Can you take your submarine from 1 leader, 134 followers to 135 leaders?

David Marquet trained for a whole year learning one kind of nuclear submarine and two weeks before taking command, was transfered to another kind.  Everything he’d learned about leadership told him that he needed to be the smartest guy on his ship because good leaders issue good orders and great leaders issue great orders.  His new sub was the worst in the fleet, with poor performance, poor retention, and a poor maintenance record.  So what do you do when you know you don’t know all the technical details about your submarine, or the organization you’re running?

You give up.

You give up control.  You stop issuing orders.  You create a leader-leader culture that allows the people doing the work to make critical decisions about that work.

Don’t panic!

You don’t have to do this all at once.  Here’s what you can do.  Write down every decision you make this week.  Think about why it had to be you making that decision.  If it didn’t have to be you, talk with the person it could have been and empower them for next time.  If it did have to be you, look at your system and fix it so others can make that decision next time.


I free up entrepreneurs for greater impact. Day to day demands of your growing business will sap your energy and blunt your effectiveness. Together we can work to reduce demands by up to 80% while moving more quickly in the direction of your purpose.

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