Going forward

Posted in president; tagged with idea

To strengthen VECTOR, I intend to bring into VECTOR what I am learning from contemporary writers. Six key interrelated ideas stand out immediately.

Dear friends,

Six ideas from six authors emerge as key to our journey towards a resilient, vibrant, living organization.

Ahead, you’ll find what each idea means. The six ideas:

  1. Leadership is Language
  2. Shared Consciousness
  3. Amazing Decisions
  4. Competing Against Luck
  5. Build Measure Learn
  6. Minimize Accidental Diminisher Tendencies

What do you think?

Leadership is Language

What you say is critical

(I am just starting this one. I read the one-page references the author shared on his website. I have waited for months to read this book from the library. )

Effective leaders rely on 6 “plays” that use specific language and work together. The set involves balancing action with reflection; doing with deciding.

Marquet writes:

  1. Control the clock instead of obeying the clock.
  2. Collaborate instead of coercing.
  3. Commitment rather than compliance.
  4. Complete defined goals instead of continuing work indefinitely.
  5. Improve outcomes rather than prove ability.
  6. Connect with people instead of conforming to your role.

Also, Marquet writes:

As captain of the ship, the way I said things made all the difference. Language was my lever. Everything started with me. I’d always believed that I couldn’t remain quiet because people wouldn’t speak up. Finally, I realized that people weren’t speaking up because I couldn’t remain quiet. …I needed to entrust people with authority and autonomy in order to give them the opportunity to prove themselves.


Source: L. David Marquet. Leadership is Language: The Hidden Power of What You Say–and What You Don’t. 2020.

Shared Consciousness

Operations and Intelligence Forums

Networks of self-managing teams react more effectively than rigid hierarchies. Coming together helps the overall organization keep a shared consciousness. Self-managing teams come together in “operations and intelligence forums” to respond to emerging situations at a rhythm faster than circumstances change around them.

Organizations build guardrails into the scope of each self-managing team that suits the team’s abilities, giving wider guardrails for strong teams and narrower guardrails for teams still learning. Coming together at a rapid-enough rhythm helps teams get support from other teams, strengthening everyone.


Source: Chris Fussell and C.W. Goodyear. One Mission: how leaders build a team of teams. 2017.

Amazing Decisions

Favour Trust

Beware using “market norms” in your interactions with people. “Social norms” deliver stronger, lasting outcomes. Market norms can erase social capital that takes a long time to rebuild.

Market norms (money and similar outside incentives) are transactional and erode trust. Social norms (internal drives) build trust.

Remember how we all want to:

  • fit in
  • feel connected
  • compare well to peers


Source: Dan Ariely and Matt R. Trower. Amazing Decisions: the illustrated guide to improving business deals and family meals. 2019

Competing Against Luck

Understand Needs

We all bring products, services and organizations into our lives to help us overcome struggles that keep us from making progress in various sets of circumstances in our lives. Appreciate the “job” that each of us “hires” an organization (like VECTOR) to do in our lives.

When we cluster similar job stories together, we can understand how better to deliver our service to and for:

  • each other (members)
  • our partner organizations
  • our communities


Source: Clayton M. Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, and David S. Duncan. Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice. 2016.

Build Measure Learn

Steering is Stronger than Overplanning

Imagine pre-planning every action when driving. Driving harnesses “empirical process control” and iterating to steer your course. Apply similar mindset to other activities and avoid wasted effort. Start with a question to test and “build” just enough to check your assumptions, then “measure” how it works, and “learn” what to change or enhance in your next version. Repeat until you get what you need or you discover what you really need to deliver (aka “pivot”).

Once you have your initial idea, begin your iterations and get each thing (course, practice, tool, manual, or process) that you build into action rapidly so your “thing” can evolve to fit your audience’s real need.


Source: Eric Ries. The Lean Startup: how today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. 2011.

Minimize Accidental Diminisher Tendencies

Give Trust

The way you act may actually diminish other people. Become aware of the ways leaders can diminish team members while believing its suitable leadership behaviour. Avoid working against your own intent.

Work to “multiply” each of your team members and avoid being an “accidental diminisher.”

Use “Multiplier” assumptions. Wiseman writes:

  • If I can find someone’s genius, I can put them to work.
  • People’s best thinking must be given, not taken.
  • People get smarter by being challenged.
  • With enough minds, we can figure it out.
  • People are smart and will figure things out.


Source: Liz Wiseman. Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. 2017.

I have encountered many useful ideas that we could draw from to strengthen VECTOR. Check out the other posts in this set or review my reading history. If you’re interested, we can chat about any one of the potential ideas.

For some, I lean on author interviews to reinforce my learning. You can find those in podcasts and on Youtube.

I hope you agree that these six will strengthen VECTOR.

2020 President, VECTOR

Related: Values Workshop, Advice Process, Conflict Mechanism, Just Cause