had an incredibly supportive chain of command. My bosses, Commodore Mark Kenny and Rear Admiral Al Konetzni, Commander, Submarine Forces, Pacific (COMSUBPAC or CSP), were ready to give me all the encouragement I needed—and all the rope I needed to hang myself. They were outcome focused. They didn’t care or need to know the specifics of what we were going to do as long as the evidence showed that the submarine was improving in performance, war-fighting capability, and morale. This was good because I’m not sure I could have articulated the path ahead, and even if I had, I’m not sure they would have bought it.
Mechanism: Achieve Excellence, Don’t Just Avoid Errors
ACHIEVE EXCELLENCE, DON’T JUST AVOID ERRORS is a mechanism for CLARITY. (The book to read is Simon Sinek’s Start with Why.)
Are your people trying to achieve excellence or just to avoid making mistakes? Has your organization become action-averse because taking action sometimes results in errors? Have you let error-reduction programs sap the lifeblood out of initiative and risk taking? Do you spend more time critiquing errors than celebrating success? Are you able to identify the symptoms of avoiding errors in your workplace? When you ask people what their jobs are, do they answer in terms of reducing errors? When you investigate the criteria that went behind decisions, do you find that avoidance of negative outcomes far outweighs accomplishing positive outcomes? What is the primary motivation of the middle managers and rank and file (not what it says on the wall poster outside the boardroom)? How can you minimize errors but not make that the focus of your organization?
“Don’t move information to authority, move authority to the information.”
The genetic code
Find the genetic code for control and rewrite it. Act your way to new thinking. Short, early conversations make efficient work. Use “I intend to . . .” to turn passive followers into active leaders. Resist the urge to provide solutions. Eliminate top-down monitoring systems. Think out loud (both superiors and subordinates). Embrace the inspectors.
At the end, we were agreed: the sole output would be concrete mechanisms. I was thinking about Jim Collins and Jerry Porras’s book Built to Last and their discussion of how personalities come and go but institutional mechanisms endure and embed the change in the organization.
Find Your Organization’s Genetic Code for Control Here’s an exercise you can do with your senior leadership at your next off-site. Identify in the organization’s policy documents where decision-making authority is specified. (You can do this ahead of time if you want.) Identify decisions that are candidates for being pushed to the next lower level in the organization. For the easiest decisions, first draft language that changes the person who will have decision-making authority. In some cases, large decisions may need to be disaggregated. Next, ask each participant in the group to complete the following sentence on the five-by-eight card provided: “When I think about delegating this decision, I worry that . . .” Post those cards on the wall, go on a long break, and let the group mill around the comments posted on the wall. Last, when the group reconvenes, sort and rank the worries and begin to attack them.
Right or Wrong
Right or wrong, I was committed to doing whatever I thought was best for Santa Fe, the Navy, and the nation without worrying about the repercussions. I called this the paradox of “caring but not caring”—that is, caring intimately about your subordinates and the organization but caring
Right or wrong, I was committed to doing whatever I thought was best for Santa Fe, the Navy, and the nation without worrying about the repercussions. I called this the paradox of “caring but not caring”—that is, caring intimately about your subordinates and the organization but caring little about the organizational consequences to yourself. Despite
How to Embed a Cultural Change in Your Organization Starting condition: you’ve had a discussion with your leadership group and identified some sort of cultural change the group mostly agrees to. What you want to do now is embed it into the organization, independent of personality. Hand out five-by-eight cards. Have people complete the following sentence: “I’d know we achieved [this cultural change] if I saw employees . . .” (The specific wording in this question should move you from general, unmeasurable answers like “Have people be creative” to specific, measurable ones like “Employees submit at least one idea a quarter. The ideas are posted and other employees can comment on them.”)
Do you ever walk around your facility listening solely to what is being communicated through informal language? How comfortable are people in your organization with talking about their hunches and their gut feelings? How can you create an environment in which men and women freely express their uncertainties and fears as well as their innovative ideas and hopes? Are you willing to let your staff see that your lack of certainty is strength and certainty is arrogance?
How do you use outside groups, the public, social media comments, and government audits to improve your organization? What is the cost of being open about problems in your organization and what are the benefits? How can you leverage the knowledge of those inspectors to make your team smarter? How can you improve your team’s cooperation with those inspectors? How can you “use” the inspectors to help your organization?
USS Santa Fe Creed What do we do on a day-to-day basis? We learn. Why is “learning” a better word than “training”? Training implies passivity; it is done to us. We are trained; we attend training. Learning is active; it is something we do. What do we learn? We learn how to prepare a submarine for success in combat. Why would we need to go to combat? We would go to combat if called upon by our country to defend the Constitution of the United States. Why is that important? The personal liberty, well-being, and economic prosperity we enjoy in the United States are unique throughout the history of mankind. Man’s life has generally been short, hard, and brutish. The democratic system we have and the importance of individual rights specified by the Constitution are the reasons for our emotional and physical prosperity. It’s an important document, worthy of being defended. You are not alone in deciding this, as many have died defending the Constitution
The purpose of training is to increase technical competence. The result of increased technical competence is the ability to delegate increased decision making to the employees. Increased decision making among your employees will naturally result in greater.
Divest Control, Increase Competence Here’s something to try at your next leadership meeting or corporate off-site. Hand out a bunch of four-by-six cards and markers. Start with this sentence completion: Our company would be more effective if [level] management could make decisions about [subject]. You specify the level of management but ask the group to fill in the subjects. Once you have the set of cards, post them on the wall, and go on break. Let people mill around looking at what they’ve written. Down-select to a couple subjects. Ask this question: What, technically, do the people at this level of management need to know in order to make that decision? Again, answer on the cards, post them, and go on break.
DON’T BRIEF, CERTIFY is a mechanism for COMPETENCE.
Repeat the same message day after day, meeting after meeting, event after event. Sounds redundant, repetitive, and boring. But what’s the alternative? Changing the message? That results in confusion and a lack of direction. I didn’t realize the degree to which old habits die hard, even when people are emotionally on board with the change.
SPECIFYING GOALS, NOT METHODS is a mechanism for COMPETENCE.
Provide your people with the objective and let them figure out the method.
As more decision-making authority is pushed down the chain of command, it becomes increasingly important that everyone throughout the organization understands what the organization is about. This is called clarity, and it is the second supporting leg—along with competence—that is needed in order to distribute control. Clarity means people at all levels of an organization clearly and completely understand what the organization is about. This is needed because people in the organization make decisions against a set of criteria that includes what the organization is trying to accomplish. If clarity of purpose is misunderstood, then the criteria by which a decision is made will be skewed, and suboptimal decisions will be made.
What is the legacy of your organization? How does that legacy shed light on your organization’s purpose? What kind of actions can you take to bring this legacy alive for individuals in your organization?
How can you simplify your guiding principles so that everyone in your organization understands them? How will you communicate your principles to others? Are your guiding principles referenced in evaluations and performance awards? Are your guiding principles useful to employees as decision-making criteria? Do your guiding principles serve as decision-making criteria for your people? Do you know your own guiding principles? Do others know them?
Do you have a recognition and rewards system in place that allows you to immediately applaud top performers? How can you create scoring systems that immediately reward employees for the behaviors you want? Have you seen evidence of “gamification” in your workplace? Perhaps it’s worth reading one of Gabe Zichermann’s blog posts and discussing it with your management team.
How do we create resilient organizations where errors are stopped as opposed to propagating through the system? Will your people follow an order that isn’t correct? Do you want obedience or effectiveness? Have you built a culture that embraces a questioning attitude?
Focus on technology
Focus on people
People always overestimate how complex business is. This isn’t rocket science—we’ve chosen one of the world’s most simple professions. —JACK WELCH, FORMER CEO OF GENERAL ELECTRIC